4 Ethical Undies Options: Find affordable options for underduds that are ethically made
Under where? Under there! Want to be ethical but can’t spend a ton of money on clothes no one will see? I got you.
SIDENOTE: I wanted to have a knitting post for you today, but I haven’t quite finished up the final details on my new handspun mittens. *fingers crossed for next week*
Also, I’ve had a couple of friends reach out about where they can find ethical undies. I’m going to talk about making undies as well as buying them, because some people don’t really feel like making them. Go figure.
Before we begin. We should talk about one thing. Why is sustainably-branded ready-to-wear clothing so expensive?
Ok. I know affordable is in the title of this post. And for the average person reading this, they can afford to spend a few extra dollars on underduds that will last them a long time. So let’s keep in mind, quality products that cost more can save you money in the long run. HOWEVER, you will still find that brands that go the extra mile to pay workers well and consciously source sustainable materials, will cost more than what you see at Target or Wal-mart.
This is NOT because the sustainable brands are trying to swindle us (hopefully). It’s because those brands are absorbing factors that other companies choose to leave as externalities.
In terms of clothing, most companies choose to pay workers poorly and find materials that meet their needs at the lowest cost they can. When they do this, the workers and natural resources take on a cost for which the company and consumer.
A truly ethical brand should absorb these costs so that its pricing structure so that we (the consumers) pay the cost of consumption directly at purchase instead of later through increased taxes or environmental degradation.
Affordable and Cheap are pretty different. I grew up cheap. Hanes in the table below is cheap ($1.50 per pair). Victoria’s Secret seems to be affordable to a large portion of American women ($10.50 per pair). And Journelle brands itself as a luxury designer ($23.00 per pair).
With this model, I’ll consider anything under $10.50 affordable and anything under $15 reasonable.
PACTOrganic spends the most time advertising to me on Facebook. They have organic cotton wear and come in as least expensive. Based in Boulder, CO, they use organic cotton, and try to source their labor ethically. Find some of their good deals on underduds here: PACTOrganic for $6.25 per pair
Patagonia was the first sustainable clothing brand I ever heard of. Almost 10 years ago, I heard about their clothing recycling program. They are a fair trade company and promote corporate transparency. Want some of their briefs? Check here: Patagonia for $9 per pair
Knickey is a new brand on my radar for organic cotton clothing. They are a female-founded brand (are the others? maybe.) Which promotes the health of organic cotton through their whole supply chain. The factories they work with are Fair Trade Certified. I found their briefs here: Knickey for $12 per pair
HONORABLE MENTION: Nisa is a New Zealand-based company that employees former refugee women as they make ethical underwear with transparent sourcing. I found underwear starting at $36 which is certainly expensive. However, I have a friend who has personally recommended this brand to me. Also, I love that this company doesn’t depend upon labor outsourced to Asia but labor within their own region. I found some lovely underduds with Nisa for $36. You can find them here: Nisa
THE MOST AFFORDABLE, ETHICAL, AND ECO-CONSCIOUS OPTION
MAKE YOUR UNDERWEAR!
Making underwear is very fast and affordable. You can find plenty of free underwear sewing patterns through sewguide and I can personally recommend Melly Sews’ free pattern for underwear. You have to sign up for her newsletter, which is definitely worth it.
I have made underwear with varying success. Not because underwear is difficult, but because it was the first PDF pattern I tried to print. And sometimes printers like to randomly change the dimensions of things even if they have been told not to. GRRRRRR. I digress.
If you want to make basic undies without spending money on fabric, you can use any knit fabric you find suitably soft. This is what I did, and it worked out fabulously. So. If you really want to whine about the cost of ethical underduds. All you really need is some elastic and an old tee-shirt (sometimes you can recycle the elastic from old clothes). There you have it. A