Combining ethical and vegan underwear is no longer hard to come by these days. Companies have been increasingly aware of their product’s impact on the environment and people. But that’s not always the case and you can easily get lost with logos, fabric explanations, marketing campaigns promoting supposedly ‘green’ products, and the like.
Hence, we prepared this list of five wonderful underwear brands that you can trust. These brands were specifically chosen for their values surrounding sustainability, ethics, and the community.
Note: All of the brands on this list are 100% vegan, with the exception of Organic Basics since they use wool in some products.
Y.O.U. Underwear - the UK
Y.O.U. stands for “Your Own Underwear,” and the name represents the brand’s main mission. To make sure that underwear is universally accessible and available in all communities.
They are PETA-approved vegan and use organic cotton as their main material for their vegan underwear. They operate under a charitable business model that allows them to run their company beyond the goal of profit.
Y.O.U. has a vast collection of underwear for men and women. They even have a dedicated section for girls and teens!
Their style leans toward simple and versatile, but they also have a few fun patterns in their Mara and Girls collections. They have underwear available in the classics: black, white, and gray, but they also stock colors like chestnut brown and navy blue.
You can buy their underwear in singles or multipacks. For women’s intimates, you can purchase them in matching sets.
The women’s collection features four different types of underwear, including boy shorts and bralettes, so you have some choice in terms of coverage and variation.
Their upper intimates are non-wired bras, but those with larger breasts may not like the lack of structure. But it’s in the works—the brand is working on a bralette with more structure.
Make sure to check out their buyer’s guide on sizing to make sure you’re getting the perfect fit.
The theme of Y.O.U.’s curated collection is comfort and style. With every pair you get, you’re sure to feel comfortable throughout wear, whether you’re just lounging at home or going on a quick coffee run.
Materials & Sustainability
Most of the brand’s products are composed of 95% organic cotton, with 5% being elastane to give the material a little stretch. This allows for more comfort and versatility. The cotton is fair trade certified and certified organic by GOTS.
It’s key that they use organic cotton in their products. As harmless as cotton sounds, it’s actually very resource-draining and has a high environmental impact.
That, coupled with the fact that it’s one of the most popular textiles on the planet, is a recipe for environmental disaster.
However, the good news is that organic cotton takes a far lesser toll on our planet than conventionally farmed and processed cotton.
It uses around 88% less water and requires 62% less energy than conventional cotton . Do note that these numbers are approximations, and they do vary depending on location and how the material is processed.
In line with a zero waste policy they are implementing, their products are packaged in a reusable cotton bag. 100% organic, of course. You can also opt to but without the cotton bag and get a small discount on your order.
They use recycled packaging for shipping the products. If you have some doubts regarding the best eco friendly packaging, check our detailed analysis based on the latest research.
They are also working on a take-back program to encourage a circular economy in fashion.
Y.O.U. is serious about sustainability and their impact on the environment. You can check out their full impact report here.
Ethics & Community
Transparency is one of the cornerstones of Y.O.U. They provide plenty of information about their materials, production processes, and their overall operations.
Their clothing items are made in a factory in India that manufactures under SA8000 certified social standards. All workers are paid fairly and work fair hours, all with benefits like company-sponsored meals and transportation.
You can check more about their manufacturing process here.
We haven’t even got to the brand’s main mission yet! For every piece of underwear that you buy from them, TWO pairs are donated as part of their buy-one-give-two model.
In 2020, they donated 11,634 pairs of underwear in partnership with Smalls for All. This gives 3,878 people access to 3 pairs of clean underwear each. And while underwear may be something we take for granted, that isn’t the case globally.
They’re size-inclusive and body-positive too! They don’t airbrush their promotion material, and they use a wide range of model sizes in their photoshoots. It’s a welcome change from all the pressure highly edited and refined photos make us feel.
Overall, this brand is one of the most ethical underwear brands today. They take their values seriously, and they are open about how they work and their impact. And even then, they’re still working on improving!
Organic Basics - USA
Organic Basics is another Copenhagen-based sustainable underwear brand. And they’re one of the most popular ethical underwear brands you can find in the fashion world at the moment.
Their popularity comes at no surprise considering their incredibly transparent and sustainable practices. However, the brand is not fully vegan as they do use merino wool and recycled cashmere in some products.
Organic Basics has a sizable underwear collection, although they aren’t limited to only making undies. They have plenty of other product options, from activewear to casual wear.
For women, they’ve got briefs, thongs, hipster-style undies, high-waisted undies, as well as full bodysuits. They also have bras and bralettes for comfort wear and activewear.
For men, they have boxers, boxer shorts, and even some long john’s.
Their main colors are oak, walnut, and black. But they also have softer colors like light blue, grey, white, and soft pink. We especially love that they provide a dark brown (walnut) option for those with deeper skin tones.
All their products are designed and crafted with longevity in mind. When you buy a pair of underwear from them, you can trust that you’ll be using it for quite some time.
In addition, almost all their products are PETA-approved vegan friendly with the exception of their SilverTech™ Active socks and cashmere accessories. When you shop their site, be sure to keep that in mind.
As always, you can buy their products in singles or multipacks.
Materials & Sustainability
The brand is incredibly transparent about the materials they use and their sustainability efforts. One of their beliefs is that it’s impossible for fashion, as it stands today, to be truly sustainable. However, it is possible for us to chase after a better way.
To admit that fashion, even as being the business they are in, is difficult to rationalize as sustainable is a good thing. But even more than that, they actually make an effort to look for more environmentally-friendly materials and better production processes.
A majority (68.8%) of their products are plant-based, either organic cotton (GOTS-certified) or Lyocell. They do still use synthetic fabrics, much like many underwear and lingerie brands out there, but they try to source it recycled (29.9%) as much as possible.
In choosing their materials, they specifically kept deconstruction in mind. They also made sure to use as many natural components as possible.
Their limited use of synthetic materials is to ensure their products are not of subpar quality.
The brand is also carbon-neutral, with all their emissions offset through One Carbon World. Plus, they also have a low-impact website! Considering that the online store generates about 45 tons of Co2, this is an unorthodox but useful move on their part.
You can read all of this and more in their detailed impact report.
Ethics & Community
Decreasing impact also means partnering with trusted factories and making sure all employees are treated well and are safe and healthy. Organic Basics makes their eco friendly underwear in a variety of certified factories, with the specific factory noted on the product description.
Most of their basics are made in Izmir, Turkey. But if you want to check out their other products, you can easily browse through their factory list here.
They list all the factories they work with, along with worker benefits, production capacity, number of years in business, employee hours, and so much more.
You can also check which certifications each factory has, including ISO, BSCI, OEKOTEX, SEDEX, GOTS, ISO 9001, 14001, among others. However, not all those certifications are applicable to each factory.
In our time of looking at all the different brands in the fashion industry, this has been this far the most transparent any company has been regarding their process. This not only takes time but also dedication in ensuring they have ethical practices.
Other than that, the brand also funds grassroots movements dedicated to addressing environmental and social injustices. You can read about their Fund here.
WAMA - USA
WAMA is a pioneering brand in hemp underwear. They believe that the many wonderful benefits of hemp fabric are highly useful in designing and creating high-quality and comfy vegan underwear.
They are a PETA-approved vegan brand and a member of the National Hemp Association. They are also involved with BSCI to improve compliance throughout their supply chain.
WAMA has a large collection of sustainable underwear, both for men and women. You can get briefs, boxer briefs, trunks, and boxers for men. For women, they have bikinis, thongs, high-rise undies, hipsters, as well as boy shorts. Bralettes are also available.
The collection leans towards neutral and earthy colors like nude, black, and green. The good thing about their nude tones is that they’re available in several shades to accommodate different skin tones better.
They stock sizes XS to 3XL.
Their underwear is super breathable and will feel comfortably snug throughout the day. With their wide range of options, you can choose the right amount of coverage you prefer.
Each product also shows how much water and energy you save (on average) by choosing to buy undies made from sustainable fabrics.
Materials & Sustainability
WAMA is a big fan of hemp. All of their undies are predominantly made of this fabric, along with organic cotton and a small portion of Spandex.
Their eco friendly underwear is a mix of 53% hemp, 44% organic cotton, and 3% spandex. They use only organic cotton that has been GOTS certified.
It’s no surprise that hemp is such a big deal to them. It’s one of the most versatile materials and has been used for centuries as a fabric.
It also doesn’t require pesticides to cultivate, and growing it doesn’t need a lot of water . However, this does not mean pesticides are never used on hemp, as some may still do so.
Compared to other crops, such as conventionally farmed cotton, hemp is by far the more eco friendly and sustainable candidate. This crop is most often grown on small, family-run farms. You can also check out our guide on vegan fabrics for more insights on other sustainable textiles.
To add to that, hemp is also naturally anti-bacterial and has the potential to ward off nasties. Considering that hemp is incredibly durable, breathable, and gets softer with each wash, it’s one of the best fabrics to use in making underwear.
All fabrics are dyed in an OEKO-TEX certified facility to ensure that no toxic chemicals were used in the production process.
Packaging-wise, WAMA uses recycled packaging (poly mailers) in most of their shipments. They wrap their underwear packs in post-consumer tissue paper, and they have a take-back program for the bits that are a bit more difficult to recycle.
Ethics & Community
With all their sustainable practices, WAMA makes sure that they don’t lag behind on their ethics. Their hemp is sourced from China, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of hemp. They also process the fabric in China.
Some might not like the idea of sourcing material and labor from China as the country has a highly negative reputation when it comes to worker’s rights and treatment.
However, WAMA has a supplier code of conduct that all suppliers must adhere to. They also have a permanent team member based in China to oversee manufacturing operations.
The code of conduct ensures safe and healthy working conditions and significant worker involvement and feedback. Employees should also be paid fair wages and subject to normal working hours, with stipulations on voluntary overtime.
Woron - Denmark
Based in Copenhagen, Woron is a PETA-approved vegan underwear brand with a goal of making the perfect lingerie that’s both ethical and comfortable without sacrificing style.
With a heart for plant-based fabrics, this company is among the many emerging sustainable underwear brands as of late.
Woron’s sustainable fashion essentials are geared towards women’s fashion. They are made to provide optimum comfort in your skin while giving your confidence a boost.
They offer a wide array of underclothing for women, not just bras and bottoms. They also have bodysuits, camisoles, and cozy socks.
Their soft bras do not have any padding or fastening and provide great support and comfort. If you want a sexy take on bras, they also have a lace option that gives the same levels of comfort but with added spice.
Their styles include rich colors like black and deep blue as well as softer colors like mint green.
They only stock XS to XL, so we think there’s still some work to be done with their range. Products are true to size, but you should size up if you’re between sizes.
Materials & Sustainability
Woron only uses vegan materials in all their clothing. Their main material for their sustainable underwear is Modal, which is made from beech trees.
Modal is a semi-synthetic fabric, and it’s not always the most eco-friendly fabric. However, it is clearly emphasized that Woron sources their modal from Lenzing, one of the best manufacturers of Modal. You may know them from their other product: Lyocell.
Their modal is sourced from sustainable plantations with native trees and processed carbon neutral. When you’re shopping with other sustainable brands that use modal, make sure to check if it’s from a reputable source like Tencel/Lenzing.
Quality-wise, Modal is smooth and very durable. It’s actually a pretty good silk alternative, which should give you an idea of how it feels.
It is also very durable and can withstand a lot of moisture. Overall, an excellent material to use in underwear, provided it comes from ethical and sustainable sources.
Some of their other products have a different set of materials like recycled fabrics. The lace bra, for example, has recycled lace made from polyamide (the stuff used to make fishnets, plastic bottles, etc.).
Most of their underwear contains around 10% elastane. Lastly, do note that their eco friendly undies are dyed without any toxic chemicals and allergy-friendly as well.
Ethics & Community
Woron is one of those lingerie brands that highly prioritize making you feel confident in your clothes without the guilt of making unethical choices.
Their pieces are made in various locations, with their main factory being in Hungary (ÖkoTex and ISO 9001 certified). They also work with a family-owned factory in Turkey.
All factory workers are paid fair wages at a premium of 5-20% more than the minimum, with variations depending on the position. Women predominantly run their factory in Hungary, and working mothers get extra incentives.
Workers are also never subjected to forced overtime, even during busy periods. However, workers are able to take discretionary overtime paid at a premium.
You can read more about their factories here.
The brand also follows a slow fashion model, the complete opposite of today’s rampant fast fashion. Since much of their pieces are timeless everyday essentials, they can transcend the limitations of trends and seasons.
One comment we do have is that they could be more size-inclusive. As they grow and release more styles, we hope to see them grow their size options as well.
Miakoda - USA
Miakoda, meaning “power of the moon,” is an NYC-based eco friendly clothing brand. The brand was founded in 2013 by a sister duo inspired by the lack of ethical practices in the fashion industry.
They use (mostly) plant-based sustainable fabric in their collections, and they are also fully vegan! All their items are vegan-friendly, so you can browse through their store with confidence.
This brand is relatively smaller than the others on this list, and they have fewer pieces of ethical underwear you can choose from. Their products are mainly geared towards feminine fashion. They emphasize, however, that their clothes are made for anyone regardless of identity.
Their collection includes bodysuits, bralettes, camis, and other types of loungewear. They also have activewear available.
One of the styles that caught our eye is their collaboration with The Days to create a bra and undies set that’s incredibly fun and versatile. The set comes even in cute colorways that you can experiment with!
They have sizes from XS to 4XL—the most inclusive size range among the brands on this list.
Materials & Sustainability
Miakoda uses a variety of fabrics to manufacture their clothing. Most notably, they use organic cotton, organic bamboo, soy, and Modal + Lyocell.
The organic bamboo yarn they use is OEKO-TEX certified, and the source material is certified organic. What’s more, bamboo is a low-maintenance crop. It doesn’t need any pesticides to grow and yields an incredibly soft fabric that’s just perfect for loungewear.
On the other hand, they also use certified organic cotton harvested in Turkey or India. They also use Modal + Lyocell, both of which are pretty similar fabrics but have different production methods. Of the two, Lyocell is the more sustainable option.
Most of their products are a specific blend of organic cotton, bamboo, and spandex, and they only use fabric with a certification. All their fabrics are GOTS certified, or Control Union certified.
They are also transitioning to a better packaging option using reusable bags made of organic cotton.
Ethics & Community
Miakoda, in addition to sustainability, is also focused on making ethical underwear. Their fabrics are knit in factories that follow Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP) regulations.
Through this, they can guarantee that the workers are well compensated and work in safe and healthy conditions. You can also check out more ethical undies here.
Their clothes are sewn and assembled in New York. Workers are similarly well-compensated and work in a safe working environment.
Of course, we can’t forget about community. Miakoda ensures that all products are inclusive and representative of its customer base, not just a particular portion of the population. This translates to inclusivity when it comes to sizing as well as choosing their models and influencers.
The Importance Of Sustainable Underwear Brands
Underwear is such a staple in our lives that it’s quite easy to ignore its impact. But just like any other item in your closet, you can make the switch for the better.
The emergence of sustainable and ethical brands has been on the rise over the last couple of years. And while it has taken a little time for underwear brands to come out in significant numbers, they now have a solid presence in the fashion industry.
We maintain that even though the above brands are doing a great job, there’s always a way to improve in the realm of sustainable fashion, whether it’s creating more inclusive sizes or incorporating more sustainable materials.
Overall, major companies have way more impact on the planet than we do individually. As such, it becomes valuable to put forth the message that change needs to be at a systemic level. And in achieving that, we need to change our habits as well.
As consumers, part of our responsibility is to dig deeper into our consumption habits and make sure they’re for the better. Not just because of our personal impact on the planet but also to support companies that make sustainability the default.
What Is GOTS Certified Organic Cotton?
All of the above brands use cotton that’s GOTS certified. If this is the first time you’ve heard about GOTS, it stands for Global Organic Textile Standard.
When a brand uses GOTS certified organic cotton, it signifies that they are using cotton that was cultivated organically. This means less water and energy and no harmful chemicals used.
Since cotton is one of the most popular and resource-intensive crops, its cultivation is fraught with many ethical and environmental issues. As such, many consumers are now making the switch to organic.
Similarly, many brands are claiming to use organic cotton, and sometimes, it can be tough to discern between who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. Checking for the GOTS certification is one of the ways you can check for the credibility of the brand’s claim.
There you have it! A solid set of sustainable fashion choices you can add to your set of undies. It can be tough to find a perfectly sustainable and ethical vegan underwear brand that fits all of your needs, but it is possible!
It doesn’t matter if it’s something as seemingly small as a pair of underwear. Choosing the most sustainable and ethical option always bears its positive effects, and they tend to be for the better – for us, the animals, and the planet.