Sustainable outerwear and ethical fashion for a majority of your wardrobe is by large a well-spoken idea. As a consumer you may be ready to give up on fabrics that harm the environment to embrace those that conserve Mother Nature. What about ethical bras? The idea of a sustainable make or use of eco-friendly wearable technology in the manufacturing of lingerie is still a niche idea in India. But the question is, are the consumers ready to buy organic, eco-friendly, yet comfortable lingerie? Will they be eager to facelift their existing lingerie wardrobes with an ethical make? Should brands gear up to alter their manufacturing process in order to walk the sustainable path? Let’s hear it from them.
Digital creator & wellness junkie
A digital nomad who wishes to travel the world one wellness vacation at a time, she is a freelance content writer by day and Dumbbells and Drama, a fitness blogger by night. Protima started blogging as a hobby in 2012 and slowly turned it into a profession as she focused on content creation. Today, a content creator with #teampixel, Protima balances a life as a freelance writer and fitness and travel blogger at Dumbbells and Drama. Follow her journey on Instagram @dumbbellsndrama
As far as eco-friendly innerwear is concerned, it’s a fabulous idea and needs to be spoken about more. I was at Karen Anand’s Market in Bangalore and I came across a stall selling organic cotton bras (and stitched by hand!). I’d say it would be a great idea to have these in our cupboards, but only if you’re looking at comfort and nothing else. The fitting and support is a little skewed and I think that’s a problem you’d face if you got them stitched anyway. Point being – it’s a great initiative, we need more of these because the material is definitely more kind to our skin, but we also need the prominent brands to introduce commercially viable, eco-friendly innerwear because they have the budgets to invest in tech to provide us the support and comfort we look for in bras.
For panties- cotton over everything…I’ve always maintained that one should wear cotton for daily wear; you don’t want to have abrasions and itching because of synthetic material.
As far as eco-friendly gym underwear is concerned, it’s a little complicated…cotton here would show sweat-stains through the clothes and with sweat they also tend to get a little heavy and uncomfortable against the skin when you’re working out. Though we do wear mostly cotton, the gym underwear usually comes as a mix of both cotton and synthetic material (I’m talking about the seamless panties) and for a short duration, they’re the ones we make do with. We need companies to invest in creating sports innerwear that is eco-friendly and has the tech to provide support and comfort. One thing that you can do though, if you’re comfortable with it, wear cotton thongs while working out. Eco-friendly innerwear is as important as eco-friendly outerwear, and conversations around lingerie have to be amplified (they’re happening, but it needs to spread to the grassroot level too and not just social media). It will only be taken seriously once people understand the importance of eco-friendly fabrics to the skin, which is why it is the need of the hour to spread awareness about eco-friendly fabrics and sustainability as a whole.
Chitra Aka Bombay Bellyrina
Marketing consultant & Content creator
A former fashion designer, Chitra today dons many hats and she is a marketing consultant, fitness coach, and content creator by profession. She is also a blogger and goes by the name Bombay Bellyrina, as she started off as India’s first belly dance instructor. Today, she leaves a trace of her energy on social media through her blog, writing, and the photos or videos she shares with the world. She has always been vocal about her life, choices and its struggles. Lingerie could not shy her away.
Quite frankly I have never thought about being eco-friendly or sustainable when it came to my innerwear. It’s actually interesting that you brought forward this topic. Surprisingly, even though I shop a lot and try to be a little more responsible with my approach or choices, I had never admittedly been conscious about lingerie. An initiative like the one H&M has taken in terms of recycling is quite commendable.
I do participate in such activities and also have been conscious about plastic use. Moreover, I have switched to stainless steel straws for that matter. But what have I done for lingerie or intimate wear? Nothing to be precise. Now that I went on to talk about this topic, I researched and saw that few brands are indeed specifying bamboo fabric, sustainable make; this is pleasant to know. Surely! Pun intended: sustainability should go as deep down as possible. So, as far as sustainability is concerned, I have no problem in switching to sustainable innerwear, provided I am promised safety. I have a lot of questions in mind and want to research to unearth these facts. Skin-friendly sustainable lingerie can surely then become a part of my wardrobe provided the quality or comfort is not compromised.
Lingerie blogger & digital creator
She started out as a lingerie blogger but soon began including fitness, self-acceptance, feminism and mental health awareness in her content. She also runs a self-acceptance campaign #hateloss, wherein people share their stories of self-love and overcoming insecurities. She’s a complete content creator; right from conceptualising (writing, treatment) to execution (direction, shooting, editing, and motion graphics).
While each one of us wants to be sexy, we cannot ignore what’s basic and comfy. I am all for stylish, lace lingerie, but for regular wear, it’s more logical to opt for something that’s comfortable and that lets your skin breathe. Organic cotton and micro-modal are two fabrics that I swear by when it comes to everyday innerwear. Most of the new and latest underwear brands are inclined towards sustainability and body positivity, which is bringing about a huge change in terms of acceptance. Given that most of these products are handcrafted, it is an incredible way to support local talent and craftsmanship as well.
However, the challenge for any brand would be to make sustainable lingerie affordable for the masses. Even though people are realising that sustainability is non-negotiable, it may take them a while to embrace the importance of sustainable innerwear.
Owner & Founder, Inner Sense
A design entrepreneur with more than a decade’s worth of experience in the fashion industry, Neerja Lakhani is a creative powerhouse with a keen sense of contemporary aesthetics and business strategy. Neerja is the founder of the immensely successful brand INNER SENSE, an organic, anti- microbial women’s innerwear label. She is also a speaker and a jury member at the Fashion Design department of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Gandhinagar. Neerja strongly believes that a great design is the one that offers a solution to a problem.
While pursuing her passion for creating exceptional designs, she observed that the market is full of brands that are trying to sell trends, but at the base of trend-based clothing is the hard reality of sweat-shops and exploitation of natural resources. She seeks to bridge this gap by embracing sustainability and an eco-friendly ideology with her brands.
Lingerie is an inseparable companion for a large part of our lifetime and a major influence on how we feel about ourselves. So, to me it’s a no-brainer that sustainability needs to be our concern when it comes to lingerie. Is it toxin-free, is it good for the environment and is it good for the wearer? Answering these questions led us to launch Inner Sense. Sustainability is at the core of what we do at Inner Sense. There is no black and white in sustainability. It’s a gradient. It’s a comparative view. We as stakeholders are still researching about what all constitute sustainability. Having said that, how I understand it is that we need to pay attention to everything we consume and see it from the lens of how sustainable it is right now or how can it be made more sustainable, starting with the accessible and immediately doable alternatives. So say, wearing a synthetic fibre (typically any med-premium segment bra would be made of polyamides/nylons) is not only not healthy for our bodies but also harmful to the environment. Cotton is better…but organic cotton takes it a notch higher by being more sustainable as it uses environmentally friendly ways of production. Though bamboo when compared to organic cotton is even better, as it uses much less water during its cultivation but, we need to be cognisant of not just eco-friendliness but also how ethically all the processes of production from farm to the retail store happened. Lingerie is something so basic that sustainability cannot be overlooked. Various categories of apparel can have a niche audience but innerwear is a category that is an essential part of each and every individual’s wardrobe. Hence, it is even more important to make sustainable choices in this regard.