Here's Femail's guide to lingerie which doesn't harm the environment

Believe it or not, your bra could be one of the most harmful items in your wardrobe for the environment. So here’s Femail’s guide to… Lingerie the planet will love

  • Producing sustainable underwear is challenging – bra has up to 48 components
  • A handful of brands proved it is possible. And CAMILLA RIDLEY-DAY shared picks
  • Among the brands is Organic Basics which has a good range of matching sets
  • And Cos’s lingerie is made from recycled nylon, a stretchy fabric which is still machine washable

Choosing clothes that are ethically produced has become a priority for many of us. 

But what about the basics — bras and knickers that often need replacing sooner than other items?

After having three children, I’ve changed size more times than I can count, and I feel mindful of what happens to all the bras I ditch. 

What’s more, working from home has resulted in a sales surge for many lingerie brands.

Producing sustainable underwear is challenging, but a handful of brands have proved it is possible and CAMILLA RIDLEY_DAY has shared her top pics

However, producing sustainable underwear is challenging, hence why it’s the last type of clothing to hop on the eco bandwagon. 

A bra has up to 48 components, which can be hard to source, and the material needs good elasticity and has to stand up to repeat wear and washing.

But now a handful of brands have proved it is possible. Here, CAMILLA RIDLEY-DAY shares her top picks . . .

1. FABRIC TO FIGHT OFF BACTERIA 

Not only does Organic Basics have a good range of matching sets in soft, renewable fabrics, it also specialises in sports bras and crop-tops treated with Polygiene, a silver salt that stops the growth of bacteria which cause odours. 

They’re seamless, too, so there are no weak points susceptible to wear and tear.

Organic Basics have a good range of matching sets in soft, renewable fabrics, and also specialises in sports bras and crop-tops treated with Polygiene, a silver salt that stops the growth of bacteria which cause odours. Vest, £32, organicbasics.com

2. RECYCLED SIMPLICITY

Looking for the perfect T-shirt bra? Made from recycled nylon, a stretchy fabric which is still machine washable, Cos’s lingerie ticks the eco box while also being practical and stylish.

Subtle stitching gives it a pretty finish, and although there’s no wiring in the bras, adjustable straps and hook-and-eye fastenings ensure a good fit.

The briefs are a classic shape and the colours are plain, but for simple styles in sustainable fabric, you won’t find better.



Made from recycled nylon, a stretchy fabric which is still machine washable, Cos’s lingerie ticks the eco box while also being practical and stylish. The bra is £29, briefs are £8.50 and vest is £25 from cosstores.com

3. OLD MADE NEW

Founded by two friends in 2017, Lara Intimates makes bras from reclaimed fabric to reduce stock waste. 

They are produced exclusively by women in an East London factory. Got a small back or large cup size? 

This is the brand for you, as its products range from 26A to 36GG. There’s no wiring, but sizes DD-plus offer clever, hidden support.

Founded by two friends in 2017, Lara Intimates makes bras from reclaimed fabric to reduce stock waste. The pictured bra is £48 from laraintimates.com

4. ORGANIC POWER 

Undies from The Nude Label are produced with strict limits on the use of toxic bleaches, dyes and other chemicals. 

The cotton is farmed naturally, and the bras, bodysuits and briefs (for men, too) — many of which come in a choice of 11 colours — are built to last.

Undies from The Nude Label are produced with strict limits on the use of toxic bleaches, dyes and other chemicals. Pictured: This bodysuit is £45.50 from thenudelabel.com

5. WASTE NOT, WANT NOT 

Danish brand Underprotection combines 100 per cent sustainable materials with stand-out designs. 

The firm uses organic cotton and synthetic materials sourced from pre-consumer waste. Half of its suppliers are female-owned, too, and all pay a living wage.


Danish brand Underprotection combines 100 per cent sustainable materials with stand-out designs. Pictured: Bra, £50, and briefs, £40, selfridges.com

6. TREE-HUGGING STYLE 

Fashionable label Stripe & Stare spent six years developing its material before launching. 

The biodegradable fabric is made from beechwood trees and uses 95 per cent less water in production than cotton.

The knickers all have a lace trim and come in a range of colourful prints. 

They also have the comfort factor — the eco-friendly Tencel Micro Modal fabric is thin yet super-stretchy.

Fashionable label Stripe & Stare spent six years developing its material before launching. The biodegradable fabric is made from beechwood trees and uses 95 per cent less water in production than cotton. Pictured: Bra and knickers set, £35, stripeandstare.com

7. FISHING NET CHIC

Matching your sports bra to your leggings has become a popular practice since the rise of the ‘athleisure’ trend, and this zingy lime and blue eco-friendly selection from Girlfriend Collective will make sure you stand out for the right reasons. 

The fabric is made from recycled bottles, fishing nets and other plastic waste. It’s comfortably stretchy, and contours the body for a flattering fit.


This zingy lime and blue eco-friendly selection from Girlfriend Collective will make sure you stand out for the right reasons. The fabric is made from recycled bottles, fishing nets and other plastic waste. Pictured: Green, £35, selfridges.com; blue, £35, net-a-porter.com

8. LEADER OF THE ECO PACK 

It may face regular criticism for its clothes, but M&S still hits the mark when it comes to lingerie.

Its knickers and vests are made from Better Cotton Initiative cotton, which is beneficial for the environment and those who produce it.

It may face regular criticism for its clothes, but M&S still hits the mark when it comes to lingerie. Its knickers and vests are made from Better Cotton Initiative cotton. Pictured: High-leg knickers (pack of five), £7, and T-shirt, £12.50, marks andspencer.com

The vest tops will give you a lift with their secret support panels, while the bras use a sustainably sourced Supima cotton blend.

The company has the biggest range of knickers to suit all shapes, with midis, full briefs, high waisted, thongs, highrise shorts and Brazilian styles. 

All we need now is its Rosie Huntington-Whiteley collection, designed by the model herself, to follow suit.

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