Best sustainable underwear 2022: Ethical lingerie brands to have on your radar



It’s what’s on the inside that counts. When it comes to getting dressed each day, this means starting with our underwear.

It goes without saying that soft, natural and breathable fibers are the foundation of any underwear drawer. After this, you’re probably looking for comfort and support.

This can mean big (organic) cotton pants and bras – and if that’s your vibe, there are plenty of options out there.

But, it can also mean sexy lace, bright colors and bold prints, and these can be a bit harder to find. So, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite lingerie brands that create underwear in all shapes and sizes.

All are slow fashion brands with ethical and sustainable values ​​at the core – you won’t find any sweatshops in this list and most of the materials are organically sourced or help contribute to zero-waste.

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The best sustainable lingerie brands for 2022 are:

  • best overall –Buttress and Snatch Blue collar crime mixed shirt bra: £118, Buttressandsnatch.co.uk
  • Best for lift – Nudea the lift balcony bra: £48, Nudea.com
  • Best for go-to knickers – Knickey starter set: £60.92, Projectcece.co.uk
  • Best for softness – Alexander Clementine local seaweed bralette: £31.50, Alexanderclementine.com
  • Best for period underwear – Wuka basics thong: £12, Wuka.co.uk
  • Best for upcycled designs – Pantee the triangle black bra: £38, Pantee.co.uk
  • Best ‘give back’ option – YOU underwear black mara set: £42, Youunderwear.com

Buttress & Snatch blue collar crime mixed shirt bra

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Last year’s IndyBest has to get top spot once again because its underwear is fun, beautiful, sexy and a joy to behold. Whether you’re looking for bedroom burlesque or a bra for breast cancer recovery, a design can be created especially for you. Buttress & Snatch has always worked with a lot of vintage treasures that founder Rachel Kenyon has spent the past 20 years gleaning and hoarding from the closures of the east end suppliers. Around 95 per cent of its fabrics are either dead stock, recycled or organic.

Its ethical Cut The Cotton collection features underwear sets remade from recycled shirt cottons “by honest working girls” in East London’s Hackney. The plunge, lift poplin bra with padded straps and cups is patchworked from the best bits of recycled London work shirts. Buttress & Snatch is the antithesis of fast fashion. Each bra is one-of-a-kind and a celebration of the female form in all its shapes and sizes.

Nudea the lift balcony bra

Best: ForLift

Rating: 9/10

“Underwear that fits” is the guiding principle for Nudea. Underwear that lasts is another. Underwear for women, and not the male gaze is a third. Enter the Lift Balcony Bra, which offers both support and the classic balcony style. It has three-way adjustable straps for overarm, racer back and halter neck options and four Hook & Eye fastening to keep it well-fitting for longer. What more could you ask for?

Well, sustainability is also woven into the fabric of Nudea. All of its fabrics and trims are made from recycled yarns. The brand is currently undergoing a Lifecycle Carbon Assessment and aims to be carbon zero by the end of this year. Brilliantly, all bras come in recycled mesh laundry bags that mean you can machine wash your bras with care. The Lift Balcony Bra is available with matching briefs and in Navy.

Knickey starter set

Best: For go-to knickers

Rating: 8.5/10

Naturally, different pants styles cater for different occasions, sometimes you need a low-rise thong and sometimes you want a high-rise bikini. Sometimes you’re just not sure what your go-to style is going to be – and that’s where this pick ‘n’ mix starter set really comes into its own. It allows you to select up to five different styles, five colors in different sizes.

Importantly, all Knickey products are GOTS and Fairtrade certified. Also, its supply chain is carbon neutral certified thanks to a combination of renewable energies, and offset projects. Plus, its launched an intimate Recycling Program, which recycles any old undies into secondary uses. Finally, it does a great bralette. It’s wonderfully thick and gives nice cleavage to a smaller bust.

Alexander Clementine lilac seaweed bralette

Best: For softness

Rating: 8.5/10

This bralette is supportive and flattering. It is quite fine, so it can feel quite revealing, depending on what you wear it under. Alexander Clementine is a new underwear brand that predominantly uses sustainable seaweed and tencel, which are silky soft. Seaweed is a relatively new fiber that uses 97 per cent less water than cotton to make. The brand sources its materials from a factory that reuses and recycles 98 per cent of its waste and does not release any chemicals. The underwear is handmade in London in sizes from XS – XL.

Wuka basics thong

Best: For period underwear

Rating: 8.5/10

There are period pants and then there are period thongs – available for light, medium and heavy flow – which is the innovation we’ve been waiting for. Super comfortable, the Wuka period thong will take you from the (home) office to the gym to the bar.

Wuka’s products are made in a female-founded factory in China, whose mission it is to eradicate single-use disposable products is closely aligned with Wuka’s own. Wuka report it has stopped more than 1 million pads and tampons going to landfill to date. Wuka pants can be used for at least two years, and research suggests every pair of pants replaces around 200 disposable period items from going to landfill. This represents a saving of £44.50 – and an easy win-win.

Pantee the triangle black bra

Best: For upcycled designs

Rating: 8.5/10

Pantee makes its underwear from upcycled deadstock T-shirts. Did you know more than 2 billion T-shirts are produced each year, yet due to overproduction, 30 per cent of garments are never even sold? The founders of Pantee did, hence its entry into the world of sustainable underwear.

This low-cut triangle bra is made from upcycled cotton. It’s pull-on and underwire-free yet double-layered and supportive. It has multifunctional straps (straight or cross-back) and can be paired with a range of brief styles.

The items are cut and sewn in a small sample room in Bangladesh. Its workers are guaranteed safe working conditions, paid above average living wages and earn bi-yearly bonuses. Pantee is also a 1% For The Planet member, which means it has committed to giving one per cent of gross annual sales to certified non-profit organisations.

YOU Underwear organic cotton matching bralette and bikini set

Best: ‘Give back’ option

Rating: 8/10

Designed in partnership with the award-winning African fashion label KikoRomeo, this unique Black Mara design will add color as well as comfort to your underwear selection. Plus, its non-wired pullover style is super comfortable for a smaller cup size and the straps can be adjusted to wear straight or in cross-back style.

YOU underwear’s buy-one-give-two promise is at the heart of the business. For every pair of underwear you purchase it donates two pairs to Smalls for All, which gives underwear to people in need across the UK and Africa. The brand says: “Giving pants and bras may seem like a small thing, but it can make a life-changing difference. For example, having pants allows women to remain in the workforce and girls to remain in school each month giving them a better chance of fighting their way out of poverty.”

All YOU underwear is made from 100 per cent GOTS Certified Organic and Fairtrade cotton, in a factory that, as well as paying a living wage, offers benefits such as funding for workers’ children’s education.

The verdict: Sustainable lingerie brands

Buttress and Snatch is our top pick, for another year running. It considers itself one of the last bastions of independent creativity and it doesn’t compromise on sustainability. We believe in the importance of supporting brands that keep these ideas alive. In an ideal world, every woman should be able to experience the joy of owning at least one lingerie item made in this way in their lifetime.

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Find your new underwear go-tos with the best online lingerie shops


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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