Welcome back to my second post for Fashion Revolution Week! Today I’m going to be talking about my favourite lingerie brands whose ethics align with the fashion revolution! I would also like to mention that I own pieces from all of these brands except the final one, so I can truly recommend these brands.
Nisa are spectacular (as you may already know), for starters they employ former refugees who have come to New Zealand, giving them a job and a support network. I love reading the blog posts written by their employees as you really get to know who exactly is making your clothes. They use organic certified cotton knitted in Australia, have previously made collections from deadstock fabrics and use recycled nylon fabrics for their swimwear. I remember chatting to Elisha once about the struggles she faced trying to find suitable elastic for the brand.
Everything is designed and made in-house at their workroom/shop on Willis St in Wellington, NZ. It’s amazing being able to go somewhere and see where the clothes are being made while you shop. The determination to make every aspect of the business sustainable and ethical is so admirable and makes them one of my all time favourite brands!
Hopeless lingerie are another small brand making everything in their studio, based in Melbourne, Australia. They are known for their vampy style, inspired by old horror movies and heavy metal, their unique style comes across clearly and is probably why I am so drawn to it! I have been enamoured with their whole aesthetic since I first discovered them in 2011. Apart from a small ready-to-ship section everything on their website is made to order and they also offer custom sizing as an option.
Many of their exclusive ranges are made of deadstock fabrics and mainline pieces often out of sustainable fibres and fabrics which are all certified. Any textile waste they have is either recycled or upcycled. They have such a killer aesthetic which has been knocked off by cheap brands for years. Nothing comes close to the original, their pieces are a pleasure to own and the quality and love is so apparent in their work.
What Katie Did
What Katie Did are probably the most recognisable vintage reproduction lingerie brand in the business. Katie is extremely transparent with their manufacturing in India and often posts videos from her frequent factory visits. It’s amazing to get a real look behind the scenes and see a positive manufacturing relationship really fostered. They also have their more specialist pieces such as stockings and corsets made in the UK, Thailand and Italy.
Katie is the powerhouse behind the brand and is often inspired by true vintage pieces in her own personal collection. It’s amazing to see the original pieces and how Katie has interpreted these into their current lines, whether by design choice or practical necessity. Their team is small so you can be sure emailing customer service you will get helpful and accurate responses.
Although not operating at the moment I HAD to mention Underneath Lingerie. After 3 and a half years (has it been that long already) they have decided to take a hiatus to take their business to the next level. From their website “I want Underneath to be ethical, environmental friendly and sustainable. But that’s not something I can change overnight. That’s why I’m taking a break. But don’t worry, behind the scenes I am going to search for new ethical fabric suppliers, make new designs and patterns, study natural dyeing and many more!”.
I have been a fan of Underneath since the beginning and watching them go from strength to strength has been amazing. All made and designed by Katja in her own home, she even offered a range where you could mix and match fabrics on offer to have a completely unique piece made for you. I can’t wait for them to open back up and it’s lovely to watch their updates on instagram.
Lonely strives for pieces that fit and flatter the body with unlined bra cups going up to a G-cup. If you haven’t heard of Lonely you have probably seen their pieces, they have dominated the independent lingerie market now with worldwide stockists and celebrities wearing their pieces. Their focus on lace and little strappy details really make them stand out.
Their studio in Auckland, New Zealand is where all of the designing, sampling, grading and product dispatch happens. After attempting manufacturing in NZ they sought out offshore factories, they now work with a “collective of smaller size, family-owned factories in China”. With frequent visits to the factory they feel comfortable and confident that their products are bring made ethically and to a high-standard. They also source their high quality laces from Hong Kong and Europe and use predominantly bamboo fabrics for any solid pieces.
Karolina Laskowska – the woman, the brand, the icon. I have been obsessed with this brand since she first launched her label in 2012. A luxury brand focused on unique strappy and layered pieces everything is exquisitely made and styled to perfection. While not operating as they used to the brand still produces a few small lines and samples. I wanted to include them particularly for their use of deadstock textiles. Striving for quality they source materials from smaller European manufacturers so you will often find small runs of the most gorgeous pieces made from delicate French lace.
At one point thanks to crowdfunding they were able to have a line manufactured (I believe in Europe) by a small factory, which was visited during production. Most pieces on the website are currently made by Karolina in Olso, Norway where she now resides. They have also collaborated with Evgenie Lingerie and Harlow and Fox, both brands who have a strong focus on high-quality timeless pieces. Karolina Laskowska’s pieces are art and something so central to the brand is preservation, of techniques and materials. Collections have included true vintage and antique laces, as well as upcycled silk kimonos.
Bettie Page Lingerie – Playful Promises
Bettie Page Lingerie is a particular line from Playful Promises focused on vintage inspired pieces perfect for a modern pinup. Playful Promises owns several lines, I am most familiar with Bettie Page Lingerie. Playful Promises is a small brand who focus on trying to provide an extensive size range. Their bra sizing ranges from a 28DD-44H and body sizes UK6-30.
Their pieces are designed in their offices in London and manufactured in China by accredited factories. Members of the Playful Promises team visit them 3-6 times per year to work with them and strengthen their bond. You can read more at the end of my post under ‘further reading material’. They are also part of the One Tree Planted charity, where for every order placed a tree will be planted somewhere in the world as a result.
Now admittedly I haven’t tried Swedish Stocking’s products as of yet but I do have a tab open on my computer and I’m currently deciding on my first order! Swedish Stockings produce hosiery made from recycled and waste nylon yarn. They don’t only produce black and nudes either. They have socks, hold ups, leopard prints, sparkly tights, and that producing products ethically and sustainably doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style.
A true trailblazer, they are determined to start a movement in the hosiery industry proving that you can manufacture products ethically and sustainably.Every aspect of their business is centred around being as sustainable as possible, even powering factories with renewable energy and making them zero-waste. They will even take your old pantyhose – from any brand – and recycle them, send them 3 pairs and you’ll receive a discount code for their website.
Ethics are not a cut and dry subject, ‘Made in China’ does not always mean that workers are mistreated just as ‘Made in Australia’ doesn’t guarantee modern slavery wasn’t at play. Not to mention plenty of independent brands run by a single person, aren’t necessarily paying themselves a fair and living wage. As someone who ran my own business for a time I can also attest to this. For further reading here are a couple of my favourite articles about ethical manufacturing in the lingerie industry.
And there you have it, a summary of my favourite lingerie brands who manufacture ethically and sustainably. I know of a few others but these are my tried and true brands. You can find reviews of many of them in my ‘Ethical Clothing’ category. If you have any favourites of your own then let me know in the comments! I would love to hear about more!