Valentine’s Day special: my favourite sustainable lingerie brands

It’s that time of the year! The most romantic day full of grand gestures, expensive dinners and sexy gifts… oh, who am I kidding? After 13 years together with my husband, this day is rarely acknowledged, and if it is mentioned then only as a joke. I am, however, a hopeless romantic who thinks love should be celebrated every day of the year, but you know, life gets in the way and we forget to appreciate the most important things in our lives. So on this note, here is a special post for the Valentines Day, whether you celebrate it or not: sustainable lingerie (yay!).

I have found two sustainable lingerie brands that are so different I can’t decide which one I love most. They are contrasting in style but very similar in the sustainability approach. Here is the first sustainable lingerie brand: Lara Intimates.

Lara Intimates

Faith Leeves and Cindy Liberman met while studying at the London College of Fashion. Faith and Cindy needed to find a cool girl name for their brand, rather than name it after themselves they created Lara, a fun, creative, sophisticated, stylish and pink loving persona to embody their brand.

Lara Intimates studio

Lara Intimates studio

I visited Lara Intimates studio in the vibrant Soho district of London a few months back to check out their new revolutionary simple bra sizing online tool that guarantees a perfect fit and to talk to them about Lara Intimates sustainability principles. And let me tell you, these girls take their sustainability seriously, focusing on these key point:

Reclaimed Fabrics

Did you know that large brands and factories send millions of tonnes of unused textiles to landfill every year? Lara Intimates believes the most sustainable fabric choice is using material that already exists. They work with a UK supplier that buys surplus luxury lingerie fabrics from around the world and brings them back to a warehouse in England. These textiles are always in perfect, unused condition that would have otherwise gone to landfill. Occasionally, their supplier will receive an awkward color, think neon green, and have the fabric dyed black by a British dye-house. All Lara garments are made from beautiful fabrics that reduce environmental impact and textile waste. 

Elastics, gold rings & other stuff

Bras often have 15 pieces or more. Fabric, elastics, hooks and eyes, gold rings, slides and straps. Getting every component to match perfectly and be sourced responsibly is one of the biggest challenges at Lara. Their hooks and eyes and gold hardware come from the same luxury surplus supplier as the fabrics. Elastics, strapping, under-bands and bindings are made and dyed by a responsible British manufacturer. They keep very little stock of their elastics to reduce stock waste.

Lara Intimates beautiful sustainable lingerie

Zero fabric waste

On average, 10% of fabric in the fashion industry ends up wasted on the cutting room floor. At Lara, they cut lots of bras and briefs out at the same time and pack pattern pieces together so there’s little space in between. That’s a nerdy way of saying they waste very little fabric. Anything that is wasted, is saved to be shredded and used as stuffing in a new garment.

Valentine’s Day special: my favourite sustainable lingerie brands

The Factory

When Faith and Cindy started Lara Intimates, they couldn’t find a responsible lingerie factory in England at a price they liked. So they decided to start their own. Today, every Lara garment is made in-house, in their Soho studio. In-house manufacturing means they have total control and transparency about every step from design to delivery. From how the makers are treated, saving all fabric cuttings to reducing textile waste and controlling manufacturing quantities to cut down on stock waste.

Wren Bra from Lara Intimates

The bra sizing online tool!

After becoming a mom things kind of went south (pun intended) and finding a well-fitting bra has become a challenge. Sure, it fits well in a shop, but after an hour of moving around? Not so much. I was very excited about my first fitting experience and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed: not only did I find out I was a size 30DD (while I thought I was a small B!) but I was also surprised how easy it was to measure myself. All I needed was a measuring tape and 2 minutes and I was done! You can read all about my experience here.

fitting party at Lara Intimates

Keep an eye on the fitting parties in the  Central London studio where you can shop, see the Lara Intimates factory, enjoy free drinks and have a fitting with a lingerie expert.

The look

I love the combination of striking minimalist design, clean lines and the vibrant colors. Even though the design itself is very simple, to me, it still looks different from other lingerie labels, it has, somehow, a unique style to it. When I wear a Lara Intimates bra, I feel pretty but also strong at the same time. And the sleek lines mean that I don’t get bulges from the lace under my t-shirt.

Coral Bra from Lara Intimates

Coral Bra. This is the one I took home. Besides being so unusual and pretty, I love the fact that it sits very low at the back since I love wearing tops and sweaters with a low-cut back.

Anekdot boutique

The minimalist style is not jour jam? My second favorite is the exact opposite of Lara Intimates: it’s lacy, sexy and so pretty I don’t want to cover it with my clothes.

Anekdot Boutique is a Berlin- and Sweden-based brand that creates upcycled sustainable lingerie. The creator, Sofie Ingrid Christina Andersson, jokingly claims that “upcycled does not mean you will be wearing someone else’s underwear. It means that we source our superb materials from production leftovers turning them into something beautiful and meaningful for your everyday life.”

Salvia Set from Anekdote

Underwear is an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe. It is the garment hidden like a secret under clothes and has the power to influence the way a woman feels throughout the day. Sofie wanted that garment to be inspiring, filled with soul, and reflect a positive change, like an anecdote for your everyday life. She discovered that there was a lack of inspiring design in the sector of sustainable underwear, and decided to go for it, and start Anekdot.

Anekdot lingerie set

Photography: Colette Pomerleau

How does Anekdot make ethical underwear?

First Sofie sources the materials. It could be a closing down factory, makers’ surplus, production errors or miscalculations. With Anekdot, she’s able to create something beautiful and meaningful for the everyday life while saving precious materials from going into landfill. Working with upcycling could be understood as a limit, but it is exactly within those limits that Sofie finds excitement and inspiration. Underwear and upcycling are also a perfect match, since the pattern pieces are small, and off-cuts can be used without necessarily having a patchwork aesthetic.

Most of Anekdot’s fabrics come from London or Italy. Then Sofie makes the design sketches, drafts the patterns and scales them to each size. Anekdot’s team tests the fit and starts cutting the fabric. Each pattern needs to be cut out of however many layers of fabric are used, sewn together, pressed neatly, and have the edges finished and trimmings applied. They do all of their production in a small studio. I haven’t visited Anekdot yet, but it’s very high on my list.

Black lacy set by Anekdot

Photography: Colette Pomerleau

I would love to see more images of real-life women in their smalls. I mean, it’s lovely to see a gorgeous young model in lingerie, but I miss variety.  Self-acceptance and self-love are what makes a woman genuinely vibrant and beautiful. We should all be proud of our bodies, no matter what shape or age we are and just enjoy the moment of spoiling OURSELVES with gorgeous new lingerie set.

upcycled does not mean you will be wearing someone else's underwear. It means that we source our superb materials from production leftovers turning them into something beautiful and meaningful for your everyday life

What is your favorite regular or sustainable lingerie brand?

13 Comments
  • February 9, 2018

    Very pretty underwear. It is always good when you can find things that fit. I have a terrible time finding bras. I will check out the measuring guide.

  • February 9, 2018

    I have a hard time finding “pretty” bras that do not break the bank because I’m a large chested woman.

  • February 9, 2018

    Anekdot Boutique looks awesome 🙂 I love a combination of sustainable fashion with a beautiful design. Going to check their website now…

  • February 9, 2018

    Sounds like some great products – and companies! I really like the look of the bras. That’s awesome your fitting went well and you got some items that really worked.

    -Lauren

  • February 10, 2018

    Ever since I started wearing more ethical and sustainable clothes I’ve always struggled with finding underwear and lingerie. I love the looks of Lara Intimates but I wish it were easier to get their products in the States. If you ever find a sustainable/ethical lingerie company based in USA I’d love to hear about them!

    • February 14, 2018

      Hi Liz – You could check out: Only Hearts or Brook There. And for basics there’s PACT Apparel.

  • February 13, 2018

    Love it when you can find something so beautiful, and still eco-friendly! Thank you for sharing!

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xx Victoria