SHOPPING LIST: ETHICAL UNDIES
It's the holy grail of lingerie: not only comfy, but also sexy and consciously made. While ethical, cruelty-free apparel is getting easier and easier to come by (yay!), sweatshop-free, eco-friendly bras and underwear remain a bit more elusive. But don't despair -- that won't be the case for long, as a crop of emerging designers are creating beautiful skivvies that put people and the environment first. Now, that's a turn-on. From basic to bold, we rounded up a few of our favorites. Time for an undie-drawer overhaul!
We're more than a little obsessed with Naja's exquisite designs -- they had us at their tattoo-like prints of feathers and flowers but upped the ante even more with the Spanish tile-inspired Talavera collection -- and surprisingly affordable price points. Still, an even better reason to shop this San Francisco-based brand is its core humanitarian mission. Naja trains and employs single moms to sew its lingerie bags through its Underwear for Hope program, and it also makes all of its products in women-owned factory.
Up next, Naja, which is finishing up its second Kickstarter campaign, will be expanding into swimwear, according to founder Catalina Girald. She also says the label is planning to grow Underwear for Hope with more options and more women workers. We want it all!
2. Dear Kate
Genius is what these are. These made-in-NYC undies have built-in liners created to avert leakage disasters during that time of the month -- or any other time. They're an eco-friendly alternative to pantyliners (crazy/gross fact: an estimated 12 billion sanitary pads end up in landfills each year) that actually works. Not to mention they look mighty cute. We're big fans of the hipster and cheeky styles and the lacy Ella bralet.
Good news: the label is moving into yoga pants for fall. We can't wait to get our hands --err, legs -- on a pair.
3. Luva Huva
The London-based brand's handmade lingerie incorporates classic details like lace panels and high-waists with just the right amount of casual slouch and a hint of cheekiness (pun intended!). Materials include vintage fabric, remnants, organic cotton, bamboo and soy fibers. In addition to its more extensive lingerie line, Luva Huva also offers a small selection of dresses and skirts.
A few of our summer faves are the Odile bra -- we think it's meant to be seen -- and the Coraline slip.
Designer Joanna Ketterer tells that Luva Huva is looking to incorporate a wider range of fabrics into the offerings. And the looks for fall will take a decidedly darker turn, with a midnight garden theme. Oh la la.
Not to be confused with Naja, this new label, Najla, is named after founder Emma Bowen's grandmother, Najla Trabulsi Grupi, who owned a Brooklyn lingerie shop in the 1920s. The modern version of the brand, set to launch in December via its own website (in the meantime, Naja's currently running a Kickstarter campaign), consists of elegant, simple pieces that are locally made from sustainable materials like organic, U.S.-sourced cotton. Najla also strives to work with farms and factories that treat workers fairly and aim for limited environmental impact.
Emma says she's also creating a more ornate line to complement her basic bras, tanks and underwear, with the goal of debuting the second collection in 2015. She also hopes to create limited-edition pieces and open a brick-and-mortar boutique. Sweet, in every sense of the word.
5. Only Hearts
Only Hearts has been around for quite a while, but over the last couple of years the label's lingerie, including its ethically-made organic cotton line, has been gaining more recognition. You can now find Only Hearts underwear (so cute they call it "inner outerwear"), pajamas and apparel everywhere from Shopbop to Nordstrom. Bonus: Many of the items are made in New York. Up next Only Hearts is will expand the sleepwear portion of its organic cotton offerings. So comfy!