Okay, so the children have started to wear through their undies, and I'm sure mine are not too far behind..(ha, completely unintentional pun there). Now, as dedicated as I am to second hand, we are not going to do second hand undies. Or socks, or tights, although we do give and receive those among friends:).. mostly outgrown children's ones.
So I have been researching sources of ethical undies.
Our lovely Blueday friend and commenter Loretta recommended Tuffys, for all you Australians. Tuffys are actually made in Australia. From Australian cotton. From Australian farms. Yes, it's a miracle, but true. Their prices are reasonable, especially when on sale, and delivery is free.
Pants to Poverty is a UK brand, available in lots of actual shops around the UK which is great for all of you who like to support your local shops. I love their ethos - organic, fair trade, responsible manufacturing and business practices. Based on the Make Poverty History campaign inspired by Nelson Mandela. Pants to Poverty undies are also available to us Aussies online via Etiko, in the US, and a bunch of other countries.
Now for socks - another lovely friend of Blueday, Lucinda, kindly recommended these socks from Humphrey Law for us. She accidently shrank hers on a hot wash, so don't do that! But don't they look lovely? Mmm, baby alpaca-wool socks? Oh, yes please. Australian wool and cotton and alpaca. Wonderful. Now apparently there are some local stockists for me to go and visit. That is on my errand list for this week. Otherwise, my fellow Australians, you can find them on-line or at any number of local stockists near you. There is free delivery for three or more pairs of socks..
All these underwear options are more expensive than the three-packs at Target which have been my undies mainstays for years... but the options above - this is the real price of clothes which are providing a fair wage to the farmers and processors. And, actually, because I have been buying very little in the way of clothes this year, there is a little wiggle room in the budget for more expensive undies..
I would love to know if you shop ethically and/or locally for your undies, or, even, do you make them? My friend Katherine wears fabulous socks knitted by her Mum. I really want to learn how to do that. And the other day when I was folding the washing I was critically examining the knickers thinking, 'Hmm, it's only three pieces of fabric. I wonder if I could make that?' I thought of all the t-shirts we have to turn into cleaning rags on a regular basis due to the plethora of small holes or the steadfast stain. I could turn t-shirts into undies!! (I say this as someone who is afraid of the sewing machine..). Still, wombling undies; it's tempting:)
I will update this post if I find new and useful suppliers of ethical undies, and give those I do use a review. If you buy ethical undies in Australia or another country, please share your sources, and/or favourite you-tube tutorial for sewing knickers (there are at least a hundred..).
Here's a US site I found while hunting for tights. Has anyone used this?:
US organic fairtrade underwear
Edited to add: Have some great links to add.
First is a post from Blueday friend Mimi who makes lingerie from old sheets because she is amazing:)
Judy recommends socks from Rapanui, an ethical UK company with a fair trade partnership in India with organic products which can be returned to the company for re-use or recycling.
I was reminded that Libi recommended the company Who Made Your Pants? When they arrived she indulged her readers with a knicker unboxing post:) I love the ethos of this company too - knickers are made with left over end-of-line fabric from large underwear companies which would otherwise go to waste.
We also think that it's not really on for anyone to be made to work in bad conditions just for a cheap pair of pants. Who could feel lovely in something made in a bad place? So we make our pants in a great place. We've a little factory in Southampton where we create jobs for women who've had a hard time.
from the website
So try them for all your posh knicker needs, UK ladies:)
Further edited to add: Popped in to our local fabulous outdoors and camping and farm wear shop, Allgoods. Name says it all. They have a great selection of Australian-made socks. Who knew? Target has become totally obsolete now. I found:
Wilderness bamboo socks and sporty/hiker clothes
Mentor Ranger socks Explorer style
I also found a range of the most beautiful socks I have ever seen and lusted after - this Lothlorien range from New Zealand. Glorious! But a very annoying website that plays music and provides very little information. Stockists? You will have to find them yourself..
And of course, the Humphrey Law range that I went for was there as well. I ordered some sport socks for the girls. Imagine, sport socks that are mostly wool. Delicious! I might need to keep a pair.
As per usual, hunting for alternative and better suppliers of 'stuff' has turned up some real treasures and products that are immensely superior, plus a shopping experience that is exponentially better than the Target one. While I was in Allgoods scoping out socks, an old farmer was in the women's clothing section consulting with the sales lady (who I swear has worked there for all the eighteen years I have lived in Launceston) on a gift for his wife. She was reminding him what he bought last year so he wouldn't buy her the same thing again.. now that is service.
Even further edited to add:
From another NZ reader: Thunderpants. These look amazing! And this is from their website: