It's Valentine's Day and that doesn't have to mean a darn thing--unless you want it to. Being stuck in quarantine can make sprucing up your undies feel exciting or pointless, depending on your situation. If you're single, fancy undies can be a sad reminder of isolation but a lot of people are buying clothes for future wear, as a beacon of hope. If you're in a relationship, a new pair of underthings could spice up your life in these otherwise monotone days.
Image via The Great Eros
The lingerie industry has seen some crazy turns in the past year. Early in the pandemic lingerie sales shot up and leveled off. Aside from the renewed interest in this category lately over the past few years lingerie has changed. More sustainable and independent brands have cropped up, giving us more sustainable choice and a diversity of perspectives apart from the Victoria's Secret male-created bombshell aesthetic.
Image via Araks
We now have beautiful but comfortable options in lingerie that shows off not just our bodies but our personalities. All of the below brands are woman-owned and bipoc founded. It's a big sign of progress for women to own our sexiness by buying and selling lingerie designed for us and by us. The brands below all have all been rigorous about using ethical labor, sourcing sustainable fabrics and zero waste practices without sacrificing their unique perspectives. We're impressed with them and hope you are too.
This playful, high-femme lingerie brand is a confection of clashing brights, delicate pastels and lace applique. Put on a pair and you're your own Valentine card. Founder Georgia Larsen named the line after her childhood dog and runs the London label alongside her husband, Jake. The brand donates a portion of each sale to climate change NGOs, produces in ethical factories paying workers a living wage and recently adopting recycled lace and 100% GOTS organic cotton in their “knickers”.
Kye is the lingerie brand for an edgy, minimalist. It's simple enough for everyday in neutral tones but with sheer mesh fabrics, black piping and subtle details it's feels smart and certainly sexy enough for any rendezvous. Kye feels like cool girl lingerie you wear to feel sexy for yourself impervious to anyone else's gaze. Each piece is handmade of dead stock and renewable materials in an family-owned factory in L.A.
Speaking of minimalists, Baserange is another chic option for simple but hip undies. They're less of a lingerie brand and more of a sustainable basics company with avant garde designs. The brand's first run of undies made chic what was previously a granny panty. Baserange has its standard beige high rise grannies but also makes plunging body suits and pieces in shocking brights and velvety textures. Without underwire or lace, the more eye catching pieces still read as casual. It's true comfort with an artsy strangeness that feels right.
Araks Yeramyan founded her eponymous brand in 2000 after working at J.Crew. After discovering a box of trims in the lingerie department, she decided to start her own line of all-cotton lingerie inspired by Hanro but made for a younger customer. Without underwire, her silk color-block pieces look gorgeous but still feel easy. Araks pieces are almost instantly recognizable with their silk paneled bras that except for their modern color-blocking feel almost victorian. In terms of sustainability, Araks is all over it. They use a mix of 70% organic cotton and 30% upcycled cotton, GOTS and OEKOTEX 100 certified fabrics made in Spain. Each piece is assembled using sustainable, low-impact factories in the USA using renewable energy. It’s beautiful to see modern designers like Araks interpret that elusive mix of classic lingerie and comfort.
Image via @accidentalinfluencer
Fruity Booty embraces a 90's that Y2K aesthetic token of Gen Z. But for this brand, we're here for it. This London line really shines in their prints. We're seriously debating whether to get on the waitlist for their shiny pastel green Fresh As a Daisy set as seen above on influencer Molly Blutsein, @accidentalinfluencer, their orange plaid Clementine pieces or our favorite Peaches and Cream swirl print set. This line feels really fashion forward with strange accents like a pair of mesh gloves to match a bra and panties but it all feels playful and intentional. The price point is Gen Z as well with a pair of panties for $20 and full sets for $70. This brand quite attainable but still quite rigorous about sustainability. 80% of their fabrics use dead stock materials, and 20% from conscious material suppliers. They produce in small batches in ethical factories in London and Porto, Portugal.
The Great Eros is upscale and grownup in the ways we've always wanted to be. Carried by Net-a-porter, it feels like the sustainable lingerie brand for a woman who might wear Sophie Buhai & The Row. What makes it feel grown up is the quiet elegance of the shapes in palettes like charcoal, clay and dark mauve. The artistic touches feel subtle and highly personal and the edgier pieces even feel understated like the brown plaid Mirage Baby Tee & matching bottom show above. With pieces like these, you feel both date and work appropriate which makes personal sexiness feel so integrated into your style that it feels like an expression of self and not a performance. This beautiful brand is run by a husband and wife team in New York City and produced in ethical factories in China, Japan, Peru and locally in NYC.
Mai Petit is a Colombian lingerie & swimwear brand based in Los Angeles. Each piece is responsibly made in Columbia with conscious fabrics such as Italian-made mesh and silk. Mai Petit feels classy and elevated but still plays with print as seen in the Crystal Beso set & gloves above. They veer from fashiony femme to sweet girly girl with their ruffled Paloma bra top and back to fierce femme in black architechtural underwire Macarena Bra. Despite being varied in their approach it all feels cohesive. Switching from spicy to sweet in these pieces feels like the complex expression of self we didn't know we were looking for in lingerie.
Founders Laura Schoorl and Rachel Corry were on a road trip to Santa Barbara when they decided to start the perfect underwear company. The dream was to make minimal, sturdy, locally made underwear of entirely organic cotton and natural rubber. And they've done it. Now they operate Pansy as small all female team in San Francisco. Their beautiful colors such as Avocado, Sunflower, Azul, Cocoa, Lilac and Sweet Potato are all dyed in Novato, California using long-lasting fiber-reactive dyes.
Enjoy supporting women-owned, sustainable brands this Valentine's Day but really, any time of the year!