I have several problems when it comes to underwear. The first is design – knickers are invariably tiny slips of things with little in the way of coverage or comfort. The second is sourcing them. Although I’m happy to spend hours at a time browsing and buying clothes in charity shops, I draw the line at second hand pants, certain things are best purchased new and squeaky clean. However, not having the budget for high-end lingerie, I’m left with a conundrum: how can I buy underwear that is genuinely flattering and pleasing to wear, whilst not breaking either my morals or my bank
Luckily, I think that Who Made Your Pants might have the solution. This company was set up by Becky John, a former Oxfam volunteer, who aims to produce pants that are “a little bit of gorgeous, just for you, every day”. Better still, the rather delicious lace and Lycra creations are made using discarded factory offcuts, with all production taking place in the UK.
Becky John, Who Made Your Pants? Founder
Becky has always adored underwear with a “ridiculous passion”, but realised the ethical impact of this voracious love for lingerie after working with a local charity group. “I didn’t know how many countries my pants had been through, how many hands had held them”, she said. Alongside an increased awareness of the production methods, there was particular emphasis on the women who were marginalised and isolated without jobs or education. For Becky, these two discoveries coincided with something she describes as a “personal epiphany” during counselling at a rape crisis centre. She said: “I could do whatever I wanted and there was more happiness, and more choices, available to me than I had realised.”
One of these choices was to set up a business that could make “ethical, bright pink pants.” She talks about her business being a social one formed specifically to empower women through work. This win-win situation benefits both consumer and creator whilst providing a working environment in which these women can feel completely safe, while learning new skills and socializing with others.
Who Made You Pants? Underwear
Ethics play a huge part in the Who Made Your Pants ethos. Becky describes Building in as much ethical and environmentally responsible behaviour as they can, Becky describes: “Our packaging is recycled and recyclable, our fabrics, furniture, gift wrap, (most) computers and office equipment are all up-cycled plus my colleagues and I travel mostly by bike, legs or public transport.” She is also well aware of the environmental impact of her own clothes purchases. “I’ve been shopping in charity shops, second hand and vintage shops and markets since I was a teenager and hate waste in any form,” she said, “the idea of buying new every season has always struck me as bonkers.” It’s fitting that her fabrics are leftovers sold on by big underwear factories at the end of each season. The results, with whimsical names like ‘Bonfire of the Panities’ and ‘Elephant Free Ivory’, are highly desirable.
A pair of pants from Becky’s company is a bit of a luxury, but still an affordable luxury. It’s an ideal way to dip a toe into the concept of clothes with a conscience whilst buying something, in the words of Becky, “comfortable, practical, gorgeous and just for YOU.” I’m particularly thrilled by the Who Made Your Pants message of underwear “made by women, for women”, especially when compared to lingerie marketed as being attractive to ‘your man’. Now I just need to choose between a pair of delectable ‘Rosalind’ shorts or the equally enticing ‘Welsh Green’ pants. I know either will be cherished.