Underwear is something we have to continually purchase, so buying it ethically can make a big impact over time! It might feel easy to pick up underwear from a large chain mall retailer, but these pieces are very likely being made in slave like working conditions and of low quality fabric that falls apart after a short period of time, yet will last forever in a landfill. Buying ethical underwear means buying underwear made by people working in fair labour conditions, supporting small businesses, and buying a high quality product that has been tirelessly designed to ensure comfort and durability for the wearer. From our personal experience we've noticed a huge difference in the quality and craftsmanship of ethical underwear compared to fast fashion pieces!
Because we looooove supporting local, we've created a list of 7 sources for Canadian-made underwear! We also added a couple internationally made brands that we are intrigued by, as well as tips for shopping for underwear online.
Azura Bay is a one stop shop for a variety of underwear options from ethical, eco and woman-owned companies. Their Winnipeg-based online shop features a curated collection of luxurious and consciously made underwear, lingerie, swim and loungewear. They also donate a portion of each order to one of three organizations you can choose upon checking out.
Azura Bay is one of our favourite places to recommend to ethical Canadian shoppers because they are one of the only Canada-based shops carrying a wide variety of ethical brands. This includes some of our favourite ethical underwear options: PACT, Naja, and Sokoloff.
Modern, feminine bralettes handmade in Calgary. We love the delicate simplicity of each piece from Sewn!
Ethically made in Canada, Mary Young's pieces are crafted to give the wearer comfort and freedom while feeling stylish in their bralettes, panties and loungewear. The simple, classic designs accented with strap and mesh details make these pieces unique yet everyday wearable.
Ohhh Lu Lu is a line of bralettes, panties, slips, camisoles and sleep masks handmade and packaged by designer Sarah in Ontario. Her pieces use delicate fabrics and vintage prints for a classic look with adorable details. Each item is handmade to order so you can have your favourite pieces custom made to fit you just right!
Detail-oriented with a focus on comfort and durability, Fortnight's made in Toronto underwear is carefully crafted to enhance curves and clothes. Their minimalist and timeless designs are created to be long lasting and high performance.
An Ottawa-based boutique carrying several lingerie designers with the majority of them being Canadian women. The shop supports independent designers around Canada by offering a selection of playful, sassy and bad ass lingerie all in one place. Victoire Boutique has locations in both Ottawa and Toronto.
A line of handmade bralette and high waisted underwear sets from Halifax featuring hand drawn prints on organic fabrics for pieces that are fun and easy to wear. All orders are made to order by Halifax-based seamstresses, using in house silkscreens and organic jersey fabric. Thief and Bandit are slow fashion advocates aiming to produce truly handmade fashion.
Not Canadian... but we are intrigued!
Everlane is quickly becoming an ethical fashion titan! Everlane offers a stylish yet timeless collection of versatile pieces from tees to jeans to shoes to winter jackets. They most recently added soft and lightweight underwear to their collection. Though we haven't tried them yet ourselves, we are certainly intrigued!
White Rabbit makes timeless, comfortable underwear basics using sustainably sourced bamboo rayon. They exclusively employ women and highly value fair working conditions. Their aim is to create long lasting, sustainably made pieces that you will want to wear over and over again. A percentage of each sale is donated to Fabrica Social, a social enterprise working to empower female artisans in rural communities.
Naja has a huge collection of bras, underwear, activewear and swim wear. Naja employs single mothers at above market wages and provides them with healthcare benefits, flexible work policies to help with childcare and school supplies for their children. Naja utilizes digital printing to avoid water waste from fabric dying and uses fabric made from recycled bottles for some of their pieces.
Naja has been a go to for My New Neighbour for ethical and affordable underwear (specifically all kinds of panties) since we first started shopping ethically!
My New Neighbour tip: If you're in Canada, we recommend purchasing Naja items through Azura Bay when possible to save on shipping costs. If Azura Bay isn't currently carrying the Naja item you're looking for, Naja often has sales where we like to stock up with a couple of friends and split the shipping cost.
Worried about shopping for bras online?
Shopping for bras online can be intimidating - it's an intimate item that has to fit just right! On top of that, a lot of the ethical brands we have listed above sell mostly bralettes. For a lot of us a bralette does not cut it for all day support. We think the lack of consciously-made, well constructed, supportive bras is a serious gap in the ethical fashion world.
BUT! We do have a few tips to make ethical bra shopping easier...
Contact the brand
A huge perk of conscious shopping is that ethical brands are innately people-focused and keen to connect with and please their conscious customer. Send the brand an email to get help with choosing a size and check on their return policy. Many brands will offer to pay for your return shipping if the item does not work for you.
You can also check the stockists section of a brand's website to see if their pieces are sold in a store near you.
Buy from brands that offer custom sizing
Custom sizing means you send the brand your exact measurements and expectations, and they will custom make pieces to fit you perfectly. We found that many of the brands in our Ethical Bridal Lingerie post offer custom sizing for all of their items.
Support a local small business in your city
If you simply can't imagine buying a bra online, find a locally owned bra shop in your city!
Right now, it's tough to find ethically made bras in store in most cities. We hope that starts to change soon! But in the meantime, purchasing underwear from a small, locally owned business is a way we can still be a conscious consumer.
There are some incredible locally owned underwear/lingerie speciality stores out there, with passionate staff who are dedicated to ensuring you find a bra that fits you perfectly and you'll want to wear over and over. We are all about supporting local businesses who hire passionate people to ensure the consumer is 100% satisfied with their purchase! An important aspect of ethical shopping is buying items you feel great in and will love for many years, so for some of us that means investing in a perfectly fitting bra at a local store.
Calgary-based Bra Boutiques
Upon arriving at BraTopia you can expect to have a personal fitting consultant take as much time as needed to help you find the a comfortable and supportive bra. A store with a huge selection of underwear, swim and loungewear for women of all sizes, they promise an honest and educational experience.
Thee Lingerie Shop wants to ensure every kind of woman enjoys the pleasure of properly fitting bras, lingerie and swimwear. They believe well fitting underwear is supportive and can help a woman burst with confidence. This shop has locations in Calgary and Regina, and carries the aforementioned ethical underwear brand Fortnight.
Vancouver-based Bra Boutique
Diane's is committed to providing a best in class fitting experience in a welcoming environment for women of all sizes. Their passion is to create a haven for women needing personal attention and delicate care in finding underwear that offers joy, confidence, comfort, and health. Diane's carries ethical underwear brand Fortnight.