These days, what women are wearing underneath their pants is looking more authentic, feeling more comfortable, and sometimes, even makes a political statement or supports an important cause. Clearly, voting with your dollar is more important than ever. And a number of new women's underwear labels are taking a political stance—whether it's supporting organizations like Planned Parenthood, or using an underwear brand as a platform to question the traditional concepts of ideal feminine beauty.
Through subverting and challenging female beauty standards, many independent women's underwear brands are making a name for themselves by cultivating a body-positive community. In addition to embracing intersectionality and inclusivity in how they present their products, some are even innovating in the realms of materials and sustainability.
Here we round up 10 women's underwear brands that should be on your radar.
Cute Fruit Undies
From: New Paltz, New York
In a Nutshell: Though menstrual underwear has become more mainstream recently (think brands like Thinx), Cute Fruit Undies is a newer brand taking the period panty one step further: using special, absorbent fabric, these full-brief panties can replace the use of tampons or pads, support Planned Parenthood, and allow you to bleed on the face of your least favorite politician such as Donald Trump, Mike Pence or Ted Cruz.
According to the brand’s website, the panties feature “the faces of politicians who have actively worked to pass legislations that will hinder women’s access to abortions, birth control, and Planned Parenthood” allowing you to "bleed all over ‘em."
The line was started by Sarah Palatnik in March 2016, who donates $3 to Planned Parenthood for every sale.
From: New York, New York
In a Nutshell: Jonesy creates fair-trade, “super soft undees and bras,” that are made in the U.S. Jonsey's mantra is: “Life Gets Complicated. Your Underwear Shouldn’t Be.” The brand’s simple bralettes update the '90s classic triangle style with adjustable straps made from a premium Japanese elastic.
With a refreshing color palette of hues such as chartreuse, lilac, and powder blue, and matching high-cut, full-bottomed briefs, the New York-based brand is inspired by “women who are still figuring out life.” Its blog series, In Bed With, and social media accounts showcase female influencers donning its matching sets, such as fashion blogger Reese Blutstein, Glossier’s Editorial Director Eva Alt and stylist Jessica Wu.
The Ugly Girls Club
From: Brighton, UK
In a Nutshell: “Too often women feel too ugly to be at the party, too ugly to raise their hand and too ugly to participate,” reads the manifesto of The Ugly Girls Club, a monthly underwear subscription service, collective, and brand reclaiming ugliness for women.
Started by two feminist artists, the line features a different female artist every month while “surrendering to unrealistic beauty ideals” and praising women for “their ideas, actions, humor, and intelligence before their appearance.”
Its first pair was a collaboration with artist Lois Orchard, which focused on consent and consensual sex-themed panties. Though the subscription aspect of the brand is on hold right now, you can still buy one-offs from their website.
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
In a Nutshell: Boyfriend is female rapper with a namesake women’s underwear brand defining itself as “monthly panties for a cause.” Launched in January 2017, the artist’s first pair featured a boyfriend-inspired brief with a mock period, which raised money for Planned Parenthood.
Launched on Valentine’s Day and titled "The a/s/l?," February’s pair was a collaboration with young female artist Faye Orlove, and “an ode to the lonely chatroom days of the AIM generation on what some call the loneliest holiday of the year.”
A percentage of proceeds went to Junior High, the non-profit community art space founded by Orlove in Los Angeles. March marked the launch of the brand’s Pubic Hair Panty series, with its first installment named the Fire Crotch, which benefits the ACLU.
From: Melbourne, Australia
In a Nutshell: Started by Australian creatives Jarrah Benwell-Clarke and Bianca Cornale, Melbourne’s rising lingerie brand JBC (Just Babes Club) is a body and sex positive label that creates “unique, sexy and comfortable handmade garments in styles that flatter different body types.”
Though it’s not limited to just women, the brand also offers free custom-fitting, and claims that “no matter your shape, race, age, gender, sexuality; you deserve to feel sexy and like a total goddamn babe.” Without padding or underwire, JBC aims to make anyone feel comfortable and sexy.
From: Oakland, California
In a Nutshell: With soft, simple silhouettes in warm, neutral tones, Pansy underwear is a must-own. Based in Oakland, California, the ethically-made, organic cotton label “strive[s] for complete transparency” with cotton grown and milled in North Carolina and elastic made in South Carolina. The underwear is then dyed and sewn in California.
The label is run by Oakland creative Laura Schoorl, who also creates bags and sandals for her studio LS.
From: London, England
In a Nutshell: Lara Intimates has “high standards and a low environmental impact.” Mostly made from reclaimed materials and luxe gold hardware, the line of soft, elevated, sheer basics was started by two former London College of Fashion students.
The brand will officially launch on September 1, but in the meantime, all of the underwear will be available through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign starting May 8.
From: New York, New York
In a Nutshell: After realizing most lingerie brands are run by men, co-founders Marissa Vosper and Lauren Schwab decided to create their “obsessively crafted and accessibly priced” Negative Underwear label. Before launching their brand, they tried on every bra in Manhattan, took night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and traveled to Paris to meet with mills and manufacturers to learn more about the lingerie-making process.
Today, Negative sticks to minimal, elevated basics, steering clear of embellishments or push-up bras.
From: London, England
In a Nutshell: Initially launched on Kickstarter, Neon Moon is a rising underwear brand creating body-positive lingerie for women of all shapes and sizes. The brand believes in full transparency and aims to supply beautiful, well-made lingerie that's affordable and worn by women who look like those who make the line.
Its mission is to be “objectification free, sexualisation free, photoshop free, and sweatshop free.” Instead of sizes XS-L, the brand has created its own size range, including “Lovely, Gorgeous, Beautiful, Fabulous, Stunning.” Plus, each style has its own video showing how it fits and moves with the body.
The Nude Label
From: Valencia, Spain
In a Nutshell: Noticing there was a lack of nice, simple basics in the underwear market, designers and university friends Ana Alemany and Clara Ropero decided to launch The Nude Label. Based in Valencia, Spain, the brand makes soft cotton, minimally designed lingerie that takes “a conceptual approach to the women’s intimate uniform.”
Aiming to enhance one’s natural shape, bras are lightly boned on the sides with the elastic underbust bands and adjustable thin straps that offer wearers support. The brand’s dreamy Instagram account showcases women lounging in underwear along with figurative artwork, and calm and sunny landscapes.
Sara Radin is the Youth Culture Editor at WGSN and the co-founder of It's Not Personal, a growing anthology and collective inspired by the female dating experience. For more up and coming clothing labels for women (and dudes too!) check out our ongoing Under the Radar series.