Taking a closer look at the materials that make up our lingerie.
A few months ago, we released our Conscious Criteria to highlight the ways in which the brands we showcase on our platform produce lingerie in line with important sustainability standards. Since material innovation is key to the future of sustainable lingerie production and clothing production in general, we thought it was vital to delve a bit deeper into the material classifications and certifications that compose our Conscious Criteria. This article is intended to be used as an index, so please feel free to dive in and out as you browse our lingerie.
As part of our Conscious Criteria, we divided the materials into three classifications: recycled materials, organic materials and sustainable materials. Below you will find a more detailed description of each classification, as well as of, the materials and certifications that apply to each.
Recycled materials are constructed from components that would ordinarily be considered waste. At the Lingerist we regard fabrics as recycled when they contain at least 30% pre- or post-consumer waste, with the exception of cotton which we consider to be recycled when it contains 20% recycled yarns.
When classifying materials, we must also consider the official certifications that ensure producers continue to meet the highest standards of production.
Certifications for recycled materials
Global Recycle Standard (GRS)
The Global Recycle Standard was originally developed by Control Union Certifications in 2008, it seeks to provide consumers with a tool to make informed decisions about the clothes they are buying, by aligning recycled definitions across multiple applications and verifying the recycled content of individual items. The GRS supports reducing the harmful impact of production and provides assurance that products are processed more sustainably by requiring a high percentage of recycled content in the materials they certify.
Cradle to Cradle (C2C)
Cradle to Cradle Certified is a recognised measure for sustainable products, it establishes standard requirements for the materials through a stakeholder engagement process requiring consultation with technical experts, market leaders and consumers. To receive certification products are assessed for their environmental and social performance across five sustainability categories including material health, material reuse, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness. Under the Cradle-to-Cradle certification each product is assigned an achievement level for each category, encouraging continuous improvement from the material suppliers.
Recycled Claim Standard (RCS)
The Recycled Claim standard along with the Global Recycled Standard aims to increase the use of recycled materials in clothing production. Both pre- and post- consumer materials are verified to meet the ISO definition of recycled. This certification ensures that the identity of the recycled material is maintained from the recycler to the final product and a third-party certification body audits each stage of the supply chain.
Our recycled materials
Econyl is an innovative nylon yarn created from discarded fishnets and textile scraps. As a regenerated nylon material, it diverts waste from landfills and water ways. The Econyl production process begins with the collection of leftover material waste from various production cycles as well as debris from the oceans. The waste is then processed through a complex regenerative process, which requires the nylon waste to be melted down to its basic units. The nylon fibre is then rebuilt with the exact same purity and performance as virgin nylon but in this way without the use of raw fossil materials. Econyl retains the material properties of virgin nylon whilst eliminating the use of crude oil, reducing CO2 emissions and helping to eliminate waste materials from the oceans and surroundings.
Q-Nova is created via a regenerative system utilising pre-consumption waste to produce a lightweight fabric similar to cotton or polyester but without the same environmentally detrimental impact of producing such fabrics.
Roica Eco - Smart
Roica Eco-Smart is a grouping of two recycled materials produced from pre consumer waste. The first, RoicaTMEF is the only Global Recycled Standard certified elastane, and the other RoicaTMV550, whilst also being a stretch yarn is fully biodegradable in microbiologically active soil, meaning that lingerie created from this yarn can have a fully circular life cycle. Therefore, these two Roica materials ensure the lingerie produced from it, is both comfortable and contributing to a more circular cycle of production.
Recycled Polyester is often made from waste PET bottles. In order to produce recycled polyester, the waste PET bottles are sterilised, dried and crushed into small chips. These small PET chips are then passed through a spinneret to form recycled polyester yarn. The process of producing Recycled Polyester takes between 33-53% less energy than virgin polyester. Using recycled PET bottles in the production process also reduces the amount of waste going to landfill and what is more the recycled polyester yarn can be used over and over again without losing its quality.
Recycled Cotton is made from repurposed production scraps and retired textiles. The advantage of using such a recycled material is that it offsets the production of any virgin cotton material by restoring the utility of fabric already in circulation.
Organic materials are those produced via organic agriculture. At the Lingerist we consider organic materials to be those with at least 70% of their fibres coming from certified organic farming.
Certifications for organic materials
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the leading processing standard for organic materials. A textile product carrying the GOTS label must be composed of a minimum of 70% certified organic fibres. These organic fibres are natural fibres which are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or GMO’s. GOTS certification also evaluates the manufacturing and processing of textiles with regard to both environmental and social criteria. Inspections and certifications at every stage of the production cycle are performed by independent third-party GOTS accredited bodies.
Organic Content Standard (OCS)
The Organic content Standard is a voluntary standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of organic products. Only material from certified organic farms under IFOAM’s family of standards is accepted to the OCS. OCS certification ensures the identity of the organic content is maintained from the farm to the final product whilst maintaining input of those at all levels of the supply chain.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Forest Stewardship Council certification ensures that FSC-certified material has been identified and separated from non-certified material as it travels through the supply chain, under FSC certification only products coming from environmentally and socially responsible sources to access the market.
Responsible Wool Standard (RWS)
The Responsible Wool Standard considers the welfare of sheep and the land on which they graze, giving the industry a tool to recognise the best practices for farmers. This ensures the wool used in the construction of garments comes from farms that have a progressive approach to managing their land, and that also follow the five freedoms of animal welfare.
EcoCert is a certification body that implements GOTS certification standards meaning that an organic material labelled with this certification contains a minimum of 95% fibres coming from organic agriculture.
World Fair Trade Organization
The World Fair Trade Organisation carries out verification that enterprises certified Fair Trade put people and the planet first. Ensuring that each company complies with the 10 principles of fair trade. These 10 principles look at opportunities for disadvantaged producers, transparency, fair trade practices, fair payment, no child labour, no discrimination, good working conditions, capacity building, promotion of fair trade and respect for the environment.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved (AGW)
Certified Animal Welfare Approved is an independent non-profit farm certification program. This certification ensures that the animals whose products are used in the production of materials for clothing production, are raised outdoors for their entire life on an independent farm using high-welfare farming practices. AGW auditors visit every farm in the program at least once a year to verify they are complying with standards.
Our organic materials
Organic cotton is cotton grown without the use of synthetic chemicals. It is grown using methods and materials that have a lower impact on the environment, however the production of organic cotton still requires a large volume of water over the course of cleaning and processing.
Organic Peace Silk
Organic Peace Silk is harvested after the silkworms emerge from the cocoon, meaning that they aren’t boiled alive as is normally the case in the production of Mulberry silk. With the production of Peace silk, since the silkworm has already made a hole in the cocoon, the resulting silk threads are much shorter than with Mulberry silk, meaning they must be spun together into longer threads for use in clothing production. With peace silk the yield is lower per cocoon but the resulting spun yarn is much softer and stronger than Mulberry silk, giving it linen like qualities.
Organic linen is grown without synthetic pesticides, in a way that is healthier for wildlife, farmers and surrounding communities. What is more the flax from which linen is produced is zero waste, with the linseed either being used for the next flax season or as a food source for plants and animals. The shives which also compose the flax can even be used in animal bedding, and the remaining fibres in the paper or clothing industry.
Organic Bamboo (excl. Bamboo Viscose)
Bamboo is a naturally very sustainable resource as it is 100% biodegradable and is naturally regenerative. Organic Bamboo is spun into yarns without any chemical modification. This is achieved by crushing the bamboo plant and using natural enzymes to break the bamboo walls into a pulp so that the natural fibres can be mechanically combed and spun into a yarn.
Organic + Ethical Wool
Organic wool is the ethical and sustainable alternative to traditional wool production. In the production of organic wool, chemicals are carefully restricted at both the agricultural and fibre processing stage. This increases the environmental safety of wool production by limiting the number of toxic residues running off into water systems. Furthermore, organic wool, comes from sheep raised on organic farms where their wellbeing is the main focus. With food, shelter and transport all carefully considered to minimise discomfort. Alongside this, the reduced use of chemicals in production also reduces the likelihood of skin irritation caused by the harsh chemicals.
We consider sustainable materials to be those that are neither organic, nor recycled, yet have a minimal impact on the environment. Textile designers and researchers around the world develop an amazingly huge range of new technologies every year to create new (semi-synthetic) fabrics that are sustainable.
Those innovative semi-synthetic materials used in our lingerie as well as their associated certifications are described in greater detail below.
Certifications for sustainable materials
Oeko Tex 100
The Oeko Tex Standard 100 label indicates that every component of the clothing garment has been tested for harmful substances. The tests are conducted by independent partner institutes on the basis of extensive criteria. They take into account multiple regulated and non-regulated substances that can be harmful to human health. This means that any item of clothing with the Oeko-Tex label is completely harmless to human health.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Forest Stewardship Council certification ensures that FSC-certified material has been identified and separated from non-certified material as it travels through the supply chain, under FSC certification only products coming from environmentally and socially responsible sources access the market.
Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)
Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production ensures that production facilities operate in a safe and ethical way. Their 12 principles assert that production facilities are abiding by lawful and humane production. Any WRAP certified facility has been inspected by an independent auditor and is subject to further unannounced follow-up inspections.
Our sustainable materials
Lyocell is a semi-synthetic fabric composed primarily of cellulose and is commonly used as a substitute for cotton or silk. Lyocell is a very strong fabric when both wet and dry and is more resistant to piling than cotton. Lyocell is produced from Harwood that is broken down first into chips and then into pulp. The pulp is then washed and dried before being rolled into spools. The spools are then broken down into squares in pressurised and heated vats. The resulting dissolved cellulose is then forced through spinnerets and turned into long thin fibres. The long thin fibres are washed, dried and carded before being transformed into a variety of different garments.
Modal is a semi-synthetic fabric made from beech tree pulp that is commonly used in the production of lingerie. Modal fabric is made by spinning reconstituted beech tree cellulose. Even though modal is plant derived, over the course of production the beech tree cellulose is soaked in chemicals like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfate which leads to the classification of modal as semi-synthetic.
Eco Vero is an environmentally friendly viscose fabric produced from semi-synthetic polymers. It is an extremely soft material with a luxurious appearance. Eco Vero is produced from cellulose extracted from plants or wood; it is a modified version of viscose with a lower environmental impact. A huge advantage of Eco Vero besides its breathability is that it can naturally degrade within three months of disposal.
S.Cafe is an innovative material made from a combination of used coffee grounds and polyester. The coffee grounds are combined with the polyester yarn surface, changing the characteristics of the filament allowing for it to be fast drying as well as providing odour control and UV protection. S.Cafe offers such unique properties due to the coffee grounds across its surface that gain such assets when roasted.