(This is not Barcelona-specific, but they do mail order)
I am obsessed with underwear. I do mean my own. Pretty, frilly, lacy, brightly coloured – I love it all. Few are the days when – if run over – I would not be found, haemorraging gently into the road, in a matching ensemble. Greying, saggy-of-elastic pants are for me a shudder-worthy thing of horror.
When in department stores I have to avoid the lingerie department for fear of getting stuck there, distracted, for hours.
It’s borderline pathological.
I once spent the equivalent of a weekend city break for two on a 3-piece red silk set from a well-known purveyor of pervy pants for ladies.
You’re getting the picture.
Such is my fascination with all things silk, satin and lace that unlike with other shopping choices in my life, I have a bit of a blind spot for provenance. BUT NO MORE!
I recently visited an old friend (as in, we’ve known each other for a long time. She’s the same age as me, so not actually OLD. Obviously.) who I hadn’t seen for ages and who had rather fabulously (Hi Mags!) kept all the birthday and xmas presents she’d got me from all the occasions since we had last seen each other, so I had a present-fest. It was great.
Said friend has an interest in co-operatives that is both personal and through her work; it was in the course of the latter that she came across this amazing company Who Made Your Pants?.
Who Made Your Pants uses ‘upcycled‘ end-of-line fabric bought from large manufacturers – fabric that would otherwise become waste. They have a small workshop in southern England where their team of makers creates their pretty lacy knickers, and they are a workers’ collective, self-sustaining and providing both work and training for women who have been in difficult circumstances.
If you’ve never really thought about where your underwear came from or how it was made, maybe now is the time to start. Go, on – check!
*pauses to check where today’s purple satin and cream lace ensemble was manufactured…
…realises that checking the label of your underwear is actually quite tricky while you are still wearing it…
Ah – there we go. Marks and Spencers finest and MADE IN CHINA! ARGH! So these items were probably made in a sweatshop or as near as dammit, then heavy fuel oil was expended bringing them over from China in a container on a massive ship, which produces I-don’t-know-what Carbon Footprint, for them to sit in an air-conditioned warehouse then an air-conditioned shop just so I could have the convenience of walking in and buying them. Not good.
If the environmental argument doesn’t convince you, then consider this: every time you buy an item – be it clothing, furniture (hello IKEA!), scented candles from the 1 euro shop or whatever – that has been made cheaply overseas:
YOU ARE TAKING A JOB FROM A PERSON IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY!
Additionally, insisting on buying cheap imported items takes business away from artesans – the cabinetmakers, the tailors, the artesanal candle makers etc. Eventually they either go out of business or end up so specialised that they can only charge extortionate rates for their products. That’s bad for all of us – it leaves us then with no other option but the cheap imported goods, even when we actually want something of quality.
I’ve said a number of times that I’d rather pay more to buy one item that lasted for 10 years than less for 10 items that each lasted for 1 year, and I would like to have the option to do so, reducing waste and supporting local businesses (and thus the local economy) where possible while I’m at it. If you’re interested in doing the same, here’s a great place to start: at the bottom. (hur hur)
I highly recommend you check out the link above to the WMYP website which has more intelligent things to say about sustainable manufacturing than I can squeeze in here, but in the meantime what about the fundament-(hur hur)-al question: How are the pants?
Well, they are pretty, comfortable, and don’t give you a VPL. What more could you possibly want? To have them ethically made on the same continent, perhaps? Very well:
Lacy and with a little bow, you say? That can be arranged:
And for them to be a snug, line-free fit? Let’s see now:
From a customer service perspective, they they got back to me promptly (although not over the weekend) about a query I had regarding postage and packing, and the delivery service was pretty speedy.
They are *not* cheap (although a fraction of the price of knickers from the WKPofPPtoL), but bearing in mind everything above and on their website about the ‘real cost’ and impact of ‘cheap’ clothing, if you can afford them then go for it. Guess what all my female friends will be getting for their birthdays for the next year? (Spoiler alert!).
As an extra-nice touch, you really can find out Who Made Your Pants. Each pair comes with a little label attached that is date-stamped you can go to the website and see who was working on that day. Sweet!
So – no more cheap frills for me. Hopefully not for you, either.