Published on December 9th, 2013 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg1
Ethical Underwear, Straight to Your Door: the Quarterly Underwear Club
My idea of the worst business concept ever: a “Victoria’s Secret” for men. Very simply, guys don’t want to shop for underwear, and will wait until every last pair they own is threadbare until they go out for new skivvies (or wait for the significant other to get fed up and makes the trip to the store). The concept of a new pair of underwear just showing up in the mail is pretty much ideal for most of us.
That’s exactly how Dada Underwear‘s planned Quarterly Underwear Club works: subscribe, and a new pair of shorts arrives on a regular basis. While most male readers may already be sold, a few of you might want to know if 1) they’re comfortable, and 2) they meet your standards for sustainability. The company’s video for its Kickstarter campaign provides the short answers to those questions:
OK, sure, any company making apparel’s going to claim it’s comfortable, right? Dada sent me a free pair of their trunk style underwear for review, so I can back them up on this claim: they’re really comfortable. Without getting too detailed, I’ll say that I hardly noticed them, which is the ultimate sign of comfort.
Sustainability is always a tougher question in the fashion arena: from materials to sourcing to manufacturing, there’s a lot to take into account. Most of us concerned with sustainability also want to know that we’re purchasing a product that wasn’t made in lousy working conditions. Dada’s underwear is made largely from bamboo, which, on the surface, is a point in its favor: this fast-growing grass is certainly renewable. At the same time, sourcing and processing practices are critical element of bamboo fabric sustainability; some say that “sustainable bamboo fabric” just isn’t possible. I don’t know that for certain; I’d definitely like the company to provide a bit more information on its sourcing of the material. In addition to bamboo, the underwear I received contains organic cotton and a little Spandex. Dada’s also experimenting with fabrics made from materials ranging from seaweed to coffee grounds.
In terms of manufacturing, Dada’s clearly done their homework. Yes, they manufacture in the developing world, but they chose a factory in Sri Lanka, which, from my own little bit of research, looks pretty good: the national industry’s Garments without Guilt program (which has certified Dada’s products) looks legitimate. The factory’s also received ISO 9001 accreditation, pays its workers a living wage, and provides meal and transportation free of charge.
Perfect? No… but pretty good in terms of sustainability and ethics. And they’re making a good product, which means a lot in this space. If you’d like to get underwear delivered – no more shopping for it ever – check out their Kickstarter campaign, which is pre-selling club memberships. If you decide to give it a try, let us know what you think.
Image credit: Dada Underwear