Ethical Undies Month: An Interview with Basal Underwear
It’s ethical undies month ladies and Flor & Cesta is bringing you a carefully curated list of brands to help you build an undies drawer that you can be proud of. I’ll be reviewing everything from your everyday basics to those sexy sets that will make you feel both proud of your conscious purchase and your ability to rock your inner sex goddess.
Each week I’ll feature a different brand on the blog, some come from just around the corner in East London, others from further afield. This week we’re featuring inspirational brand Basal, the brainchild of US based apparel designer Kelli Woo.
I came across Basal a few months ago and immediately fell in love with the brands simple design and attention to the full product cycle. Basal’s mission is simple; be kind to each other, the environment and ourselves.
All Basal’s undies are made in LA using fabrics and elastic from an LA mill, where it is dyed using a non-toxic process that isn't harmful to our skin or our environment. Each style is cut and sewn in family owned factories that have been operating in Orange County, CA for over 20 years. The intimate relationship Kelli maintains with her manufacturers allow Basal to produce small quantities and retrieve any scrap fabric so nothing is wasted.
For Ethical Undies month I’ve have been trialling the Violet undie, the Maryann thong and the Lola Triangle bra. And the verdict is a MASSIVE thumbs up. Made from soft, stretchy, organic cotton these undies are breathable, invisible under clothes and the perfect choice to take you from a morning yoga class to the office.
After years of wearing underwired, synthetically made bras from high street stores Basal’s Lola Triangle bra is a dream come true. It’s so comfortable you just don’t know you’ve got it on. I think my boobs are the happiest they’ve been in possibly forever! I no longer come home and feel the need to rip my bra off before I do anything else.
If you’re not a big pant girl (which I’m not) then stick to the Maryann thong, as the Violet undie is a full pant. A full pant that would make my mother proud. When I was younger and living at home I used to catch her taking my underwear off the washing line muttering ‘what’s the point in these’! HA Although I share many a trait with my Mum, our knicker choice is definitely not one of them. But if you follow in my mother’s footsteps and you’re a full pant girl the Violet undie is a great choice as it shows no lines. Trust me, I tried it out in my tightest dress!
The boyfriend also approved. Although Basal’s range is not going to get the heart racing and is probably not going to be your go to choice for a sexy night in the design of this collection is simple yet stylish. An all purpose, easy throw on, everyday choice.
As part of the Basal review, I spoke to Kelli to get her take on the fast fashion industry and to find out what’s next for Basal. Read the full interview below.
Or if you can’t wait to get your hands on these super comfy, do good undies head straight to Basal’s site to shop full collection with 20% off using the code FLOR&CESTA.
Tell me a bit about you
My name is Kelli Woo and I’ve been an Apparel Designer for the last few years, specialising in loungewear and swimwear. I was born in Huntington Beach, California and now live right outside Los Angeles. I love to sew and have been making my own clothes and swimsuits since I was little. Natural Dyeing fabric is something I’ve been dabbling with recently and find it so satisfying to use what nature has to offer to create something so beautiful and one-of-a-kind. I also love doing yoga and hanging with my pup!
What was the inspiration for Basal Underwear?
After a couple years in the fashion industry, I realised how harmful clothing production is to the environment. Tons of pollution is caused from fabrics and samples being shipped daily from the factories and the dyeing practices used on a lot of clothing is very harmful to habitats, the people making them, and ultimately us who are wearing them. I also strongly disagree with exploiting the factory workers who receive near-to-nothing wages while the brand takes home very large profit margins. Basal prices are quite low because, before starting the brand, I found that if I wanted to buy something ethically and domestically made, I would have to pay much more for it, which I always thought was unfair. Ethically made, well-made, sustainable products should become the norm and consumers should be able to afford products they believe in.
What are your plans for Basal and how do you plan to remain ethically conscious as you grow the brand?
I would love to begin offering naturally dyed pieces that can be produced on an even smaller, slower scale. I also have plans to offer a recycling programme for worn out undies, offer styles in other natural and recycled fabrics, and eventually produce apparel along with underwear. I currently sell through my own retail website only and production occurs close to my home. All the fabric and elastic comes from production mills that are just miles from my home. None of these practices would change as the brand grows because they’re the reasons I believe in Basal.
What is your take on the fast fashion industry?
Consumers are overwhelmed with trends and constantly trying to keep up; often wearing something once and throwing it away. Many inexpensive, fast fashion clothing is now made of synthetic fabrics that will never break down naturally. The negative impact this has on the environment absolutely pains me. I believe that less is more when it comes to material items. Clothing should always be comfortable and an expression of who you are and what you believe in, not who you want to look like at the moment.
If you could say one thing to all the CEO's of fast fashion retail brands what would it be?
Our environment is at a very pivotal point and if you’d like to keep Earth liveable for your grandchildren, the way clothing is made needs to change. If not for Earth, then at least do it for the sales because the consumer's mind-set and expectations of a brand are changing. We are in a world of endless options and over-stimulation. This means people expect transparency and a really good reason to buy anything from a brand.
What an inspiration! Thank you so much Kelli for talking to Flor & Cesta. Get your hands on Basal’s ethical undies with 20% off here using the code FLOR&CESTA.
*Please note the product reviewed in this article was kindly sent to me free of cost by Basal Underwear.