Y.O.U Underwear - an Inspiring plant-based Undies Story!
#ProjectPlantBase is honoured to introduce Y.O.U Underwear – a brand that we applaud for elevating their founder’s inspirations to a meaningful humanitarian involvement, through the design and creation of its 100% plant-based and vegan underwear ranges.
Y.O.U Underwear is an award-winning sustainable fashion brand that makes soft, stylish, organic cotton underwear for men, women and girls. It sells sustainably and ethically sourced products on a giving back model, allowing customers to make a difference through their purchases and support, and contributes to the wider community. The purpose of the company is to run a business in an environmentally and socially responsible way, creating positive social and environmental impact through selling sustainably-sourced organic products and supporting disadvantaged groups, focusing primarily on the education, empowerment and wellbeing of women and children in Africa, India and the UK.
Sarah Jordan was inspired to start Y.O.U Underwear in 2016 after a trip to Uganda where she witnessed first-hand the problems associated with not having underwear. In some communities, it is estimated that 1 in 10 girls miss school on their periods due to a lack of underwear and sanitary products – up to 12 weeks a year! Instead of getting her knickers in a twist about it, Sarah founded Y.O.U Underwear on a buy-one-give-two model with the charity Smalls for All. In 2020, the business donated 11,634 pairs of underwear, helping to positively impact the lives of thousands of vulnerable women and children in Africa and the UK.
Y.O.U Underwear is also committed to being a business for good more broadly, which is why all their underwear is Fairtrade, PETA-approved vegan and made from 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton. Conventional cotton is one of the world’s most polluting – and thirstiest! – crops, with its production relying heavily on the exploitation of people and natural resources. Not only does it use vast amounts of water and pesticides, but it’s also linked to human rights violations across the globe. According to the UN, up to 200,000 deaths, each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries. There are no such risks associated with organic cotton. In 2018 more than 60,000 Indian cotton farmers committed suicide due to spiralling debt caused by the reliance on genetically modified seeds, fertilisers and insecticides (equivalent to 1 death every 30 minutes).
Sarah, therefore, decided that Y.O.U Underwear had to be made from only 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton. Across 2020, Y.O.U Underwear saved over 400,000 litres of water by using organic rather than conventional cotton. Organic cotton is also less energy-intensive than conventional cotton, causes less soil and water pollution, and releases less CO2. By using organic cotton instead, Y.O.U Underwear avoided emissions equivalent to driving over 400 miles in an average passenger car.
Y.O.U Underwear also works with India’s leading ethical and sustainable manufacturer to produce their underwear. The factory employs over 1000 workers over 3 factories and operates under SA8000 certified social standards. In addition to the basics – such as no child labour and working hours/minimum wage compliance – this means that the factory provides things like overtime compensation, incentives and Freedom of Association for all its workers. They’ve also got several extra initiatives of their own, providing transport, meals and health planning for workers, as well as funding for their children’s education.
With their sustainable business model, Y.O.U Underwear is also trying to cut out single-use plastic and minimise its waste and impact. They package their underwear in reusable organic cotton bags and their outer packaging is biodegradable. Whenever they do use plastic, they make sure it’s recycled and recyclable.
Four out of five women have low self-esteem when it comes to their bodies. This is why all Y.O.U underwear is designed to be comfortable and stylish across a broad range of body sizes and shapes, and why they use a diverse range of people in our photoshoots and never airbrush their images. Y.O.U Underwear actively promotes body positivity through brand imagery and marketing strategies, and they’ve even hidden inspirational messages inside their undies to remind you that You Make A Difference!
Sarah has won numerous awards for her work with Y.O.U Underwear, including Barclay's Women in Business Role Model of the Year 2019. Last year the business was named as one of Small Business Saturday’s SmallBiz100, and Sarah was recently recognised by Small Business Britain’s f: Entrepreneur #ialso100 2021 as one of 100 female entrepreneurs making a powerful contribution to society, the economy and communities.
Sarah recently launched an exciting collaboration with a Kenyan designer. Y.O.U Underwear’s new KikoRomeo Collection brings exciting African-inspired prints to its men's and women's ranges. For every purchase, Y.O.U Underwear will provide a pair of underwear to girls in the Maasai communities of Oloishobor and Olorgesailie, as well as supporting the work of the Ajuma Foundation in Kenya. Y.O.U Underwear also launched a new product range exclusively for teenagers and young girls in early December 2020.
Alongside her work with Y.O.U Underwear, Sarah leads a positive change agency called BOLD that helps women to achieve success in all areas of their lives. She’s also a trustee of the BEAM Foundation, a charity and crowdfunding platform that supports homeless people by getting them into employment and training. During the first lockdown, the BEAM team extended their work to provide emergency resources to people who were homeless and vulnerable due to the coronavirus pandemic. Y.O.U Underwear also worked with local homeless charities in Oxford to help them provide underwear and other essential supplies to people in need.
For more information about this inspiring indie brand of undies, and to help make a difference, please visit https://www.youunderwear.com , and be sure to follow them on Social Media for updates:https://www.facebook.com/YOUunderwearUK