The Unseen Label - Eco-Friendly Sustainable Underwear

The Unseen Label

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Location

Australia

Made In

Guangdong Province

Values

  • Fair Fair
  • Gender Equality Gender Equality
  • Give Back Give Back
  • Transparent Transparent
  • Vegan Vegan

Earth is the only home we have, so why are we treating it as though we can scoot across to Mars at our earliest convenience? Our skin is our largest organ, and it’s also extremely porous, so why do we allow chemicals to seep in from the clothing we put on top of it? There is no singular universal skin colour, so why are companies still labelling their garments as such?

The Unseen Label, an Australian-based ethical underwear company, has challenged all of these questions in the form of their ethically-crafted, toxin-free, non-discriminatory underwear, and we are 100% here for it. Essentially, The Unseen sends nudes. In eco-friendly packaging. Five different shades, to be exact. After both experimenting with and trialling over 100 “nude” shades, The Unseen has carefully curated a range of five “nude” shades that complement and work with a diverse range of skin tones. Inclusivity? Tick.

A total commitment to environmental responsibility is one of the many things that attracted us to this company. The Unseen’s underwear is made from a GOTS certified organic cotton, bamboo, and elastane blend; they work with OEKO-TEX approved dyes; their goodies are all wrapped up in recycled tissue paper and a non-toxic, biodegradable and compostable bio-cassava poly bag; and their parcels are sent off in either The Unseen’s own waxed-cardboard mailer bag or a compostable Hero Pack mailer bag. 

With such a focus on inclusivity and environmental responsibility, one might think that there would be no time or resources left to even consider the brands’ social responsibility. Well, think again. The Unseen works very closely with their Chinese factory to ensure a firm commitment to their ethics is upheld. The factory, based in the Guangdong Province, aligns completely with The Unseen’s values: they pay above award wages to their employees, and they are committed to ensuring all of their workers are treated fairly and ethically by voluntarily participating in third party audits.

So, do they give back? Do they ever! In true Unseen fashion, The Unseen Label commits 5% of their profits to providing new underwear to some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including people seeking refuge from domestic violence, from homelessness, and from some form of crisis in their personal lives. Through their launch, The Unseen has partnered with youth crisis shelter Bris Youth – to which they have committed to donate 200 pairs of underwear – and they plan to continue giving back as they grow. 

The Unseen’s ethically-made underwear truly is the underwear we all need, and the underwear we all deserve. The non-discriminatory, responsibly-made, refined essentials The Unseen provides to consumers fills a gaping hole in an industry that has been well overdue for a shake up for a long ass time. Pun intended. When supporting The Unseen, you can be sure that you are investing in quality underwear that is as good for the planet as it is for you, and that with every single purchase, you are helping this incredible Aussie brand give back to people in need. 

Want to know where The Unseen Label sits and what they’re working on in terms of these 5 values? Hover over these values to find out.

Behind the Brand

“To begin it was the investment needed to produce my fabric blend, and then dye this across a diverse range of skin tones. So I crowdfunded through pre-orders in 2019 so I could bring it to life, but in that time I watched Kim Kardashian launch her brand in the ‘Nude’ space and I remember feeling so uncomfortable. I had spent so much time, energy and investment trying to source and manufacture ethically, with rounds after rounds of lab dips to get the colour matches right, and I started to question whether The Unseen could really challenge this world of fast fashion, especially in the realm of underwear. ”.

Caitlyn Overell

Caitlyn Overell of The Unseen Label on being seen within the ethical fashion industry.

What made you start The Unseen Label?

I think a wave of disbelief got the better of me. I realised friends, family (and strangers) all shared similar frustrations with the options out there, especially for ‘Nude’ underwear. All with such different skin tones and yet, why was it ok for brands to sell ‘Nude’ underwear that excluded anyone with a skin tone that wasn’t – beige? Huh?! There were less than a handful of brands seeking to rethink ‘Nude’ in the US, and they were mostly using synthetic fabrics that make no sense to wear in our nether regions. So The Unseen began to take form. My checklist was natural and breathable organic fibres that were really comfy and well fitting, and Nude underwear in a wide range of shades for all women.

Do you have a morning routine? If so what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?

If you’d asked me 6 months ago I’d have told you of my morning meditation and coffee to follow, or my morning walk with my dog and podcast fix. But 6 months ago I became a mum, and launched the business, and so my life (and me) resemble none of the above now. I’m still finding my way as a new mum and business owner but these days if I’ve showered, made a smoothie, written my hit list for the day and my boy is smiling – I feel like I’m killing it!

What’s the biggest barrier you’ve found to succeeding as a socially conscious business?

There’s so many. To begin it was the investment needed to produce my fabric blend, and then dye this across a diverse range of skin tones. So I crowdfunded through pre-orders in 2019 so I could bring it to life, but in that time I watched Kim Kardashian launch her brand in the ‘Nude’ space and I remember feeling so uncomfortable. I had spent so much time, energy and investment trying to source and manufacture ethically, with rounds after rounds of lab dips to get the colour matches right, and I started to question whether The Unseen could really challenge this world of fast fashion, especially in the realm of underwear. But I shifted my focus away from those barriers and into what I felt most called to create and ultimately, what I value and believe is the right way to contribute in this world and so here we are. I think business brings endless challenges, so committing to business with a conscience does bring barriers but I believe the rewards, collectively, far outweigh the alternative.

Within the ethical fashion community, there’s a big question that we ask which is ‘who made my clothes?’. In the scope of your The Unseen Label, who made the things you sell? Can you tell us a bit about them?

It is extremely important to me that we work with a team of people that fall in alignment with our values and ethics. I’ve been lucky to work with a small team of amazing women locally through the design, pattern making and grading phases, and then to partner with a small ethically run factory in the Guangdong Province of China to manufacture our underwear.

We have built a wonderful relationship with our production team in China who have continued to work with us to achieve our goals. Our factory has 75 female workers and 80 male, with the youngest worker currently 18 years of age and who are paid above award wages, along with overtime.

It was important to us that we worked with a factory who undergo voluntary BSCI third party audits as this rates and assesses the workplace to ensure social, environmental and safety standards are adhered to.

Why did you pick the fabrics you have chosen to work with?

When I set out to design our range of underwear, using natural fibres was a non-negotiable. It astounds me that synthetic underwear are so regularly worn by women when they’re bacterial breeding grounds that are most often the cause of recurring yeast infections and UTIs. I questioned why we were buying them. They’re lightweight, silky soft and give us that ‘barely there’ feel. So we needed a fabric that hit that mark, but was far more long lasting. We found our match with a lightweight blend of GOTS certified Organic cotton and bamboo. We’ve had such incredible feedback on this fabric because it’s not only super breathable but it’s buttery soft and holds its stretch beautifully. It’s made to be lived in!

To blend the yarn, we work with a fabric mill in China that is certified by the international organic certification body ECOCERT and is an OCS and GOTS certified organic cotton fabric supplier. It guarantees socially responsible working conditions and environmentally friendly production that prohibits the use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals from yarn through to colour dyeing.

Best piece of advice you have ever received?

What you focus on, expands. Change your thoughts and you will change your life.

What’s next for you and The Unseen Label?

Lots on the horizon! We’ve got some exciting collaborations in store, we’re working on new styles and Nudes, designs for cup sizes above DD and we’re currently dabbing in some new fabrics and recycled trims. I also feel it’s super important to commit time to learning more about new innovations in the fashion and sustainability space and working with mentors to set our sights on new goals and directions. But for me – I’m honestly just trying to take it one day at a time and navigate how to be the best mum I can be at the same time.

One book and/or documentary everyone should read/watch? Why?

Glennon Doyle’s novel ‘Untamed’ and David Attenborough’s ‘A Life on Our Planet’.

Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?

Oh, there are too many incredible people and brands shaking up the fashion industry but I really love the work and cause of the women behind Worn for Good. They’re finding their solution to the fashion industry’s waste through supporting a circular economy, and giving back to charities at the same time. They’re definitely fitting the mould of a mover & shaker!

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