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“When I learned that hemp is the world’s most sustainable fabric, I knew I wanted to have a clothing line implementing this material. When I learned about all of the amazing benefits hemp has as a fabric like being super breathable, naturally anti-bacterial and comfortable, I quickly realised the best application for hemp fabric would be underwear.” – Shakib Nassiri, Owner of WAMA Underwear.
WAMA Underwear is a sustainable intimates company based in the United States using hemp to ethically produce women’s and men’s underwear. WAMA Underwear is driven to not only provide a high quality, functional and comfortable product, but also to make a lasting positive impact on an industry that is well overdue for a change.
Ethical and Transparent Production
“Transparency is super important to our brand, which is why I went to the biggest hemp yarn supplier in Shanxi, China and visited Qingdao, China as well to visit with hemp fabric suppliers,” Shakib says of the factories that produce the WAMA hemp underwear. “While I was able to directly see how the hemp in Chinese manufacturing is handled, I also saw first hand that ethical processes were instilled in the factories. In addition, WAMA has a permanent team member based in China to oversee everything. By ensuring our presence overseas, our company can audit our factories easier and have better communication with our partners.”
WAMA Underwear believes in the power of ethical and transparent production, which is why they’re completely open about their decision to manufacture in China. As the world leader in hemp textiles, China is the choice for many sustainable brands including Patagonia and Stella McCartney due to the high quality of hemp produced there. Additionally, most of the crops are grown on small family-run organic farms, and WAMA Underwear has built strong and transparent relationships with their suppliers.
What’s more is that all of WAMA Underwear’s suppliers adhere to the Supplier Code of Conduct, which includes: safe and healthy working conditions; no harassment, abuse or discrimination; ethical business behaviour; no forced or underage labor; decent working hours; protection of the environment; and payment of fair wages.
Organic Hemp Fabric and Sustainable Processes
“As we were studying hemp textiles we learned that hemp fabric has many benefits like being naturally antibacterial, super soft and breathable. Hemp also uses less water to grow than any other conventional crop, it enriches the soil it was grown on and is such an incredibly strong fibre. We quickly realised that the best application for hemp fabric would be hemp underwear and that’s how WAMA was born.”
All of the WAMA Underwear products, from the women’s bralettes to the men’s briefs, are made from a sustainable and organic hemp fabric that is free from pesticides, herbicides and other harmful chemicals. As a fabric, hemp is naturally antibacterial with anti-odour properties; is comfortable, breathable and gets softer with every wash; and is one of the world’s most sustainable materials. In fact, WAMA Underwear’s hemp and organic cotton fabrics use only about 3% the water conventional cotton uses.
WAMA Underwear is also a Green America Certified Business and a PETA-Approved Vegan brand, and their eco-friendly hemp fabric is dyed in an OEKO-TEX certified facility, and the packaging they send their hemp undies and bralettes in includes custom boxes made from 100% recycled materials, recycled poly mailers and naturally biodegradable tissue paper
Now, the team at WAMA Underwear is on a mission to pioneer the hemp industry by making the best organic hemp undies in the world, as well as to constantly improve their fit, function and design. They also have a rigorous and lengthy design process to ensure people fall in love with hemp on their first wear.
We sure did.
Want to know where Wama Underwear sits and what they’re working on in terms of these 5 values? Hover over these values to find out.
Hemp as a fabric has a multitude of benefits in comparison to conventional fabrics used throughout the industry. Hemp uses less water than any other crop, and it's naturally resistant to most insects and disease, eliminating the need for any chemicals, pesticides or herbicides in the farming process. Hemp plays a large role in biodiversity as it is a valuable pollen source between July and September, a season that foraging bees struggle to find pollen from other popular sources. Our packaging is recyclable and provides instructions on how to re-use for returns and exchanges. We also track drinking water and LED bulb energy saved on our website on the product page for each underwear and bra style that we sell.
Social and environmental performance of the factory where our apparel is made is a large part of our decision making. We have been fortunate to find a supplier who takes our orders seriously, as it was difficult to find someone to take on our orders as a small business. If there is anything specific that we want to implement in order to increase our social and environmental responsibilities, they will work with us on them. Our factory also has their own third party evaluation once a year (BSCI report) and they send us an email about the results and if there is need for improvement. We saw some great feedback from our supplier on their report this year such as fair working conditions, and what I really liked was that workers all understand their rights, so if something comes up that a worker may see as unjust, they have room to approach management without punishment. The factory also had obtained the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report, EIA approval and EPCA (Environment Protection Checking Acceptance) . The report also lists that no industrial waste water was discharged from production process.
We currently have a resource for our customers to give second life to their underwear. It's not an official "closed loop" process, but it is our way to educate consumers on what to do with the underwear they are no longer wearing.
We do plan on working on a Give Back program but we've not been able to find one yet that suits our goals. As we research this process, we're also looking to implement a "Plant a Tree" program where we will plant a tree for each purchase.
We believe in partnering with factories that improve their employees lives with fair wages and quality working environments. Traceability with our factories is key, therefore, we have a WAMA team member based out of China to oversee everything. This way we can audit our factories easier and have better communication. Deadstock fabric is not something we will work with because we have found the perfect blend of hemp and organic cotton that cannot be found anywhere else, and so it would not work for our business model.