At 1 June 2020 there is a happy update to this story. We have now developed a new H&E piece made fully in OekoTex cotton and metals, so all bras from the new delivery of Vintage Peach in August 2020 with be 100% compostable.
I started The Very Good Bra in 2017 with the dream of creating a bra that used zero single use plastic. It was a big endeavour, bras can come in hundreds of different sizes and the fabric, elastic, thread and the hooks and eyes are commonly made of polyester. But I was determined. As I worked on the production process, people suggested I cut corners or design for disassembly. But I always refused. I wanted this bra to be perfect.
I was relentless. In 2018 when I discovered our organic hooks and eyes were about to be sewn with polyester thread, I halted production until I was able to a get botanically sourced alternative to the factory.
We even tested the bra at a worm farm, and were delighted to see the entire bra was eaten in just eight weeks.
Recently, I was sent an unfinished sample of the hook and eye piece we use in our bras. Because it was unfinished, I was able to interrogate it more fully. And that’s when I saw it. A small piece of white stitched inside the organic cotton. Further investigation with the French maker proved it to be a polypropylene stabiliser - so standard for them they didn't think to mention it, but not for me.
I was horrified. I felt betrayed and I didn’t know what to do. I considered shutting down and giving up.
But sustainable consumption is a huge challenge, and after much soul-searching, I realised it is going to take the continued push back of designers like me and passionate customers like you to achieve lasting change. Regardless, I ask you to accept my sincerest apologies. You purchased in good faith and I am devastated by this mistake. I am still searching for answers from the factory I was working with as to why they were not upfront with me back in 2018.
So, what’s next?
I am still passionate about sustainability and botanical circularity, and I am confident that it can be done. The hook and eye is just one small piece of a Very Good Bra with otherwise Very Good Compostability...and this piece can and will be replaced. I’m in the process of sourcing a replacement hook and eye product. I am looking at new partners to work with this year whilst also working with my French supplier to trial alternative eco-materials.
If you have bought a bra in the last few years, please be aware that the hook and eye piece is not 100% compostable. If you plan to compost or worm farm any bras purchased from us to date, please remove the hook and eye pieces in advance. Otherwise, the thin strip of polypropylene can be removed and binned after the garment has deteriorated in compost. You can find out more about how to compost the bras here.
Meanwhile, I still have 2000 pieces of my most recent production left. I’ve made the decision not to waste the precious resources and carbon footprint that have already gone into their manufacture. They are still Very Good Bras, although I will make it clear on each product using the old stock that the hooks and eyes will need to be removed prior to composting.
Thank you for your support and patience on this journey. Changing complex global supply chains is not an easy or fast process. But it's an important one of we're to reduce our waste and our footprint. I intend to persevere, and I will keep you updated on my progress (and my setbacks) as this work continues.