From the New York Times -- story by Eric Wilson:
Many men will recognize their underwear as the most environmentally
friendly piece of clothing they own, given their proclivity, as Jerry
Seinfeld once noted, to wear it until it disintegrates.
But men must ask themselves if
their underwear is doing enough to save the world. This is where the
ecofriendly trend gets really intimate. A new collection of briefs and
T-shirts made from soybean fabric will be offered in the United States
this fall by 2(x)ist. Briefs start at $19.50.
designers have already made use of a variety of alternative fabrics
made from bamboo, corn and hemp, and Spiegel sold a soy fiber dress
through its catalogs last year. But soy underwear is a whole other can
"The whole world seems to be going soy," said Jason
Scarlatti, the design director for 2(x)ist. "Look at soy milk and soy
lattes. We wanted to be on the pulse on what's going on."
attributes of the soy fabric, as claimed by the company, do sound
marvelous: it is said to absorb 99.7 percent of ultraviolet rays, to be
resistant to E .coli bacteria and to be packed with amino acids that
complement those of humans. But sunblocking underwear is of
questionable import to the broader public, except perhaps for Madonna.
unclear what the advantage is," said Roy Cantrell, a vice president of
Cotton Incorporated, an industry group. The cotton fibers used to make
fabric, Mr. Cantrell said, come directly from the plant, whereas soy
fibers are chemically manufactured.
On the other hand, soy cultivation does not require the hazardous pesticides used in conventional cotton farming.
appealingly, the 2(x)ist soy underwear is slinkily soft and nicely
styled. One caveat, Mr. Scarlatti noted, is that in its natural state
the fabric is a less than alluring shade of ivory. "It didn't look good
as underwear," he said. "So we went with a lighter shade of heather
gray, blue and black."
And no, they are not edible.