Today I have a different bit of underwear news for you. It's not strictly men's underwear related, but it is so heartwarming that I thought I should share it anyway. Becky John, sick of the fact that sweatshop produced undies is all one can get these days, decided to open a more ethical underwear-making company, called Whomadeyourpants? This innovative underwear factory opened its doors in December of last year. The factory currently employs 11 workers and around nine trainees. All these women are either refugees, or otherwise marginalized and therefore unable to get proper, full-time jobs in the UK. Because when Becky founded the collective she also wanted to provide work for women, who for one reason or another, were not able to get work elsewhere. In addition to giving them work, Becky also offers English lessons and organizes social events for her employees. This gives the women, refugees from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Sudan, a chance to get out of the house, as well as make a real contribution to the world.
Their first collection, called Jasmine, was a bit too intricate to really be profitable. However, since then an underwear industry insider has provided the company with some simpler designs, which will allow them to sell at a profit. They have also recently won a hefty 60,000 British Pounds grant from the John Paul Getty JR charity fund, which will be paid out over three years. With this contribution Becky is certain that the business will take off, and become self-sustaining by 2013. They currently sell their creations exclusively through their online store, though they hope to offer them in shops in the near future. Judging by the fact that most of their stock is currently sold out they are certainly doing something right. And let’s hope that even more such fair-trade factories will spring up all over the world. I, for one, would be more than willing to pay a little more for a pair of undies knowing that the person who made them received a fair wage. Wouldn’t you?