Walmart releases first ‘plant-based bra’

‘Real sustainability does not exist without accessibility’, says CEO of clothing firm

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 11 August 2021 18:50
<p>Kindly’s plant-based bras</p>

Kindly’s plant-based bras

A sustainable plant-based bra has gone on sale for the first time at Walmart, in what is another sign of mainstream retailers endorsing “plastic free” fashion.

The bra, which comes in four formats, was released on Tuesday following a collaboration between the billion-dollar firm, and clothing company Gelmart International and its “Kindly” line of lingerie.

Kindly bras feature cups made of Brazilian sugarcane fibre, and forgo metal wires found in tradition bras – both of which are non-biodegradable and frequently discarded, before finding their way to landfill.

While the sugarcane is not 100 per cent biodegrade, according to Gelmart CEO Yossi Nasser, “the product’s 80 per cent sugarcane content still represents a significant improvement.”

She told Forbes last month: “Our goal over the next few years is to get it to that 100 per cent level, where everything in that product, as well as the packaging, is 100 per cent sustainable, reusable and recyclable”.

Ms Nasser said traditional bras feature 25 components or more, and that the complexity of the manufacturing process meant disposing of bras was often environmentally unfriendly.

Neither have bra cups changed in more than 40 years, said Ms Nasser, who added: “Bras have been slow as a category to get onto the sustainability train.”

The Kindly “plant-based bras” are now available in Walmart stores across the US and online, with sizes ranging from 34A to 40DD, and priced as low as $12 (£8.65) for the “V-neck Bralette”.

Ms Nasser told Forbes that designers took three years to finalise the material for the bras, with other wireless or bralette formats avoiding pads – and so ignoring bigger sizes.

She added in a press release on Tuesday that “real sustainability does not exist without accessibility,” and that “when selecting a retail partner, Walmart was a no-brainer for us”.

“It’s important to us that Kindly is known not only for quality products, but more for creating a movement towards a more eco-friendly and attainable lifestyle for all,” said Ms Nasser.

Research suggests that the eco-friendly fashion industry will be worth roughly $15bn by 2030, with clothing manufacturing contributing 1.2 bn tonnes of greenhouse gases to the Earth’s atmosphere each year.

Although sugarcane is plastic-free, it is water intensive to farm and not necessarily the best solution for sustainable fashion, according to campaigners.

As well as polluting water, sugarcane farming can also lead to further deforestation of the world’s forests, including the Brazilian Amazon, the World Wildlife Fund has warned.

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