Crafting Ethical Fashion: Sustainable Manufacturing in Lingerie, Swimwear, and Activewear


05 March 2024

Crafting Ethical Fashion: Sustainable Manufacturing in Lingerie, Swimwear, and Activewear

In 2024, sustainability remains a hot topic, especially in the fashion industry. As consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental and ethical implications of their purchasing decisions, the demand for sustainable and ethically manufactured garments has soared.

This increased consumer desire for ethically sourced and produced lingerie, swimwear and activewear has coincided with one of the biggest global incidents we’ve seen in recent years: COVID-19. The pandemic shut down entire countries for months, halting international trade, commerce and business. According to the documentary ‘The True Cost’ which explores the ethics in fashion, approximately 97% of garments are produced overseas, predominantly in Asia and Eastern Europe that are more difficult to manage due to time differences, large distances and language barriers. This ‘lifting of the veil’ coupled with the pandemic resulted in many UK fashion businesses relocating their production to home turf, and whilst this allows for brands to keep a closer eye on their manufacturing it does come with increased costs that many consumers cannot afford, unfortunately benefiting the fast fashion brands. Join Bodywear Lab as we delve into the world of ethical manufacturing in 2024, exploring the significance of sustainability practices and the benefits of both UK-based and international production as well as the role of cutting-edge 3D technologies, such as 3D product design, in shaping the future of ethical fashion.


Ethical manufacturing in fashion encompasses a range of practices aimed at minimising environmental impact, ensuring fair labour conditions, and prioritising the well-being of workers throughout the supply chain. In lingerie, swimwear, and activewear, where intimate contact with the skin is paramount, ethical considerations hold even greater significance.

Sustainability practices in these sectors often involve the use of eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, recycled nylon, and regenerated fabrics like Econyl, which are crafted from ocean waste and discarded fishing nets. These materials not only reduce reliance on virgin resources but also help mitigate the pollution caused by conventional textile production.

Furthermore, ethical manufacturing entails fair wages, safe working conditions, and transparent supply chains. Brands committed to ethical practices often engage in partnerships with certified factories and undergo rigorous audits to ensure compliance with ethical standards. One benefit of manufacturing in Europe is that companies must by law submit reports on their sustainability measures as per the Corporate Sustainability Directive (CSRD). The CSRD is an EU initiative that expands upon the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), compelling large EU-listed and non-listed companies to disclose detailed sustainability information in their annual reports, including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects. It aims to enhance transparency, comparability, and accountability in corporate sustainability reporting across the EU, fostering trust, aiding investment decisions, and advancing sustainability goals. 

Here at Bodywear Lab we have our own set of ethical mindful practices which you can learn more about here.


The debate between local and international production in the fashion industry is multifaceted, with considerations ranging from environmental impact to economic implications.


Benefits of UK Production:

Producing garments locally in the UK offers several advantages, including a reduced carbon footprint by minimising emissions associated with transportation, thus contributing to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, UK-based production supports the local economy by fostering job creation and economic growth within communities, particularly benefiting small-scale manufacturers and artisans. Additionally, proximity to production facilities enables closer oversight and transparency throughout the manufacturing process, ensuring adherence to ethical standards and enhancing transparency for consumers. Furthermore, producing bodywear fashion locally in the UK can lead to lower Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs), which benefits both businesses and consumers. By manufacturing locally, companies can better manage production costs, reduce logistical complexities, and respond more flexibly to market demands. This agility allows for smaller batch sizes, enabling emerging designers and niche brands to thrive, fostering innovation and diversity within the fashion industry while supporting local economies and reducing carbon footprints.


At Bodywear Lab, we’ve spotted a trend with forward-thinking lingerie, swimwear and activewear brands taking the lead on local manufacturing. If you want a more in-depth analysis of the benefits of local production, head to our ‘Revolutionising Fashion: The Rise of Local Manufacturing’ now! 


Benefits of International Production in Larger Factories:

International production offers various advantages, including access to specialised skills and advanced technologies that may not be readily available domestically. These production hubs often boast expertise in innovation and quality craftsmanship, contributing to the creation of exceptional garments. Additionally, overseas production in larger factories can be more cost-effective due to lower labour and operational costs in some cases, enabling brands to maintain competitive pricing without sacrificing quality. Moreover, international production facilitates diverse material sourcing by providing access to a wide range of materials and suppliers from around the globe, allowing brands to explore innovative and sustainable alternatives to traditional materials.


Bodywear Lab has the connections and capabilities to offer our clients both UK and overseas manufacturing options that maintain high levels of quality and craftsmanship. Let us help you find the best option for your business – find out more about our wide range of manufacturing services. 


At London Contour Experts, their consultancy services offer tailored solutions for fast-growing startup brands and established brands seeking to optimise their supply chain or implement a manufacturing strategy aligned with their brand objectives. Reach out to London Contour Experts today to take your brand to the next level, or take a look at their consultancy services. 


In recent years, 3D technologies have revolutionised the fashion industry, offering new possibilities for design, prototyping, and production. In lingerie, swimwear, and activewear, 3D product design has emerged as a powerful tool for enhancing efficiency, reducing waste, and accelerating time-to-market. By simulating garment designs in a virtual environment, designers can iterate more quickly, fine-tuning fit and functionality with precision. This not only streamlines the design process but also minimises the need for physical prototypes, thereby reducing material waste. Moreover, 3D technologies facilitate more sustainable manufacturing practices by enabling on-demand production and customization. By producing garments only as needed, brands can avoid overproduction and excess inventory, contributing to a more circular and sustainable fashion ecosystem.


Additionally, innovative 3D product design offers a multitude of sustainable benefits across the lingerie, swimwear, and activewear industries. By digitally crafting prototypes, designers can significantly reduce material waste and energy consumption traditionally associated with physical sampling processes. This efficiency not only minimises environmental impact but also streamlines production timelines, fostering a more agile and responsive supply chain. Virtual fitting simulations enable precise customisation, enhancing the overall fit and comfort of garments while reducing the need for excessive returns and exchanges. 

Furthermore, the ability to test diverse materials and design iterations in a virtual environment promotes the use of eco-friendly fabrics and techniques, facilitating the transition towards more sustainable manufacturing practices. Overall, 3D product design not only enhances efficiency and innovation but also fosters a more environmentally conscious approach within the lingerie, swimwear, and activewear sectors. At the London Contour Experts Group, we’re dedicated to forging partnerships that seamlessly blend the digital and physical realms. Teaming up with Style3D, our goal is to craft a comprehensive solution that enhances efficiency, and sustainability, and expedites the journey to market. Join us as we pioneer a new era of innovation where boundaries between the virtual and tangible dissolve, empowering businesses to thrive in a rapidly evolving landscape. Keep an eye out on our socials and sign up to our newsletter for a special webinar announcement in collaboration with Style3D. 


Want to know how 3D can revolutionise your bodywear brand? Head to our 3D product design services as well as Hysculpt’s 3D service page so you can create stunning renderings of your products for marketing campaigns, ecommerce or just to simply reduce your carbon footprint. 


Ethical manufacturing in the lingerie, swimwear, and activewear sectors is not merely a trend but a necessary evolution towards a more sustainable and responsible industry. By prioritising sustainability practices, embracing local production where feasible, and harnessing the power of 3D technologies, fashion brands can pave the way for a brighter and more ethical future. As consumers, we hold the power to drive positive change by supporting brands that uphold these values and demanding greater transparency and accountability across the supply chain. Together, we can redefine fashion as a force for good, where style and ethics intertwine to create a more beautiful and sustainable world. 


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What is Brands of Tomorrow?

Brands of Tomorrow is a curated program, designed to support the growth of an exclusive group of creative entrepreneurs embarking on the journey to develop their businesses in the bodywear sector.

Interested? Find out more on our sister company,
London Contour Experts website.

What is Brands of Tomorrow

Brands of Tomorrow is a curated program, designed to support the growth of an exclusive group of creative entrepreneurs embarking on the journey to develop their businesses in the bodywear sector.

Interested? Find out more on our sister company,
London Contour Experts website.