Bedstraw + Madder: unpicking regenerative cotton

We officially have Jeremy Clarkson to thank for something, as piques public interest in the world of agriculture. 

We officially have Jeremy Clarkson to thank for something, as Clarkson’s Farm piques public interest in the world of agriculture.  

 But here at Bedstraw + Madder, we’re singing from a different hymn sheet. Regenerative agriculture – a sustainable practice that does exactly what it says on the tin – is reversing climate change one cotton boll at a time. 

We’re going back to agricultural basics at our cotton farm in Southern India. And we’re committed to doing so without cutting corners, all whilst giving consumers the transparency and traceability they deserve.


This is intimates with integrity; this is uncompromising underwear; this is conscious cotton.


This is the regeneration generation. And we won’t settle for less.


Regeneration means revival, renewal and restoration. Regenerative agriculture is all-inclusive R&R for the earth – and the planets’ soil certainly needs a holiday. If things continue at the current rate, there are only 60 growing seasons left until the world’s soil will no longer grow crops.


That’s why investing in something that not only does ‘less bad’, but actually does good – directly contributing to saving our planet for future generations – is the only way forward. There are copious benefits of regenerative agriculture for the planet; from sequestering carbon to reviving biodiversity.


But the benefits for people have just as much gravitas.  


Regenerative methods, such as eliminating the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, increase profitability for farmers. Giving farmers more choice over what they grow enables villages to wave goodbye to overly-engineered crops with expensive inputs. Yes, cotton is the focus for our farm, but there are nine other crop varieties supporting it – making for a holistic system that quite literally breathes life back into our soil.


And we also support an entire artisan community on the ground. So once the cotton is ready, all the ginning, spinning, dyeing and weaving is done nearby. From field to fabric: it takes a village.


Because it’s the farmers that live and breathe their farms. This knowledge about biodiversity and land use is sophisticated, complex and experience-led – so you’d be forgiven for thinking that respecting this, and listening to these farmers, appears to be stating the obvious. We agree. Our ethos is based on it.  


But wait - this isn’t new news.


For centuries, fast-fashionistas have been shoehorning in yield heavy, economically impractical practices. What remains, we hear you ask? Unsustainable farms, seed varieties facing extinction, and a hell of a big mess for the rest of us to clear up.


Regenerative agriculture methods have been used in rural Indian communities for years. We’re talking way back – before David Attenborough graced our TV screens; before non-dairy milk hit supermarket shelves; and before the word sustainable infiltrated our day to day lives. That’s why this isn’t a case of green-washing. This is a regeneration of regenerative farming. Clean cotton; clean water; clean colour.


Our next blog will tell you what to expect when buying intimates with integrity – who we are, what we value, and why we are different. Coming soon to a newsletter (sign up here), Instagram feed and website near you. 





August 01, 2021 — Primrose Matheson