We’re operating in a world where brand ‘transparency’ feels more opaque than ever. CSR is increasingly seen as a fad, and sustainability has lost its meaning – with some going as far as saying the word should be banned.
Honesty is always the best policy, which is why we wanted to explain exactly what to expect when you buy Bedstraw + Madder underwear. This isn’t simply a tick-box exercise – these are our values. They support our brand ethos and are non-negotiables for the way we do business, day in and day out.
We never settle
Before Bedstraw + Madder became a reality, when it was just the seed of an idea, we knew that pushing forwards, breaking boundaries and creating new norms would be key. It’s becoming equally clear that there’s no point just ‘sustaining’ the world as it is. The reality is that we need to reset the natural balance; we need to fix fashion. There’s so much we can do to make clothing in a way that is kind to people and the planet – and so we will always explore every avenue in every part of our business to make the most considered decisions possible. Forget no stone – it’s no cotton boll unturned.
We’re traceable and trustable
Transparent supply chains should be a given. We proudly grow our own cotton, which means we know the impact we’re making on the world around us, and ensure human rights are respected throughout our entire supply chain. And because we’re seriously serious about traceability, very soon you can follow the journey of each and every knicker we make through our QR codes. From field to fabric.
We act with integrity
We’re committed to making moral decisions that not only cause no harm, but do good – for both people and planet. And while we believe in the choices we’ve made and the methods we use, we know that nobody is perfect. So if things change, we’re ready to have open and honest conversations, and to rethink and course-correct as and when needed. It goes back to our belief in never settling. It’s the only way we can keep making a difference.
And this is all interconnected – a holistic view
Underpinning everything we do is a holistic approach; considering how every action and decision affects everything and everyone – whether that’s a cotton farmer and their family, the biodiversity of the land, or the customer hurriedly picking a pair of pants from their underwear drawer ahead of a busy day.
Those are our values. But what makes us different to other ‘sustainable’ underwear brands?
- Our knickers won’t fade into the background: We're unbelievably proud to have hit a first in the natural dye world, having achieved industry colourfastness standards with our plant dyes (meaning it won’t fade or run easily)
- Inventing new norms: After a lot of trial and error, we’ve taken a step into unchartered territories and created recycled elastane waistbands & trims for our knickers that are also biodegradable: from the Earth back to the Earth
- What goes around comes around: To be sure that we are creating truly circular solutions, we tested the biodegradability of our cotton at the Eden Research Laboratory. They’ve confirmed that our intimates completely biodegrade within three years – ensuring a better world for future generations
Sound like hard work? That’s because it is. As the famous saying goes, if it was easy, everyone would do it. But this is the regeneration generation; and we won’t settle for less.
Want to know how Bedstraw + Madder came about? Meet the founders here (link).
We are thrilled to announce that Bedstraw + Madder are this year's winners of the Best Carbon Footprint Initiative at Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards 2022.
An awards programme that recognises the strides being taken in reducing the industry's environmental impact and creating fairer working conditions across the supply chain.
Described as "impressive" and a "breath of fresh air", judges concluded: "They are a small company, but they have worked so hard at every single stage of the supply chain, always with carbon in mind and a focus on regenerative farming, which is very impressive".
Vanessa, co-founder and creative director, says, "As a young brand, we are grateful to be recognised for our team's hard work to create a positive impact. Creating a fully traceable supply chain and growing organic cotton from seed to create our chemical-free fabrics isn't easy, but as the saying goes, "there are no shortcuts to any place worth going…."
Bedstraw + Madder is part of the Raddis®System: a holistic food-& fibre system, growing fully traceable regenerative organic-in-conversion & organic cotton with smallholder farmers in Southern India while working in partnership with Oshadi Collective and Fibershed to pioneer a radically different way of making clothes.
Empowering Tribal Farmers, restoring soil quality using a multi–Crop Eco System, removing pesticides and reducing Water use, all whilst capturing carbon to mitigate climate change. It’s about the potential of regenerative fashion to be restorative. For the fashion industry to be less bad is not good enough, we have the power through regenerative textiles to actively do good both environmentally and socially.
This for Bedstraw + Madder includes rainfed irrigation, revival of ancient traditional craft skills such as hand weaving and the empowerment of cotton farmers through paying directly a premium on market price.
Picture a farmer.
What do they look like? Are they tall or short? Are they dressed in dungarees, holding a shovel, in a tractor, wearing wellies? Are they Kaleb from Clarkson’s Farm?
Are they a man?
It’s a common misconception that most farmers are male – like many occupations, men seem to be the face of the farming world. In reality, women make up the majority of the cotton farming workforce in India – so much so that nearly 75% of full-time workers on India’s farms are, in fact, women.
And do you know what? They’re incredibly good at it. Women are integral to the cotton value chain – your clothing quite literally would not exist without them. But they are still undervalued by many; still underpaid for their work; and still disregarded despite their knowledge of the land.
In India, women are often not recognised as farmers because the land is owned or leased to men. But this is nonsensical. We value women.
In traditional Indian farming communities, seed preservation has always been a women’s role. They have a unique connection to Mother Nature – an unrivalled understanding of it. They’re it’s kindest keepers.
Take Eswari, who lives in Erode, Southern India, where our cotton is grown. She is absolutely at home on the farm. If you ask her about the flora, her face will light up. She’ll immediately be able to point you in the direction of plants with healing properties. The land is her own personal hospital.
Eswari, on the farm in Erode, India.
But women also play a pivotal role in protecting our planet, despite (or perhaps, because of) being more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Research shows that the contributions of women lead to successful, long-term solutions to climate change & global warming.
We have to be careful when we use the word empowerment. It has been used by too many corporations, too many times, and with too little connection to any real impact.
Pon Vaishali manages the farm where our cotton is grown. Although her interest in farming was inspired by her father, who specialised in organic turmeric and vegetables, Vaishali also has extensive theoretical knowledge from her agriculture degree. This included learning about low-impact farming practices, such as crop rotation, green manures and compost, biological pest control and mechanical cultivation. Her knowledge makes our regenerative farm better.
Ultimately, we’re passionate about the lives of the women that are so ingrained in the land that grows our cotton. And any positive impact on women has a ripple effect on their households and communities; it’s exactly what we’re about – holistic outcomes for all – economic, social and environmental.
Because this is the regeneration generation. And we won’t settle for less.
The spring equinox this year occurs on Saturday 20th March, a time when day and night will be of almost equal duration and which marks the first day of Spring.
It is a day to celebrate the revival of life after a long cold winter and when our focus shifts from the internal to external, from preparation to action. It is a time of rebirth as we see with the eggs hatching and birds returning from their migrations.
At Bedstraw + Madder we too are preparing for new life in our much-anticipated launch of our GMD basic range of plant dyed underwear.
We sourced the finest super soft unbleached GOTS certified organic cotton and biodegradable elastane whilst ensuring the perfect comfortable fit for our brief, Brazilian and thong.
Our babies are now ready to fly in the coming weeks in 3 beautiful plant dyed colours to support your nether regions in more ways than one!
With every season comes change and the clearest sign of abundant health and vitality is our ability to adapt to it and maintain balance as we move from one to the next.
So, in addition to wearing natural plant pigments next to your skin what else can we do to keep our body in balance at this time of year?
Try some of these solstice rituals to help you feel aligned and ready for the year ahead.
Support your gut health
After a starch and often meat heavy winter, it is time to lighten up your meals with spring greens, fresh juices and spices of ginger and turmeric to increase circulation and to aid detoxification. Try water or milk kefir for the best probiotic support, drink bone broths and increase your intake of fibre in the form of fresh herbs, pulses and beans.
Love the skin you’re in
As the largest organ of your body, and a key organ for elimination give your skin some TLC. Do your best to support sweating with regular exercise or saunas and encourage the natural oils to tone and moisturise. Take care to eliminate any chemicals from getting on there and avoid wearing polyester.
Out with the old, make space for the new
This doesn’t just apply to your wardrobe or house. Let go of friendships and lovers that are no longer serving you and allow space for new ones to come into your life.
Smudge the corners of your rooms with sage and plant new intentions for your spaces.
This time of year, is a time to sow seeds with our actions, our visualisations and to start planting real seeds in the ground for future food or beauty to enjoy.
Ease the Hayfever
Don’t let hayfever get you down. Tackle it naturally by increasing your Vitamin C intake and drink infusions of elderflowers, nettles and peppermint.
Don’t be tied down to exercise routines that are not enjoyable. It is essential to move your body to allow your body to eliminate the toxins it has built up over the last few months. Find some rituals that bring you joy and increase your heart rate at the same time. Skip, run, hoopla hoop in a pair of our knickers, make love but make sure it makes you smile.
Happy Spring Solstice
Bringing you our unique botanical colour recipes our new knickers bring colour to your clothes via Gar-Ment-Dye - a term used to describe the dyeing technique when a piece of clothing is dyed after it has been made rather than dyeing the fabric before making it into something.
Why do we love it?
Whilst most fabrics are bleached, we always maintain the natural beauty of our organic cotton base fabric.
Our methods are kinder to your skin and to nature, which is why we are campaigning for clean colour and a move away from the heavy chemicals used in conventional dyeing methods.
All garment dyed pieces are pre washed and dried twice before they get to you so there is no chance of anything shrinking once you get it home which is always a bonus.
We exhaust our natural dye vat and use up those precious plant pigments when garment dyeing as you can keep adding smaller amounts of clothing until all the dye is gone, achieving different colours along the way and nothing is wasted. As an impact business we love this.
The GMD process gives character and essentially means you have a one-of-a-kind piece. We dye in small run batches meaning limited edition colour runs. No batch is exactly the same. Instead of a uniform finish like you get with chemical dyeing the garment dyeing allows the dye to settle in different amounts in different places.
Every garment dyed piece you buy you can be sure there is nothing exactly like it.
A work of art you might say.
It certainly makes every pair of knickers that little more special which we hope YOU our customers will love.
You can try GMD for yourself.
Our GMD basic range of knickers is launching at the end of the month in 3 colourways Candy pink, La Peche and Sunshine.
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x Ness and Prim