Sustainability efforts touch almost all aspects of our lives, from products for periods, food packaging, to our wardrobes, but a small matter of our daily underwear has been largely overlooked leaving many of us wondering what are we supposed to do with these small inconveniences when we’re ready to part ways with them. These are products that can’t be donated, sold, or rented. Rose Colcord founded Cou Cou to help redefine daily undies for a new generation. They are made from 100 percent organic cotton and French lace. The wearer can simply remove the trims and pop them in the compost. Below is the Colcord interview to understand more.
Could you please outline your journey to eco-friendly intimates?
Cou Cou was born out of a dichotomy in lingerie and everyday fast-fashion underwear. This seemed to reinforce the idea that comfort and beauty for women are mutually exclusive. I set out to make women feel empowered, beautiful, and comfortable by making the first decision they made each day. The impact of intimates on the environment is often overlooked by Gen-Z, despite their deep concern for sustainability. Underwear is the least sustainably sourced garment. They have the lowest life span of any garment, and they are the most unlikely thing that you want to be selling on depop. Cou Cou needed to have compostable underwear that was responsible for the entire life cycle.
What are the challenges of creating compostable underwear?
We had to eliminate elastane from the fabric when making organic cotton underwear. People generally don’t want VPL and because the comfort of intimate garments like this depends on how they fit, we spent over a year developing the product. We wanted it to be beautiful as well as compostable. Elastane is what makes most underwear fit. It allows the garment to hug the body and stretch as much as possible. But with our sustainability initiative, there was no way I would use any elastane within the material’s body. The biggest challenge was in ensuring that the fit is perfect and that sustainable does not look “look” sustainable.
Are there plans to go beyond intimate briefs?
While we will be primarily focusing our efforts on underwear, I really see our product more as an elevated, intimate essential, and I would love to expand my range to include any layer that is made up of that first layer. Cou Cou will continue to focus on undies, but I see us expanding to include camis, vests, and crop tops.
Are you sure that consumers will take the extra step to remove the trim and compost the item?
Cou Cou is conscious of her environment and the Cou Cou girl is no different.
Are there plans to develop compostable trims or details in the future?
Yes. Yes. We aim to become carbon neutral by 2025, so our priority will be to reduce the impact as much as possible.
Are Cou Cou packaging and dying recyclable?
All packaging can be recycled and composted.