Where to get Period Underwear
The best of local and overseas period undies
Menstruation is having a well-deserved moment in the sun thanks to the announcement that all schools and kura will get access to free period products from next year. As a result, we’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about where to find period underwear.
Most menstruators have their “period underwear” - a generally dark-coloured, shabby pair of undies you bust out at that time of the month that you don’t mind getting ruined. But in the last decade or so, several companies in Aotearoa and abroad have sprung up, offering underwear to absorb menstrual fluid. Some may say that you can use them in place of other menstrual products but they really do excel as backup leak protection (especially while you’re sleeping) or as an option for light-flow days. It’s worthwhile to have a few pairs of them in your underwear drawer.
So where do you get them from? I’ve compiled a list for your convenience and I’ve prioritised Aotearoa-made and/or companies that support period poverty:
Aotearoa made or based:
Two women from West Auckland set up, AWWA, Aotearoa’s first period underwear company. AWWA was created with a vision of “providing women of all shapes, sizes and cultures with innovative, sustainable products to effectively manage their periods.” AWWA is derived from the Maori word 'awa' meaning river or flow. Maori referred to their period as te awa atua - the divine river.
They sell a range of period underwear in differing absorbancies and styles and also offer the option for people to buy period underwear for teens and women in need, which are then donated to charity partners. 5% of the sales of all AWWA underwear is donated to charities in Aotearoa who are committed to addressing period poverty.
The Christchurch-based makers of the Aotearoa-made menstrual cups sell period underwear from the Australian label, Love Luna, on their website. Love Luna was created by a team of women who have 20+ years’ experience designing intimates. You have a choice of different styles and absorbancies.
My Cup supports numerous community initiatives around Aotearoa that are helping reduce period poverty, you can choose to donate a menstrual cup if you like, and is part of The Good Fund which supplies reusable menstrual products for those who can’t afford them.
Popular menstrual cup brand Lunette has an NZ branch and on their website, you can peruse the range of Australian-made Modibodi™ Leak-Proof underwear. What makes this website special is their blog - it’s full of stories of people who’ve overcome prejudice, fought for social justice, empowered others or simply raised awareness of the day-to-day realities of living with periods. A great feminist, activist vibe and really worth a read.
A monther-daughter enterprise from the Hawkes Bay which specialises in selling monthly menstrual product subscription boxes so you don’t have to remember to put ‘em on the shopping list. You can buy the UK-made WUKA (stands for: Wake Up, Kick Ass) period undies in a variety of absorbancies but only one style. They also have a Tween option.
Back in 2015, Confitex was launched at New Zealand Fashion Week and made international headlines as the world’s first fashionable range of incontinence underwear. This year they have launched their new Just’nCase range of absorbent period-proof and pee-proof underwear. They come in two levels of absorbency (extra and everyday), three high-waisted styles, and two colours (black and tan).
There are some really cute offerings from overseas brands. Just remember that with the exchange rate and shipping costs, you’ll pay more for them.
This multi-award-winning company from Australia has grown it’s brand globally since 2011 and was inspired by the experience of “unmentionable” bladder leaks after the birth of the founder’s second child. You can shop their array of period undies by absorbency, style, size, and colour and there is a dedicated Teen line as well. Plus, they have an Activewear and Swimwear range!
They’re good corporate citizens too, doing their bit for period poverty. You can purchase a virtual pair of period undies, and they will match it. Their latest donations were directed towards victims of the Australian Bushfires and organisations doing the hard yards in the community during the COVID-10 pandemic.
The total New York hipster on the period underpants block is U.S. brand Thinx. Their collection of different styles and colours are more fashion-forward than any of the others. They have Activewear and a dedicated sub-brand for teens & tweens too.
They’ve had to rebuild their reputation back up since reports of workplace bullying, discrimination, and dismal HR practices came to light back in 2017. They seem to be on the right track. With their GiveRise campaign, Thinx is passionate about menstrual equity and period education. When you purchase a pair of their undies you have the choice to make a donation in addition to your purchase (donation amount equates to 5% of the purchase price). Their Thinx2020 campaign is calling on every U.S. presidential candidate to announce a plan for inclusive menstrual hygiene policy.
Another American brand, Ruby Love offers underwear, swimwear, activewear and loungewear that provide leak-proof protection for women, girls and men. Their period undies feature a dri-tech mesh that prevents side, front, and back spills and hold pads (reusable and single-use pads) securely in place. They come in a vast array of styles, colours, and sizes. Unlike the other brands, their undies do not come in differing absorbancies but rather they sell reusable pads to offer more protection should you need it.
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