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Green is sexy

If you don't know what's in your knickers, should you be wearing them?

So goes a line from a short film showing last week at Paris' lingerie show, the globe's premier underwear event.

After food, cosmetics and street clothes, the shift to organic has finally hit lingerie - the cutting edge of female seduction that cannot stand the slightest compromise on style.

'Green is out of the closet,' said Karine Lebreton of trend research agency Promostyl. 'Green is glam.'

Long seen as frumpy, dowdy and dull, eco-friendly lingerie is hitting shops in the form of sexy satin or silk bras and briefs, and other lacy bits and pieces.

'People think eco is hemp or granola-looking,' said British designer Jenny White, 32, the founder of lingerie firm Eco-Boudoir.

'We make eco sexy.'

Her two-year-old firm sells to top department stores such as Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and Le Bon Marche.

Her eye-catching undies, featuring sultry reds and blacks, ranged from tiny briefs to structured bras and spicy eyemasks - in organic silk, cotton, bamboo or lenpur, a new textile fibre made from white fir wood pulp.

'People should know what's in their knickers because the textile industry is one of the most polluting in the world,' said White, who produced the campaign film at the lingerie fair highlighting the ugly side of undies and viewable at

A pair of pants, it says, produces 18kg of CO2E, the standard measure of carbon footprint, while 20,000 litres of water are used to produce every kilogram of cotton.

'I care about the planet. I eat organic food, I use organic cosmetics,' said White.

'I wanted to set up a company without trashing the planet. We are running out of water, running out of oil. We have no choice. I want to wear things that are ethical and beautiful.'

In Singapore, Triumph launched Ecochic last year. The range of lingerie is made without the use of any dyes, bleach, chemicals or metals that can contaminate the environment.

But of all fashion, lingerie is the most difficult to make, often requiring some 30 different bits of fabric.

So no wonder manufacturers have hesitated to add to the sale price by going more expensively organic.

'I think all manufactures are beginning to do what is necessary to marry their style with organic considerations,' said Jina Luciani at just-established French firm Occidente.

'Now we have organic cotton but also organic satin and lace, and we're looking at organic elastic.'

Her 100 per cent fair trade underwear and loungewear are aimed at women who care about the planet but want to be chic too.

'There was no seductive ethical lingerie available for such women,' she said. 'Organic fabrics are soft and comfortable on the skin.'

So is eco underwear here to stay, and will it hit the mainstream?

'This is more than just a niche market,' said Florence Peyrichou, the lingerie specialist at trendspotters Promostyl.

'After all these years of flourish, excess, extravagance and bling bling, people want a return to simplicity, softness and natural well-being.

'Because lingerie is so close to the skin, people are looking for something soft, this is a trend that will grow with time.'

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