Saturday Star: Shake your Boody with soft, beautiful bamboo

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Hein Kaiser

It’s NOT often that anyone waxes lyrical about underwear. After all, if you’re not Madonna in the 1980’s, very few people see one another’s undergarments, let alone share fashion tips outside the pages of glossy magazines. Enter Boody, an Australian eco-wear brand that is not only fit for purpose in a functional sense, but, it’s fashionably fabulous in more ways than one. Boody’s promise of a totally eco-friendly value chain and, its classic design and, quite frankly, the way it feels when you wear it, warrants further curiosity.

You can’t buy Boody in a fashion outlet now. Rather, when looking for it, find it in a health-care store. It’s all part of the brand’s promise that beyond its environmental conscience, the underwear is healthier for you. Nick stein, the entrepreneur who discovered Boody and brought it to South Africa, says that the garments are hypo-allergenic and anti-bacterial. ‘’It’s knitted from fabric derived from organically grown bamboo, harvested in an environmentally responsible manner with the theme continuing throughout the value chain.’’ He adds that it also takes about 99% less water to cultivate bamboo than it does to grow cotton.

Stein, who has been involved in the garment manufacturing business for most of his career, says that while on business in Australia he discovered the brand. ‘’The feel of it, along with its ethos, immediately grabbed my attention and bringing it to South Africa became a non-negotiable for me,’’ he says. ‘’I fell in love with it and had to share it.’’ He came home with the distribution rights and two years later, Boody is available in Mauritius, most of South Africa, online and he plans to take the brand to the rest of southern Africa. ‘’We already have one retail outlet in Zimbabwe, with more to come as the good news spreads.’’

Brands like the Body Shop and later Lush and some coffee brands became famous for their fair-trade credentials and environmentally-friendly value chains. Many other brands are starting to reverse-engineer processes and retrofit products with this kind of conscience. ‘’I believe that we are all starting to realise the importance of looking after our environment and the social aspects that lie behind the products and brands we support,’’ says Stein. Research backs up his statement as website Sustainable Brands reports on a 2015 study that says nine out of 10 consumers would switch to social and environmentally friendly brands. Earlier this year, Unilever released a report saying that nearly a third of consumers were now supporting brands with sustainable positive impact on social and environmental matters.

Boody has become more than just an underwear brand, too. Its baby range has become a hot ticket, given the fabrics healthier properties. ‘’We have seen demand grow across all markets and, with its added absorption qualities, the active wear range will take the brand into fresh territory.’’ Stein adds that later this year the brand will expand its retail footprint as the range widens. T-shirts, vests and underwear basics are already available along with infant clothing.

The proof is in the pudding, though, and taking Boody for a test drive, with a soupçon of scepticism, the verdict can be reduced to two words. Get it. Tested on a day of active work and play, the comfort, and the feel of the fabric against the skin beats cotton. The cuts are, while it has a foundation in basics, sexy and fitted. The look and feel makes it well worth paying somewhat more.

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