Technological underwear, the next step towards sustainable menstruation

Technological underwear, the next step towards sustainable menstruation

Advanced textile technologies now work for the creation of menstrual underwear that is hygienic, ecological and comfortable, to wear as you go through the period.

Increasingly, proposals for the development of fashion apparel are emerging that take into account menstruation and offer solutions for textile technologies.

From underwear to sports garments that provide comfort, they have a great absorption capacity, antibacterial action and they are a sustainable alternative because they do not generate waste.

In some cases they replace sanitary towels, tampons or menstrual cups and in others they are garments that work as a complement.

Although the trend is still incipient in some Latin American countries, there are already some options available and others to come or that are advanced in the research process.

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In the world, one of the pioneers is the American firm Thinx, which launched in 2014 underwear designed for menstruation and incontinence, as a healthier, sustainable solution and as a way to deal with bloodstains.

Precisely, one of the founders of this New York brand stained her clothes during an event, which led her to investigate whether it was possible to create a garment that would prevent such accidents, be comfortable and could be worn at any age.

"A lifelong friend, who is my partner, has an 11-year-old daughter who was about to menstruate and one day at lunch she told me that she had tried a towel and found it very uncomfortable," she said.

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Juliana Morales Rins and Romina Delichotti, Argentine designers and creators of this product, pointed out that they thought about how they could get used to using a sanitary towel, which resulted in countless episodes of discomfort, with nothing developed to replace it.

During the past year, they both dedicated themselves to investigating what was happening in the world with the subject, they discovered Thinx, who had found the formula to generate underwear of great absorption. The next challenge was to find out if something similar could be done for Latin American women.

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"it was months and months of talking to INTI (National Institute of Industrial Technology), gynaecologists, textile specialists; we developed different prototypes, asked our friends to test them, and in November last year we came to a combination of textiles and developed molding. At that time, our friends who tested us did not want to return the model to us anymore and we realized that it was ready," Morales Rins said. "it was months and months of talking with INTI (National Institute of Industrial Technology), with gynecologists, with textile specialists; we developed different prototypes, we asked our friends to test them and in November last year we came to a combination of textiles and we developed molding.

The brand started making underwear with smart textiles. It is a combination of cotton and microfibre and proposes four levels of absorption: mild, moderate, abundant and super abundant. The cut of the underwear also varies and fits the comfort of each woman.

How do menstrual underwear work?

At first glance, the technological underwear is like the one we usually wear, the key is in the superabsorbent technological fabric inside it, the antidermal barriers, its outer layer with antibacterial action that neutralizes odours and always stays dry without deformation.

How long does it last?

The menstrual garment can be worn for six to 12 hours in a row, depending on the day of the period in which it is found and the characteristics of the menstruation; whether it is mild or abundant.

The specialists recommended using it first at home in order to control the level of absorption.

After its use, they detailed, it is washed by hand with cold water and neutral soap or in the uncentrifuged washing machine, in the delicate clothing program and without using softeners.

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The lifespan, their creators said, is years since they are resistant garments designed to function for an extended temporality.

A sustainable and inclusive alternative

"(La) we launched last year, after three years of work," said Pamela Márquez, creator of the brand along with Laura Cordoni, both graduates of the textile design career of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

From the outset, they thought of making a type of underwear that would be an alternative to sustainable methods of menstruation management such as glass and cloth towels.

"this underwear is more inclusive than other methods because people with disabilities can use it. For example, girls with autism or Down syndrome are actually made very easy to wear, unlike the cup you need to have a greater knowledge of the body," Marquez explained.

The use of this garment would have a double positive impact: environmental, because it would not generate waste and safety, I would imply that the person is in contact with plastics or toxic.

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The filmmakers of these projects seek "that it be a product that accompanies the body and does not invade it, that is, that it does not involve the introduction of a foreign object into the vaginal canal and that guarantees the urogenital and reproductive health of menstrual people".


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