Marc Skid Takes Ethical Underwear to the Next Level

©. Marc Skid (used with permission)

From its commitment to organic and recycled materials, to the money donated to charity for every pair sold, Marc Skid is serious about wanting to make the world a better place.

The next time your underwear needs an update, skip the cheap value pack and check out Marc Skid. This brand new startup is hoping to make its mark (!) on the ethical fashion world by doing things a bit differently.

Take, for example, the fabric with which the boxer briefs, bikini and hipster undies are made -- 100 percent organic Pima cotton from Peru, which is extremely rare. Company founder Dan Barry told Sublime magazine:

"Pima cotton alone makes up less than 2 percent of the world’s cotton, and organic Pima is even rarer... Often called ‘the cashmere of cotton’, Pima is the generic term for cotton boasting extra-long fibres. Ordinary cotton fibres are between 1⁄2” to 3⁄4” in length. Pima is a luxuriously long 1-3/8" in length. As is true of any natural fibre, the longer and smoother the cotton fibre, the softer it is. Peruvian Pima cotton has a special softness, durability and resistance to pilling."

Why organic? Cotton is one of the most polluting crops in the world, accounting for nearly a quarter of agricultural insecticide use. Opting for organic supports much cleaner, safer production, both for the Earth and the farmers who raise it. From the Marc Skid website:

"Organic cotton is grown free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and defoliants. It’s also free of GMOs – contaminants so dangerous Peru bans them - and is always hand picked to minimize environmental impact and maximize quality."

The stretchy waistband is made from recycled polyester -- one water bottle per pair of undies, to be precise. Marc Skid sources its waistbands from Repreve, which has an established process for transforming water bottles into high-performance athletic wear.

Another defining feature of the company is its commitment to charity work. For every pair of underwear purchased, Marc Skid donates $4 to a charity of the shopper's choosing. The online store has three categories of charity -- Feed, Cure or Save the World. Depending on what your interests are, you can select where you want your donation to go. The website tracks the total dollars donated, which Barry points out can add up to real change:

"Put in simple terms, this is what one pair of undies and a $4 donation can do to Save, Feed and Cure the World: it can plant four trees, it can feed a child in the developing world for twelve days or it can vaccinate two children."
Marc Skid quote

© Marc Skid (used with permission)

Barry believes that small companies play a crucial role in influencing bigger companies to rethink their production models. When the small ones are successful, the big ones see it's feasible, and that's when the real change can occur. He hopes that Marc Skid can be a model for the industry.

And are you wondering about that name? It's meant to be comical and playful.

"We decided that clothing should have the same attributes we find endearing in people -- it should be humble, confident and easy going, but also purposeful and possess strong character... So, Marc, with a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor, is a brand striving to embody the qualities we appreciate in people. My belief is that you and I together can 'Make our Marc on the World!'"

You can learn more about Marc Skid here, and do some shopping, too, if you're so inclined! Special discount for TreeHugger readers available now. Use code 'Treehugger' for 15 percent off and free shipping and handling in U.S.