New US-based lingerie brand Thinx is producing the first reusable leak- and stain-resistant underwear for menstruating women, eliminating the need for costly, uncomfortable and unsustainable tampons and pads.
“We looked for a solution in the marketplace, but nothing existed,” said chief executive and founder Miki Agrawal after searching for lingerie that provided the right support without the heaviness of traditional sanitary pads.
In December, the brand closed a multi-million dollar round of funding to set up the business, which produces three stylish lace-trimmed designs that also boast patented anti-microbial, moisture-wicking fibres that can hold up to two tampons’ worth of liquid, depending on the style. They are cleaned in the same way as traditional lingerie, and can last up to two years.
The brand is also working on a line for women suffering from incontinence and bladder leakage, potentially taking over another segment of the feminine hygiene market. According to Svetlana Uduslivaia, tissue and hygiene research analyst at London-based market intelligence firm Euromonitor International, “disposable products for light incontinence have seen significant growth globally, in value and volume terms, steadily increasing their share of… sales in developed and developing markets”. She cites New Zealand’s ConfiTex as a brand currently tapping the market with pad-free incontinence underwear for men and women.
Female empowerment is at the core of Thinx – one of many new brands looking to break the taboo surrounding menstruation. US-based HelloFlo, for example, delivers monthly or one-off care boxes for children and teens alongside quippy YouTube adverts celebrating menstruation as a right of passage, instead of demonising it.
Similarly, the hashtag #tamponclub is cropping up on Twitter to promote the placement of feminine hygiene products in women’s bathrooms in tech offices – opening up the conversation of gender equality in the workplace.