As part of our founder interview series, we speak with Mathilde de Sacy and Clémentine Girard from Olly about creating a range of sustainable intimates from organic cotton.
We love that Olly is founded by two passionate women. How did you all come to meet?
We attended the same business school, ESCP Europe, and that is where we have met. During an entrepreneurship class we imagined together the perfect brand : beautiful and organic underwear!
What were you doing before launching Olly? Do you have backgrounds in fashion?
As we have created Olly during our studies, we were students before launching the brand, and we do not have a particular background in fashion. However, we both have always loved fashion and Mathilde wanted to be stylist when she was a child.
When did you start to realise the true environmental cost of conventional cotton, and the fashion industry in general?
Thanks to our families, we have always been aware of ecological problems, and we started to realise the true cost of clothes during our studies. And the more we looked for information, the more concerned about the fashion issue we became.
Why is organic cotton so important, particularly to intimates?
Cotton is the most healthy fabric to wear, and gynaecologists advice women to wear cotton intimates. But cotton is not enough, as it can contain many endocrine disruptors, from the dyes or the pesticides used to grow the cotton. It is extremely important for intimates more than for other clothes, because the toxic substances enter better the skin if it is wet. Organic cotton and Oeko-tex dye are better, because it does not contain the toxic chemical products that are often used by the conventional textile industry. Organic cotton is softer, does not use pesticides that pollute the environment and is better for your health, and for the planet.
Where do you find your design inspiration for the collection?
We want to create panties that will be worn and loved for years ! We are quite pragmatic : we want our panties to be comfortable and easy to match with the bras our clients already have. But when it is time to find inspiration and dream a little about the perfect design we find inspiration in cinema mostly.
Ethical fashion is an extremely broad topic. What is your definition of ‘ethical fashion’?
We would like to quote Livia Firth “call it ‘eco-fashion’ if you like, but I think it’s just common sense” : for us, it was nonsense to create a fashion brand in 2016 and not to think about how the products are made, and by who. Ethical fashion is the creation of a good product : good quality, made in good conditions and which looks good.
How does Olly embody your definition of ‘ethical fashion’?
At Olly, we create underwear which are beautiful and feminine, handmade by seamstresses in Hungary and that last in the time. It is a lingerie which have been thought to be a good product in each detail.
How do you try to live more sustainably in your personal life?
We both eat organic food, and use natural cosmetics. We limit our meat consumption and try to reduce our waste. As we live in Paris we also use public transportation and cycle a lot !
What do you look for in other fashion brands that you buy from?
We look for clothes for which we know a lot of things : their fabrics, how and where they have been made… We prefer organic or natural fibers, and of course we look for clothes that look good and last in the time. We also love to buy second-hand clothes on flea markets.
How would you like to see Olly grow in the future?
We would like Olly to become a major brand of organic underwear, and to propose underwear not only for women, including bras, panties, pyjamas... but also for men and children. We have only panties at this moment, but bras will arrive soon!