Manitoba

Undies for all: Winnipegger crafts underwear for every body type, and for city's homeless

By making undies for people of all body types and genders, Laura's Under There owner Laura Everett hopes to help people feel proud of, and talk about, their "unmentionables."

Laura Everett's business, Laura's Under There, creates upcycled underwear, donates a pair for each pair sold

Laura Everett, who creates underwear using repurposed materials, holds a pair of CBC-themed boxers with CBC Radio host Trevor Dineen. They were last seen in Dineen's office. (Trevor Dineen/CBC)

Some call them "unmentionables" — but for Winnipegger Laura Everett, one mention is enough to stir a fire in her heart.

That's because she spends a good part of her time making environmentally minded underwear for people of all body types and genders — and trying to make sure those in need have undies too.

Working at one of Winnipeg's homeless shelters, Everett said, "made me realize how often people needed underwear."

"I was always asking for underwear and no one ever wanted to talk about it. The more I got resistance to it, the more I got passionate about it."

She started her business, called Laura's Under There, just over a year ago.

Laura Everett is the owner of Laura's Under There. (Trevor Dineen/CBC)

For every pair of underwear sold, Everett donates another pair to someone in need.

"I am ridiculously passionate about clothing people who are experiencing poverty and homelessness," she said.

"Clothing in Winnipeg is very crucial — it can be life or death for people out there."

For Everett, underwear isn't just about covering up the bits that we don't want others to see. Underwear is a vehicle through which we can claim dignity and safety, she says.

By making undies for people of all body types and genders — Everett calls her underwear "genderful" instead of "genderless" to capture that inclusiveness — she hopes to help people feel proud of, and talk about, their gitch.

"I just wanted to make underwear for people, and I wanted people who maybe didn't fit into those gendered boxes to feel comfortable purchasing a pair of underwear that suited who they are as opposed to their anatomy," says Everett.

"It's about people. I just wanted them to feel empowered to buy something that's so intimate."

She stitches the underwear in her basement, which is where Trevor Dineen, co-host of CBC Radio's Now Or Never, joined her to help her create a limited edition pair of CBC-themed boxers.

Laura's Under There makes environmentally minded underwear for people of all different body types and genders. (Trevor Dineen/CBC)

The pair was made using the remains of two CBC T-shirts. As with the CBC shirts, most of the materials used for Laura's Under There undies are repurposed, saving the textiles from the landfill and reducing the environmental impact of each pair.

And the CBC undies? 

"You'll get them over my dead body," says Dineen.

With files from Trevor Dineen and Jeremiah Yarmie

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