Who Made Your Pants?

Gorgeous Pants. By women, for women.

Coming soon – Hannah Pants

This summer, we have been really fortunate and have had a great placement student.

Hannah came to us for one month, on Monday the 2nd June. We had two applications from students at Leicester De Montford for our summer placement, one from a third year and one from someone just ending her first year – Hannah. When we read Hannah’s email we kind of just knew a good person had found us. That first email folks – it makes all the difference. In hers, Hannah showed us that she *knew* who we were and that she got what we’re doing and why. And we loved that.

So,  after meeting Hannah and seeing quite how capable she is (she has four jobs. She rows. She teaches. She’s a student. She’s 20. She’s amazing) we let her do whatever she wanted, She worked with the team, did every job in the factory, and then after the team went on summer break she worked with us on maximising efficiency in production by changing the factory layout. She lifted, shifted and hoovered, picked and packed pants, made up the mailing boxes – she did a little bit of everything, with a smile on her face and quite often singing, too.

And then we talked about pants. Hannah had an idea for a simple style in mind, and we quickly found that we had a huge win win situation on our hands. For us, we were going to get a new style that was 100% grounded in the existing skillset of the team. And for Hannah, well, she was going to have a live product.

We picked three some part rolls of fabric and we agreed that Hannah could pretty much do what she wanted.

She made one simple design. By adding lace to the waist we have a second design. By adding lace to the waist and the legs we have a third. By adding lace to the legs only we have a fourth.

Now we consider ourselves to be pretty good at making things do many jobs but this was beyond our wildest dreams. Remember we said above that Hannah just *got* us – this was the evidence, She really, really did.

We usually name our pants via facebook polls after women who have been forgotten but we think you’ll agree that these are definitely Hannah Pants. The style with elastic on the waist will be called May, and the third Steph – both names that are important to Hannah. The fourth we’re still mulling over.

Hannah Pants will launch on the 25th July. There are 81 pairs in total, split (not equally) between three colours and across our usual size range. Some are already reserved.

We genuinely hope you love them and will pass all feedback to Hannah.

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What do you want your pants to be?

Who Made Your pants? is about two things – amazing pants and amazing women. We’ve been delivering training and making jobs for women who need them since 2008 and making pants for women who want to know who made them since 2009. Right now there are just ten of us employed – eight women who are refugees and two of us who are British born and raised, and our volunteer Gill too. But with a waiting list of 75 more women who want jobs, and more women knocking on the door regularly, we’re keen to keep doing both for a while longer.

We’ve a problem though. We get asked for images of women in our pants – women want to know where they sit on their body. And we’ve never felt that we have found a way that we can do this without sexualising or objectifying the women involved. Since we started way back in 2008, we’ve accrued just three publicity images of women, made for us, pro bono, back in 2010, and aside from those, we’ve just got pictures of our pants.

As a democratic organisation, we as team have talked a lot at Who Made Your Pants? about what sort of images we’d like and that we feel comfortable with and that we think sum up what we think our pants are about. And for us that’s about strength, and fun. Our pants create jobs – that’s pretty strong. And our factory is a fun place to be. We’ve looked together at magazines, trade press, websites and catalogues. And what we’ve found is that the images seem to be either highly sexualised, utterly passive, or of slices of woman. None of us think that they show what we think our pants are about. And so we want to find a new way.

We think that there is more to women than their sexuality. We all agree that women can be (if and when they want to be) sexy and sexual – but we just don’t think women should have to be – or have only that choice of how to be perceived, or to perceive themselves. We all want pants for the days we’re just *being*. So, we’ve talked and got nowhere. But recently, I was speaking to Lucy from No More Page 3 and she suggested that instead of trying to answer this question ourselves, we could ask YOU. Get many brains onto the problem. And we all thought that was a great idea. We’d ask for YOUR ideas on how we can do this and then we, as a team, will pick the idea we think best represents our work and we’ll do a photoshoot using that idea.

We’ve had one idea that we loved – superheroes! And so on Monday we took some pants to London and met our our longtime friend and supporter Ros, and her friend and longtime collaborator Flo. Ros is a student, writer, model and spinal surgery survivor. Flo is a photographer and bookbinder who loves working with people in an unobtrusive and natural way. They’ve been friends since they were small and you can just see how well they get on in the pictures they’ve taken before.   We had a great day – Ros was diving in and out of phone boxes and leaping about training her cape. Two little girls asked if she was a superhero and wanted their picture taken with her which was wonderful.

We’ll share these pictures in a few weeks when we’re going to be kicking off the appeal for ideas formally too and then we’ll make the decision with the team in September. But in the meantime – tell us. What do you want your pants to be? How do you want that to be represented?   We’re so looking forward to finding new ways of making great images with YOU!

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Summer, summer, summer time

As you may well have seen, this summer our team are taking an extended break. The factory is closed until September but we’re here in the office all the way through – apart from three days.

We are going to be closed on July 7th and 8th, and then again on July 23rd and there will be a number of afternoons when there is no-one around either.

Now you may have heard us say this before but it bears saying again. We really are a tiny, tiny team – just one woman, me, employed full time in the office, Catherine is employed part time in the office and works mornings, and then we have our wonderful volunteer Gill who does three part days in the middle of the week. There’s no customer service team, no marketing department, no IT team. Oh how we look forward to the days when we have those people!

On July 7th there won’t be any of us in Southampton at all. Office Manager Catherine and I are going to be in London all day on our second ever photo shoot (the last, which gave use the image top right here, was four years ago!). Given that we’re an hour and a half away in Southampton, this is going to be a long long day for us – and so we’re going to be closed on Tuesday too, to recover.

And then on Wednesday the 23rd, we’re going to be closed too. We’re doing two things that day. We’re going to spend the morning working on some Big Complicated Changes to our shop to make it work better for you and work faster for us, and then, I am taking Office Manage Catherine and volunteer Gill out for the afternoon. I am going to buy them lunch and some drinks and say a huge thank you to them both for all the work they do. They both put in so much time and love and sheer hard graft to keep WMYP going that I want to love them right back and say thank you.

And then we”ll be back, bright and breezy, on the 24th.

There are also a few days where I will be away – at an awards presentation, pitching for £10,000; at the hospital (eek) and on supplier and other factory visits. On those days, there will be no-one around in the afternoons but we will pick up and respond to emails and voice messages the very next working day.

Now feels like a good time to say, too, thank you to YOU. So many of you have been with us for so long. Right now we’re growing – and there have been growing pains. We’ve let some people down recently and we need to work out how we can best use the limited staffing we have in the office to best effect to get us good and big so that we CAN have a customer service team, a marketing department and an IT department. We don’t want to let you down. We want to get big, make more jobs and continue giving YOU good pants days. We hope you”ll enjoy being along for the ride with us.

Thank you :)



**EDIT July 18th – We’ve also just found out that I am a finalist in an award and need to do a presentation in Birmingham! It’s at 10 am on Tuesday 29th so I’ll be travelling up in the afternoon of Monday 28th July, meaning that there will be no-one around then either.





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Dinner for two, with a view

It’s not often that you get to watch ferries and container ships pass by

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out of your window while you eat your dinner but that’s exactly what happened just over a week ago, when I was able to take our wonderful placement student Hannah to a great local restaurant.

Kuti’s is a well known name in good food in Southampton and the surrounding areas. They have four restaurants and when they asked for bloggers to go and eat and review the Royal Thai Pier I have to say I jumped at the chance.

I’d booked for a post work dinner on a Monday night. Hannah was coming to the end of her time with us and I wanted to take her somewhere lovely as she’d worked so hard and contributed so much to WMYP. The Royal Pier looks beautiful as you approach it and from the moment the door was opened by a smiling woman who ushered us in, I knew we were in for a lovely time.

The weather was good and we were able to sit next to a window in the Waterfront View Room and idly watch sail boats and container ships pass each other. At 6.30 we were only the second table of diners but by the time we left, the room was happily buzzy.

Kuti’s talks about the service being ‘discreet’ which is is but it’s attentive too, so you’re never left waiting long. We ordered the vegetarian set meal for two and this is the ONLY Thai restaurant I have ever been to that acknowledged immediately that this meant there would be no fish sauce or oyster sauce, and, ‘sorry, but the prawn crackers aren’t suitable’ for me as they aren’t vegetarian. Given that there is another Thai restaurant in Southampton which specifically states on it’s menu that ‘none of our dishes are vegetarian’ this made me feel immensely cheered and considered –  the standard offer for vegetarians is still, in many places, ‘well you could have that without the meat’ that consideration is something that I will happily pay for.

Our starter of vegetable tempura and other treats didn’t last very long – we had cycled there after moving loads of things around in the factory so were both pretty hungry. I can only show you what was left

photo 2 (1)


Not much!

The tempura was so light we spent a good few minutes musing on how it had been achieved. And the dips in their own right were amazing – and after this picture was taken most of what was left on the bottom of those little bowls was scraped out by us.

Then came the main course.  It was presented so prettily it was (almost) a shame to demolish and was served very nicely by the staff – I can’t commend them enough to be honest.


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It included a luscious green curry, and two dishes I’d never tried before – sauteed aubergines with chillies and sweet basil in salted bean sauce, and sauteed fresh tofu with cashew nuts in chilli oil. Aubergine and tofu have – in my experience – tended to easily become slimy puddles of sadness but in both cases here the flavours and textures were perfect. No slime – that’s what we like! Along with this we also had stir-fried mixed vegetables in soya sauce and steamed Thai fragrant rice.

We entertained the possibility of pudding but it was struggle to even manage the fragrant Jasmine tea.

By 8pm we had two very happy, full tummies. I hadn’t mentioned when I arrived that I was there with a view to write a review, but I did when I paid and the Operations Director Kamal came to meet me. He talked to me about what we do at WMYP and told me – as I already knew – that Kuti’s are big supporters of the local community. I particularly love that they are licenced for civil ceremonies – Southampton has precious little public access to the water and this would be a gorgeous place to celebrate.

I’m genuinely happy to say that the meal was delicious, the service faultless and the whole thing flawless.

If you do get the chance to go to The Royal Thai pier I hope you take it. Sometimes, when the cruise ships go out, there are fireworks and you could have dinner here and then stand outside (or stay in the warm) and watch them. Hannah and I both had a lovely time there and I hope Kuti’s continue satisfying tummies and supporting local activity for many years to come.

Most of our dinner was on the house so this counts as a sponsored post. But I’ll be going there again and paying. Worth every penny.




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Will you help us? We want to challenge the whole way pants (and women) are pictured.

Next week we’re going to be in London – Hartland Road, near Camden market from 12-2 and Trafalgar Square from 4-6. And we want YOU to come along and answer us one question.

What three words sum up what you want from your pants?

We’re asking you this because we have a conundrum.

Here at Who Made Your Pants? we’ve always said we’re about two things. Amazing women and amazing pants. And it’s true. We think that our pants are gorgeous, and wonderful – they create jobs. How cool is that? And at the same time they are a little bit of fabulous for you, every day. They’re not about being looked at, about seducing, pleasing or appealing to anyone but you, the woman wearing them. They’re not about sexy.

We want images of amazing women wearing our pants. We don’t want to sexualise or objectify (and by that we mean that ‘slice of torso wearing pants’ style of shot as much as anything else) women. We want to show the amazingness of women – their strength, activity, liveliness, power, grace, sense of fun. And that pants don’t have to be about sexy. And in fact, they’re most often not.

But we really can’t think of many ways to take those kinds of shots. No pillow fights or ‘look we two girrrrls just happened to be in the same room pouting at each other’ – you know the type of thing we mean. So we want you to help us come up with new ways of doing things. When you tell us what you want from your pants we can start to use those ideas to help us.

And THEN it gets MORE exciting.

We’re working with Observer Ethical Awards ‘Best Dressed’ winner 2013 Ros Jana, and Dulux/Guardian photography competition winner Florence Fox and some other super (at the moment secret) women on this and we’re going to use these first answers to launch a photography competition this summer.

We’re going to ask EVERYONE WHO WILL LISTEN how they think we could style, shoot and make these images – and then one brilliant idea-haver will see their idea come to life later this year with a photo shoot, a wonderful model and a great photographer and it will be used to launch a new style of our pants.

So. There are three ways you can help

1. Come and find us in London 7th July and tell us what you want from your pants. Camden 12-2 and Trafalgar Square 4-6. We will be making ourselves obvious.

2. If you can’t join us, take a selfie/make a video telling us ONE WORD that sums up what you want from your pants and share it with us on twitter @whomadeyour instagram @whomadeyourpants #whatiwantfrommypants

3. Start thinking about how YOU would show women being amazing, in pants, and tell us on twitter @whomadeyour instagram @whomadeyourpants

We will build a montage of photos and clips that we and you take of YOU telling us this and then share that to help us get MORE ideas.

We want to change the way women are seen. We think we’re about more than being sexy. And we can’t wait to hear your  ideas for making that happen.

EDIT – July 2nd. We say above that the photo shoot later in the year will feature ‘a wonderful model’ – this is not to say that the winning idea has to include a single, solitary woman. It could includes twenty or two hundred women, – surprise us!

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Wedding bells are ringing in the changes

This summer, our lovely supervisor Zuhra is getting married. We’re all very excited for her and have asked for lots of photos.

There’s a tiny thing though. Zuhra is getting married – in Afghanistan. And she’s going to be away for a grand total of ten weeks.

Zuhra is – frankly – indispensable. We can’t run the factory without her. And so, after discussing various options with the team, we’ve agreed that they will have an extended summer break. The shop side of things will remain very much open – and we’ve been offering extra hours to ensure we’re stocked up – but the actual machines will stay silent from the middle of June until the middle of September.

As well as that, we have another team member who needs to go home for eight weeks, and one who is already away. It’s hard when families are far away – there is a balance to find that gives people the time to see their relatives but that also keeps us running with enough people around, too.

The team are actually pretty happy. This time covers Ramadan which is hard (and actually risky – needles! knives! machines!) to work through when it’s hot and one is fasting. And it covers the school summer holidays and a lot of small people are happy that Mum will be at home with them.

It’s going to be VERY quiet for us in the office, and we’ve (only half jokingly) suggested that the team leave us some lovely lunch in the freezer – we’ll miss Zuhras spinach and her mum’s bread, Samia’s aubergine and Yasmein’s beans – but we’ll have plenty to keep us busy and we’ll have a bright and shiny newly organised and better space ready for our lovely team when they come back.

So. We’ll be around – will you keep us company? We hope so!

With love from us all

Becky and the team x

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WINNERS of our Vagenda competition!

Thanks to everyone who entered our #badpantsday competition with The Vagenda!

We had so many great entries and tired cliche that it might sound, we really struggled to pick! The out and out winner of first prize, winning The Vagenda’s ‘A Zero Tolerance guide to The Media’, a Who Made Your Pants? T shirt and a £25 Who Made Your Pants? voucher was @BeccaMeriel who said… Monkeys stole all my freshly washed pants I’d hung on some bushes to dry in Thailand.  I swear they were laughing at me as they disappeared into the trees. :)

Second prize, a copy of The Vagenda’s ‘A Zero Tolerance guide to The Media’, a Who Made Your Pants? T shirt, goes to Iona who submitted her story by email. We had a lot of accidental flashing stories but this was quite spectacular…


‘Years ago I lived in a grotty bedsit and had run out of clean clothes, having just one long floaty hippy dress left to wear, with nothing else apart from sandals and a hat. So I headed to the nearest launderette and poked everything I owned apart from said floaty dress into the washer. Then I headed off to the pub for a pint while the washing sploshed about. It was a hot Saturday, and as I walked towards the pub near the cross in the centre, through the crowds of shoppers, there was a sudden gust of wind which picked up the floaty dress and flung it over my head, revealing to a packed street that I had no pants on! I needed two pints after that!




Three runners up will each receive a copy of The Vagenda’s ‘A Zero Tolerance guide to The Media’ (and we’ll slip in a £5 voucher too)
They are…

Dr Laura  - tried cutting off a ridiculously large label. Ended up cutting impromptu peephole into my pants

Lynda Saul for her tales of woe –  hubby & I both mistook my massive maternity pants for a moses basket sheet. also-forgot new pants @ hospital after baby-hubby went to buy -came back with massive mens boxers

And finally Lynne Hughes I mooned hubby after getting out of the shower on Fri – I also “sunnied” the builders on the roof opposite. Sigh

Thanks everyone! We’ll be in touch soon with your prizes!

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Show us your drawers! (Or, pants mean prizes!)


We were sent LOTS of lovely knicker drawer pictures recently

This one, above, was from Dawn. The team LOVED seeing them. And we’d love to see more. So, starting now, we’re going to run a quarterly knicker draw(er).

Send us pictures of your pants collection or knicker drawer and and once a quarter, one lucky pants fan will win a £25 voucher! 

Draw(er)s will take place at the end of May, August and November and will be announced in our newsletters and  via social media.  (EDIT 14.16 May 9th – any pics we’ve received so far are automatically entered in this first draw)

Send your pictures in any way you like! Snail mail is fine or….

Email hello@whomadeyourpants.co.uk
tweet @whomadeyour and tag #knickerdrawer
Instagram and tag #knickerdrawer
Upload to facebook

We can’t wait to see your pictures!

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The end is the beginning is the end. Or, more on man pants.

Man pants. Man pants. Oh man pants.

Many of you have been asking us about man pants. And now we have had some conversations, made some decisions – and we have some news.

The long and the short of it is that man pants are on hold for a while. The reason? Our way of sourcing fabric for woman pants doesn’t work for man pants. No matter how much we try to make it.

Let me explain…

We source all our fabrics from what big factories throw away. Turning what others see as waste into treasure has always been a fundamental part of who we are and how we design – we find fabrics and design to them, rather than designing pants and then sourcing fabrics. Buying the way we do means that  we make short runs – everything is limited edition.

In our experience, and based on what we have been told by people who support us, women tell us that they like lots of variety – and men have said to us many times, if you make something I like I will buy ten pairs.

That presents us with a problem. In fashion/retail language that means that men seem to want ‘continuity’ items more than women do. And our way of sourcing is set up in totally the opposite way. Much more serendipitous treasure hunt than continuity. We’ve been trying to push the square peg of sourcing for a continuity item into the round hole of our supply chain and it hasn’t worked and so we’ve decided that we’re just going to have to treat man and woman pants differently. We’re going to find a fabric that we like, that we can support on environmental and ethical grounds, and that will make great pants. We’re going to get elastic made in the UK to our specification. And then when we can do those two things, man pants will be back.

We want to get this right so we’re not going to rush. We’re enormously grateful that you want us to make these – and we will. Those few of you out there that have the already, we hope you continue to love them. And we look forward to sharing our new Man Pants with you as soon as we can.

Watch this space….



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Rana Plaza, one year on.

It’s the anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse today. Over 1000 people died, and over 2500 people were rescued alive after the eight storey building collapsed, under 24 hours after workers left because of  huge cracks in a wall. That’s over 3500 people directly affected by the collapse – and many of those will have been the only wage earners in their families, with others depending on them. Thousands – literally thousands – of people have been affected by this tragedy.

We know that people have hard choices to make here in the UK about where they spend their money. We know that people all around the world want jobs, and we know that calling for a boycott won’t help those people who want to put their own wages in their own pocket. But we think work can be better than that. We think that people are basically pretty good. We think that that most people don’t think much about where their clothes come from because they presume that, like them, people doing jobs all around the world will be decent and won’t treat people badly. We genuinely believe that when people find out what goes on behind the scenes, they don’t want to be part of it. And we want to show that it is possible to do good, made great products and run a successful business.

We’re proud to tell you Who Made Your Pants? We’re proud of our factory, our team, our products, our lunch breaks, the way we talk to each other and the way you talk to us, and of the way we are growing this tiny business. We’re so proud that YOU like that we do.

Most blogs I write are about offers, news, promotions. And yes, there’s a chance to shop/help here – we’re going to give 15% of any sales we take today to Raising for Rana who are raising funds directly for those still affected – but if you do nothing else today, perhaps just take a moment to reflect. Be grateful that you haven’t had to work in somewhere like Rana Plaza. Maybe today think about how much richer most of us are in countries like the UK than many are in Bangladesh – running water, safer housing and strict labour laws for a start. And maybe just remember those people. They were treated badly and we will not forget them.

We can all be part of the change we want to see in the world – tiny steps are as valuable as huge leaps. We’re glad to be walking forward towards a better world with YOU.

With love


Becky, Batol, Catherine, Dina, Gill, Sacdiya, Samia, Selina, Setara, Yasmein, Zuhra


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