Admit it: it’s been a year of sweats, ponytails, and fuzzy slippers. And the key to pulling it off with confidence lies not on the surface but rather, according to Knickey cofounder Cayla O’Connell Davis, what lies beneath. More specifically, what lies at the very foundation of your wardrobe—what lies next to your skin all day and all night. Slip into a pair of perfectly-fitting knickers made from organic cotton, and you’re bound to not only feel comfortable, but confident. And that’s always sexy.
Davis started her undergarment company in the fall of 2017 with friend Lauren Sagadore, whom she met while they were both studying fashion at New York’s prestigious Parsons School of Design. By the time they launched, they were already experiencing incredible momentum. Vogue featured them within their first seven days. They sold out of what they thought would be six months’ worth of inventory in just six weeks. And last November, they partnered with Canadian ethical fashion curator Morgan Hamel, who helped them tap into the Canadian market—where they sold out of all their holiday inventory in just four days.
Even during the pandemic, Knickey has flourished. Perhaps people just want to feel good during a truly awful time. It might “just” be underwear to some, but “it’s a garment that can support you and make you feel comfortable, like second skin," says Davis via phone. “And that can empower the wearer.”
In a sea of choices, consumers happily pay for Knickey’s premium organic undies. Not only are they a superior product, but they enable consumers to actively participate in a more ethical supply chain. While completing her master’s degree, Davis concentrated on sustainability issues in the fashion industry and was convinced that in order for an organic, fair-trade, non-GMO garment to make a lasting impact, it needed to be a high-frequency product. This is why she focused on base layers—they’re items we all use every day and will continue to need and replace.
Knickey’s production process starts with non-GMO organic cotton seeds that are sown and hand-picked on an organic farm in India. Next they move to an organic ginner (where fibers are separated, cleaned, and combed), then to an organic spinner (where the yarn is created). Then the yarn is sent to an organic fair-trade factory where it becomes fabric, and that fabric becomes Knickey underwear. Finally, they arrive in New York City, where orders are fulfilled in fully recyclable, plastic-free packaging.
Equally important to Davis is educating people about why it’s important for underwear to be made of organic fabric. “You need to know what you’re putting on your skin. We know what kinds of food we eat. We know what’s in our makeup and perfume. We definitely should be approaching clothing the same way,” says Davis. “Proximity to internal organs is something you should consider as a consumer.”
So while very few people will ever get to see your undies, they might just be the most important piece of clothing you put on—and the most comfortable. Knickey’s High-Rise Brief (which accounts for 40 per cent of the brand’s sales) has a bit of a cult following. “The High-Rise Brief is what people need right now. It’s comfortable, it’s cozy, it feels like a hug. It couldn’t be more timely,” promises Davis (although her personal favorite is the Low-Rise Thong). If that isn’t enough of an incentive, stay tuned for their next drop this spring, which will include their first foray into bralettes. If we have to stay home, we might as well be as comfortable as possible.