Can a traditional US workwear brand be recycled into a new recycling brand? Yes, it can. It's the story of The Big Favorite (TBF), a brand founded in the 1930s known for selling reliable cotton workwear for hard-working Americans.

In 2020, Eleanor Turner, nephew of The Big Favorite's founder, has taken the brand’s high-quality and reliable roots and repurposed them for launching new daily basic underwear and undershirts based upon circularity. Today the brand offers super soft, well-fitting, 100% recyclable Pima cotton tees, tops, and underwear.

Jeans by The Big Favorite
Photo: The Big Favorite
Jeans by The Big Favorite
"Our goal is to set a new, zero-waste standard for American basics, beginning with the perfect first layers like undershirts and underwear. The past provides our foundation, but the future is our favorite," explained Turner, an expert insider in the fashion industry, co-founding the women’s apparel brand Argent and designing for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch and J. Crew.
Eleanor Turner, founder, The Big Favorite
Photo: The Big Favorite
Eleanor Turner, founder, The Big Favorite
Turner saw a big gap in the industry and set a legacy brand that runs on a circular, earth-friendly system. She started with undergarments, the one category remaining that can’t be donated or resold, and set the goal to change fashion’s footprint from the bottom up.

As in the world five million kilos of underwear go in landfill every day, she decided to start a take-back program for the brand's undergarments with the aim to divert typical textile waste from landfills and transform it into new yarn.

She designs undergarments that are long-lasting, accessible, and easy to recycle as an alternative to today’s take-make-waste status quo. She also recreated the idea of underwear many associate with the cardboard feel and outdated fit of average department store undergarments with super soft plastic-free Pima cotton that deoesn't itch when one takes them off.
Bikini briefs by The Big Favorite
Photo: The Big Favorite
Bikini briefs by The Big Favorite
TBF uses selected Pima cotton for its longer staple fiber, which not only feels better on skin but is also easier to break down in the recycling process. It offers three color variants only, as less dyeing means a more focused selection, which is more earth-friendly. The desire to operate in a balanced way also extends beyond production. For this, TBF works with suppliers in Peru who pay fair wages.

Participating TBF's Circular Saving Process is easy. Once a TBF piece is worn out, any consumer can wash the item and scan the QR code on the garment's label or find instructions in its website to create a free shipping label and send it via USPS mail. When the company receives the shipment, it will grant a “forever discount” for a future purchase, or can be donated to a good cause. The company will recapture the under stuff, sanitize it, and partner with textile recyclers to shred it and turn it into new yarn to be used again.
T-Shirt by The Big Favorite
Photo: The Big Favorite
T-Shirt by The Big Favorite
TBF sells via e-commerce at prices that range from US$14 for a bikini brief, US$22 for a tank top, US$25 for a t-shirt, and US$48 for a turtleneck.



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