Company Spotlight: Subset

By prioritizing environmentally responsible practices, sustainable materials, and ethical production, Subset puts integrity and accountability over greenwashing.

March 22, 2024


Essential innerwear you deserve, earth-friendly processes you can trust. You might not think about essentials like underwear on the daily, but Subset (formerly Knickey) does. 

Combining function with ease, Subset’s essential innerwear is sustainable from the start, so you can have the basics you need to live everyday, better. 

In this blog, we’ll dive into the materials, manufacturing, brand story, and why we love them. Let’s dive in! 

Brand Story

It all started with Knickey – a company launched in 2018 with a primary focus on organic cotton intimates. While their name changed to Subset in 2023, the foundation and core values stayed the same: sustainable intimates that combine function with ease.

Founders Cayla O’Connell Davis and Lauren Sagadore bring over a decade of product, supply chain and sustainability experience to the Subset mission. 

“With our update to Subset, we bring you back to basics by reinvigorating something that has always worked – a selective edit of everyday essentials in organic cotton, that will carry you through all the stages of your life.” 

By prioritizing environmentally responsible practices, sustainable materials, and ethical production, Subset prioritizes integrity and accountability over greenwashing.

But they know merely employing eco-friendly and impact-reducing techniques isn’t enough to transform a product into something exceptional. Their fit-first designs are crafted to enhance both the body and the environment, offering you unparalleled comfort.

Sustainability Initiatives 

Quality products come from quality manufacturers. To create their eco-friendly intimates, Subset partners with values-aligned manufacturers and rely on third-party certifications like GOTS, Fair Trade, and OEKO-Tex to verify their claims. 

Step 1: Organic Farm

An organic farm in Gujarat, India grows Subset’s non-GMO certified organic cotton. Organic cotton is free from fungicides and toxic insecticides and is handpicked at harvest. Their partner prioritizes creating jobs for local communities and reducing energy use by handpicking cotton – instead of using traditional machinery like combines. 

Step 2: Fiber Separation

Once harvested, the cotton gets shipped south to Tamil Nadu, India, where it enters a certified organic facility for the ginning process: where fibers are separated from cotton seeds to be cleaned and combed.

Step 3: Cotton Spinning Facility

From there, the fibers are sent to neighboring city Tirupur where they are spun into spools of yarn using a certified organic spinner. Now the cotton is ready to become fabric!

Step 4: Organic Fair Trade Factory

Now the yarn is knitted into bolts of fabric that are dyed and finished with OEKO-TEX Certified materials – which means they are free from harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and bleach. After this process, it is cut and sewn by ethically treated workers into Subset innerwear. 

This supplier in India installed rooftop solar panels in 2021, which provide 60% of the factory’s energy needs.

Step 5: Ready to Go

Your Subset order is then packed and shipped from their Brooklyn, NY headquarters. All shipping and product packaging is 100% plastic-free and carbon neutral.

Recycle Your Rejects

When you toss old underwear, they head straight to the landfill. Yikes! Subset partners with SuperCircle to offer the first-ever intimate recycling program. They take your ready-to-retire items and turn them into new materials like insulation, carpet padding and furniture batting.

Today, they accept underwear, bras, socks, and tights. Plus, when you participate, you’ll get $25 off your next Subset order. Win win! 

To date, this program has recycled over 1 million items. That’s over 69,000 pounds of fabric! 

Climate Neutral Certified 

Since 2021, Subset has been a Climate Neutral Certified Business. This means they have completely offset their emissions from their products, materials, and manufacturing. 

They do this through best-in-class Climate Neutral-approved carbon credits that are verified by the most reputable carbon registries in the world. Each year they select a different project that is aligned with their values. Right now, they are focusing on programs in Kenya that uplift women as well as supporting local families in India. 

Impact Report

Subset believes in transparency. This is why they release a comprehensive Impact Report each year that gives you all the details on their current supply chain and emissions, plus where they hope to improve.

Today, 92.1% of their products are made with organic cotton – but they have big goals to become 100% natural, 100% organic, and 100% recycled in the future.

Plus, on each product page, they break down the carbon footprint, water savings, and land area saved from pesticides of the product you’re shopping. This helps their community understand the impact of choosing more sustainable materials – and pushes other brands to showcase the impact of their products. 

Explore their entire Impact Report: 

Subset & Karma Wallet

Better fit, better materials, and better for our planet. There’s many reasons to love Subset. Don’t believe us? Explore their men’s and women’s innerwear below! 

We’re proud to announce that Subset is a part of the Karma Collective – our community of brands bringing you discounts and cashback through the Karma Wallet Card. Ready to start earning cashback with Subset? Join the movement below.