FLUX: Bleeding Free in Britain with Zero Waste by Natasha Piette Basheer
Last week, FLUX Founder and CEO, Paige Fashoni, shared with WEN her vision for her brand of “the world's most comfortable, versatile, and technologically advanced underwear. Period-proof, odourless, quick-dry, and detachable.” FLUX period underwear would make the use of tampons, pads and cups as ‘back-up’ redundant, and the underwear can be washed and reused similarly to any other pair of underwear.
Innovative menstrual technologies such as FLUX are hitting the UK market, just as period poverty in Britain has gained high-profile attention (see petition and a protest on parliament square scheduled for 20th December). Paige Fashoni of FLUX intends to participate in the Free Periods protest which aims to call on Theresa May and the British Government to provide free menstruation products for all girls already on free school meals.
Fashoni, a 25-year-old native Londoner, has always suffered from heavy periods since the onset of her menstruation - to the point where she had to change pads every hour. She never wanted to use tampons because of her fear of the potential health risks. She had been to A&E at least five times either thinking that she may have left a tampon in for too long, or that she could get Toxic Shock Syndrome. Pads were uncomfortable for her and she always hoped for the best when it came to leakage mishaps. All of this is what initially led her to think there should be something you can wear to manage your period, and something menstruators could rely on.
With over 200,000 tonnes of sanitary waste produced in the UK alone, and nearly half of British women flushing sanitary items down the loo, “I wanted to create something that eliminated all of the waste that comes with tampons and pads” said Fashoni. While acknowledging menstrual cups are a very sustainable option, Fashoni recognises that not all people want to use products that involve insertion or may have mobility issues that prevent them from using them. And that is what motivated her to make FLUX.
When asked about the multi-functional features and technology used for the underwear, Fashoni gave WEN a breakdown of the “eco-friendly, machine washable, anti-microbial, comfortable, leak-proof, four-way stretch, moisture wicking, and detachable” FLUX panties. The outer layer is made from regenerated nylon waste called “ECONYL”. ECONYL is sourced from things like fishing nets and other marine litter that end up in our oceans. This waste is sent to the ECONYL waste treatment center where it is regenerated into a sustainable fabric. Fashoni describes ECONYL as “eliminating the waste that we’ve already put [in the ocean] that can’t go anywhere now, and turning it into something we can use while saving our oceans”. The top layer lining of FLUX is moisture-wicking fabric like cotton, sitting atop a layer of bamboo that works to absorb the blood. The bottom layer is a tightly woven, impermeable fabric that prevents leaks from occurring.
WEN was especially interested in the eco-friendliness of the application of silver fibres that functions as an anti-bacterial agent in FLUX panties. Admittedly, there is a need for more research into the environmental risks involved with silver treated garments. When washed, the silver particles can leak into the environment and could raise the risk that bacteria will gradually become resistant to their effect. Once this was raised with Fashoni when she met with WEN last week, she immediately said she would look into this further.
Period pants could significantly reduce the amount of menstrual waste produced each year. They may also be a great solution for girls and those who are just beginning to menstruate, to transition into a non-intrusive and comfortable way of managing their periods. What is more, the FLUX panties are proudly based on inclusivity and a taboo-breaking approach. The period underwear brand is proudly and purposefully for people of all shapes, sizes, gender identities, colours and abilities. The versatility of the underwear makes it accessible and a promising alternative to the conventional products that are heavily marketed and sold to women and those who menstruate. FLUX panties can last up to five years, saving you the financial struggle in recurrently buying single-use disposable products.
Find out more about FLUX period pants and contribute to the crowdfunding campaign via this link. The crowdfunding campaign ends on January 10th 2018!