Interview with Who Made Your Pants entrepreneur Becky John

Today it’s Becky John founder of

Who Made Your Pants? is about two things. It’s about pants, gorgeous, not guilty, ethical pants. And it’s about women.

Women who’ve had a hard time make these pants and it’s changing their lives.

Photo of Becky John

Becky is a busy woman. Her phone never stops ringing and she spends a worrying amount of time running back and forth to the toilet.

Becky before your next visit to the loo can I just ask where you stand on the debate over pants v knickers as the better word to use.

‘Definitely pants,’ says Becky.  ‘Knickers is an old word and there’s something apologetic about it.  We say pants and are proud of the word, we have nothing to apologise for. Knickers isn’t a good word.’

Thanks Becky.  This is a tricky question and one Boudoir will be debating with key figures in the world of lingerie in the coming weeks.

Becky had the burning idea to set up this campaigning lingerie company six years ago and I would love to ask her if she – like most women – has a worst pants nightmare, but she’s off to the toilet again.

‘I do,‘ said Becky. ‘I can still feel the pain. They were beautiful and lacey with bits of red on them.  I loved them, but everytime I wore them I had red lines round the tops of my legs when I took them off.  It was only when I started working on Who Made Your Pants that I understood why this had happened.  The elastic was clearly too tight.  They looked good and were the right size, but now that I know about the right tension of elastic I know that the design of those pants was wrong.  I now know that you can look great and be comfortable.’

I’ve got to ask Becky the burning question.  ‘Becky, do you have a bladder problem?  You seem very young for so many trips to the bathroom’.

‘The designer is in the building’ explains Becky ‘A couple of us test the new designs and it does mean changing your pants every few hours.  We take our work very seriously.’

Becky’s pants are made from upcycled traditional synthetic lingerie materials, fabrics that would otherwise have been discarded at the end of a season but are in perfectly good order. With her team they make up lace shorts in a variety of colours.  And different types of lace means a different pattern in order to guarantee style and comfort.  Matching the appropriate pattern to the fabric is what makes Becky’s pants stand out in a crowded market.

As the company goes from strength to strength and more factories are planned for the future, Becky has a confession to make.

‘I have always been an underwear junkie’, says Becky.  ‘For me it’s always been about underwear. The french call it foundation garments. They have to fit and feel comfortable.

I buy my underwear with a view to it being the foundation for my clothes.  Why get it wrong when it is so important.  Your clothes will only sit right if your pants sit well.’

And the pants from do sit well.  They lay flat under your clothes with no vpl and they make you feel fabulous.

So does Becky have any tips on what to avoid when buying pants?

‘Yes, most definitely yes’ says Becky.  ‘It’s more a case of what to do than what to avoid.  When you buy pants you have to value yourself.  Invest in your pants, think of them as important. The multi pack briefs are like buying a £2 chicken.  Stop seeing pants as a staple part of your diet, see them as important to how you feel and how your clothes will look.’

Becky believes pants can change the world.

‘We are changing the worlds of the women who make these pants.  The women who work here have all had a hard time.  Most are refugees who struggle in a new country with a new language.  Working here gives them a taste of freedom and independence. 

One of our workers recently passed her driving test.  She paid for this out of her wages and now she is free to travel around Southampton to see friends.  Whereas we take walking or cycling or public transport for granted – this woman didn’t feel confident enough to travel in this way alone.  She was intimidated by bus drivers who sometimes couldn’t understand her accent.  Being able to drive has liberated her.’

And Becky is in full agreement with our Tuesday Tip – Match your bra to your pants

‘I am with french women on this.  I now buy my bras to match the pants we make. I have four bras and they match my pants.’

Boudoir Illusions is all about making women feel fabulous for themselves – a philosophy shared by Becky and her company.

‘Our pants are a little bit of fabulous just for you.  They’re not about sex or boyfriends. They are about making you look and feel amazing.  We want to share that feeling.’

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