This post was sponsored by Zuela, all opinions my own.

Winter is undoubtedly a time for introspection. As the grey clouds have rolled in – and the blankets have rolled around me to transform my outer self into a winter blanket burrito – I’ve found myself looking inwards, reflecting on mental health, personal progresses, and taking better care of ourselves. In recent months I’ve had so many mental health chats with different friends, I can’t help but think that it’s on a lot of minds right now. Not just because the outside world gets more uninviting and naturally invites stillness and contemplation, but also because 2018 has been a hard, long year for many. Politically, environmentally, personally, it has been a lot. But it has also been a time when more individuals have sought the help they need, and more people have opened up about mental health than ever before.

In the wake of this it seemed a fitting time to talk about Zuela, an intimates brand I’ve been following for months now. They equally value sustainability and fighting the mental health stigma, donating a portion of their profits to Mind charity and promoting proper self care and wellness in all we do.

Eco intimates

The idea for Zuela came from founder and CEO Steff’s own experiences with mental health, including depression, anxiety and panic disorder. Alongside counselling and various approaches to treatment, she also began carrying a pocket of crystals in her bra. After many mishaps and losing most of them she began sketching ideas for lingerie designs that also included discreetly designed pockets to carry these crystals, which could also promote and support female mental health overall. It wasn’t long before a full product range was designed and the brand was launched.

Zuela values creating products that are organic, mindful and empowering. Underwear is literally the closest thing we put on our bodies, and can be just as personal to us as our sense of wellbeing. It can bring confidence and put a spring in our step, or can provide a sense of comfort and ease on tough days. Zuela aims for both.

Their super soft fabrics are comprised of bamboo and organic cotton blends which are created in Turkey, and their t-shirts are made from 100% organic cotton. All of their products are manufactured in local factories in Kent or London which they visit regularly, ensuring sustainable production, good working conditions, and intricate craftsmanship. Their packaging is all reusable or recyclable and comprised of recycled materials, and they strive to be as paperless as they can and keep energy consumption as low as possible. Their crystals are also all ethically directly sourced from Madagascar.

The main area that Zuela is looking to improve is the lace they use; it’s currently made of nylon but they’re already seeking an eco friendly alternative for the next collection. Alongside creating a product that is beautiful and functional, they’re dedicated to constant improvement, transparency and dialogue in their supply chain and production too.

Designed for comfort & balance

Zuela have a range of products on their website, designed for different tastes and needs of each individual body. I have the Self Love Slip Dress in black (which gives some serious Rachel from Friends vibes), The Quartz Underwear Set in white and the Positive Pants t-shirt. They’re all wonderfully comfortable and soft, but it’s definitely the Quartz Set that is the stand out for me right now. I’m a really tough body shape when it comes to underwear, as I have both curves and a really small waist, but this crop top style of bra actually fits me perfectly (because honestly it’s always a wild card for me) while still providing support. I wore it non stop from the minute it dropped on my doorstep, and I really really love it.

Zuela’s ultimate goal is to create ethical products that provide confidence we didn’t know we had; helping us feel empowered, balanced and at ease with ourselves. I definitely get this feeling in the Quartz Bra. It’s so comfortable that I completely forgot I was wearing it, and I didn’t have to deal with straps slipping down, waistbands wriggling around or the discomfort of something that just isn’t sitting right. Clothes aren’t going to change our inner lives all on their own, that’s where things like therapy come in, but they do make existing in the world a little easier by removing those small discomforts that can really add up when you’re already feeling beaten down. I know for me when my mental health gets bad it can be hard to even get dressed in the morning, and the smallest thing can set off an anxiety attack, so having things that make life simpler and remove irritants can be incredibly helpful.

And plus the profits that Zuela donate to Mind charity also help vital mental health services be delivered on a larger level. Mind do really important work including providing advice and support to individuals, campaigning to improve services, raising awareness, and promoting understanding to change the conversations we are having around mental health and making sure every gets the support and respect they deserve. Zuela are dedicated to using their work to create safe spaces where we can talk about how we’re doing, and if their contributions spark conversation, encourage empathy and help women to feel a little better in the morning, then they are happy.

There are many reasons to love Zuela. Their underwear designs are comfortable, supportive, and beautiful. Their t-shirts are super soft, cosy and cute. They produce ethically and sustainably, and are always looking for ways to grow and improve. But more than anything, I value their dedication to mental health support, encouraging others to speak up about their experiences and seek help, and working towards a world where everyone is able to access the support they deserve. Mental health is complex, vital and ignored far too often, so I’m happy to discover and support brands who are keen to drive the change and destroy the stigma once and for all.

You can shop more of Zuela’s products here