Founder of Compostable Underwear Brand Kent Is on a Mission to Save the Earth One Basic at a Time

Welcome to 10 Questions, a weekly series that explores L.A. through the eyes of its coolest citizens.

Kent founder Stacy Anderson
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Kent founder Stacy Anderson
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Kent compostable underwear
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Kent compostable underwear

Ever wondered what happens to your underwear after you're ready to part ways with it? The thought never crossed our minds either. That's until we discovered Kent – the fashion label that specializes in eco-conscious and compostable underwear.

Kent's founder, Stacy Grace, is on a mission to help save the planet, one basic at a time. The Canadian who now calls L.A. home, began her career in sustainable business consulting across apparel, consumer goods, and entertainment. She created Kent after one, realizing her underwear drawer was full of scratchy, unbreathable, uncomfortable, and synthetic underwear; and two, she couldn't find a pair of 100% cotton underwear – let alone organic – that matched her simple everyday style. With underwear and packaging made exclusively from plant-based materials that are fully biodegradable and compostable, Kent checks all those boxes.

Influenced by her graduate studies in sustainability and work with start-ups disrupting the textile space, and channeling her Canadian roots of backyard gardening and composting, Stacy set out to design her own natural briefs and basics. This meant creating a line that catered to women and didn't have as harsh an impact on the environment as other underwear brands on the market.

Underwear is one of the most difficult articles of clothing to dispose of – it can't be donated or resold – and is often thrown in the trash at end of life. This contributes to an estimated 11 million pounds of undergarments in landfills daily in the U.S. And because the majority of underwear are made from fossil-fuel based, synthetic (aka plastic) materials like polyester, nylon, and spandex, they stay in landfills for more than 200 years, emitting methane and carbon dioxide in the process.

In September, Kent launched a Compost Club, closing the loop on waste with the fashion industry's first compost take-back program. The club offers a new kind of circular solution to the growing crisis of textile and clothing waste by diverting waste from landfills and repurposing briefs in the compost to become nutrient-rich soil. Kent customers can purchase a Compost Club shipping label and send the brand their briefs ready for compost with carbon-neutral shipping. Kent's team sorts, sanitizes, and preps them for the compost, and customers receive a credit for future compostable products. Kent briefs are home compostable, meaning you can simply wash, cut up, and pop in.

We caught up with Stacy to learn more about her background, top L.A. spots, and more as part of our weekly '10 Questions' series where we explore L.A. through the eyes of its coolest citizens.

Models wear Kent compostable underwear
Photo: Courtesy of Kent

What's your background? And if not fashion or environmentalism, what was your inspiration for starting Kent?

My background is a bit of business, sustainability, and fashion! I graduated from London College of Fashion (achieving a Masters in Strategic Marketing with distinction), as well as the University of Cambridge's Sustainable Business Leadership Post-Grad program. For my graduate thesis, I proposed new directions on sustainability and luxury branding, which culminated in a capsule collection of graffiti-printed organic silk lingerie. Prior to KENT, I held positions at environmentally and socially-minded luxury brands in the UK and Europe, including Noir and Eco-Boudoir. More recently, I led business development for an artisanal textile social enterprise in the U.S., in addition to stints in architecture, urban design, and wine industries.

My search for sustainable underwear began 10 years ago. I no longer wanted lacy, synthetic and uncomfortable pieces. I believed briefs could be better. I started KENT to provide elevated everyday underwear that are as gentle on our skin as they are on our planet. To create the super natural essentials I've always dreamed of. Each piece is designed to feel better than before. Impeccable fit. Timeless colors. Extra comfy wear. Ultra airy to keep our bodies (and mother earth!) cool. And when they've run their course, our briefs are 100% compostable  – a fashion first. They will disappear, returning to earth as a resource in as little as 90 days! These are the basics I've always wanted. I hope they're what everyone else has been looking for too.

Who were your role models growing up and who are they today?
I've been lucky to have had many strong, visionary, and determined women in my life. Starting with my mum, who built a successful career without traditional education, to my first foray into sustainable fashion with a designer who was trying to challenge the intimate apparel industry over 10 years ago. 

Do you listen to music or podcasts while working? If either, what are your jams or channels currently?

While working, I enjoy instrumental music in the background. Right now, Spotify's "Flow State" playlist. Or if I really need to hunker down, I may listen to one instrumental song on repeat, like Guilty Cubicles by Broken Social Scene.

Photo: Courtesy of Kent

Other than running the business, what does your ideal day look like from waking up to falling asleep?

Meditation, lemon water, breakfast, walk with my pup Sawyer, tea and to-do list, working on one big project (the 'eat the frog' theory really works for me), then perhaps a design challenge to solve, emails, lunch outside, more emails or weekly planning, wrap up work, work out, cook dinner, spend time with my husband, tidy up, read, and sleep!

What about Kent are you most excited about in the next year or so?

We just launched our Compost Club – fashion's first compost take-back program. While still in its infancy, I see this as a game-changing initiative that will come to life in the next two years.

What/who are some of your favorite organizations, people, or initiatives in the animal or environmental stewardship spaces?

I'm inspired by leaders on local, national, and international levels challenging the status quo to make positive change – it really does take all three types of organizations to move the needle. Locally, L.A. Compost is on a mission to bring composting to neighborhoods across the city, while otherwise, people would not have access. The Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA) is a global organization bringing together experts to plan and bring change to our food and farming.

You're sitting down with your 20-year-old and 80-year-old selves. What are those conversations like?

To my 20-year-old self, I would say keep trusting your gut to move your ideas forward. And also, take more time to celebrate wins, big and small. My 80-year-old self, I hope to offer congratulations for helping to influence an industry towards prioritizing body health and planet health over profits.

Kent founder Stacy Anderson
Photo: Courtesy of Kent

Was there anything about your character/personality/experience in childhood that predisposed you to your current calling?

It may sound cliche, though growing up in Canada being surrounded by a sustainable mindset (before 'sustainable' was a word) – from growing our own organic vegetables to curbside composting. In my childhood, I always had a connection to and appreciation for nature.

You're taking a first-time visitor on a one-day tour of L.A. Where are some of your top stops? 

If it's a weekend, I love starting the morning with a hike – either in Angeles Forest or an 'urban hike' through the hills in Silverlake, ending up at the dog park. I live in Highland Park, so we would go back there! With a stroll to pick up coffee / tea at Collage. Poke around the independent shops on York and Figueroa. Then off to the Arts District, potentially an exhibit at Hauser & Wirth. Dinner at Bavel, an incredible Mediterranean restaurant, complete with a nice selection of natural wines.

Which fashion trends are you happy to see fade away and which environment- or animal-focused fashion trends are you happy to see more of?

Spandex! So happy to see the transition away from petro-chemical fossil fuel-reliant fabrics that are essentially plastic, and a move back towards completely natural fibers.

Scroll through the gallery above and check out Kent's website here for more info on Stacy and her heroic label, Kent.

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