Who Makes My Innerwear? - BRANWYN | Performance Innerwear

Who Makes My Innerwear?

Meet Şeyma Çiğdem Uygun, the incredible textile engineer and merchandiser who makes BRANWYN Performance Innerwear come to life.

When Şeyma Çiğdem Uygun was in college, she decided to pursue a career in chemical engineering. Always good at science, she knew this would make for a practical career path. But something a professor said to her stuck and would change the course of her life forever. 

“Chemical engineers generally work with petrol or natural gas,” Şeyma explains. “My professor told me, ‘You are going to be one of the polluters in the world, so you need to know how to clean the world, too.’” 

This advice stuck in Şeyma’s mind and weighed on her conscience. Years later, it propelled her to switch careers to textile engineering. She pursued a master's degree and became passionate about bringing sustainable practices into the apparel industry. Today, she works with BRANWYN to create the world’s first naturally sustainable Merino Performance Innerwear made by and for women. 

We recently sat down with Şeyma to learn more about our amazing merchandiser and to share what it’s really like behind the scenes at BRANWYN… 


How did you become passionate about sustainability? 

Şeyma Çiğdem Uygun: Sustainability is so important. As a consumer, I’ve always tried to consider the production behind whatever I’m buying. 

Another big turning point for me was noticing one day that there was steam coming from a nearby river. I didn’t understand why. It was a nice day and the river water should have been cold. I got in my car to check it out. I realized that there was a dye plant nearby that was cleaning the wastewater by boiling it to adhere to regulations. This is better than things were 50 years ago when companies could release polluted water into our streams, but boiling hot water is not good for nature. It made me realize there are still so many issues. I started looking into how clothes get made and I realized that the textile industry today is still full of pollution—but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

I wanted to help change this industry to become more environmentally focused, ethical, and equal for women. We need to do something to make a better future. This is the water we drink, that’s the home of the fish we eat, we need to improve this for future generations. 

That’s when I decided to go to the UK to get my master’s degree in Textile Sustainability and Innovation.  

How did you end up working with BRANWYN? 

Şeyma: After graduating with my masters, I decided to go back to my country, Turkey, as it’s one of the biggest producers of textiles in the world. I chose to work in seamless knitting, because there are many advantages when it comes to sustainability. For one, you can choose to work with natural fibers like wool. There is also much less waste than in traditional cut-and-sew because you can create the fabric in the size you want rather than cutting which leaves a lot of scraps. 

I was so excited to work with BRANWYN because the company’s ideals of sustainability and women’s empowerment work so well with my own. Together we can push the boundaries of what’s possible in sustainable manufacturing. We support each other and brainstorm new ideas. 

What does a typical workday look like for you? 

Şeyma: I work as a merchandiser so I follow every step of production from developing samples to shipping the goods. Communication is also a key part of my role. We discuss details with the customer, listen to their feedback, and keep them in the loop every step of the way—dying, knitting, packing, etc. 


What’s a day like for the people working to sew the garments? 

Şeyma: Making sure the employees who sew the clothes have a great work environment is so important. Where I work, we have a relaxing atmosphere with set working hours. For a sewer, a typical shift is 8 am to 6 pm with tea breaks from 10–10:30 and 4–4:30 plus lunch from 12 to 1. The employer provides lunch so we don’t need to bring anything from home. The wages are fair and there are opportunities to develop new skills. 

How do you approach your own product purchasing decisions? 

Şeyma: First, I ask myself: Do I really need this? Then I look at how it’s made. A company that’s using a sustainable method should be clear about its production process—if a company doesn’t tell you how its goods are made, that’s a red flag. 

For my own clothing, I choose natural fibers like wool. I think that the most important organ in our body is our skin. You need to be aware of what you are wearing. So many garments are produced by petroleum-based fabrics like polyester and polyamide. Choosing natural fibers is important because it’s actually good for your skin and your health. 


What makes creating for BRANWYN unique? 

Şeyma: Traditional activewear garments use petroleum-based fibers like polyamide, polyester, or elastane. This makes it easier from a production standpoint because synthetic fibers are always uniform and fit easily into a knitting machine. Some companies apply chemicals to make the fibers stronger so they are very easy to knit. 

Merino wool, on the other hand, is a natural fiber. It’s more fragile and as with anything from the earth, isn’t exactly the same every single time. It’s really difficult to get a perfect yarn count, but it’s so worth it. It’s much better for your skin, for your body, and for the earth. 

Do you have any big career goals right now? 

Şeyma: I really want to help educate more people on the importance of sustainability in manufacturing. We really can contribute to the environment in a positive way, and every person has the responsibility to support our earth. I have some plans to develop a social media presence to increase awareness this year.

What do you like to do outside of work? 

Şeyma: I enjoy sports like kickboxing, ice skating, and tennis. I love kickboxing as a woman especially because you can really feel your power and maximize your confidence levels. I also enjoy playing piano to relax. Traveling is another big thing for me—going to other countries has really broadened my horizons. Trips to Japan and Norway are my dream. 

Do you have any recommendations for other women who want to get into textile engineering? 

Şeyma: I’m an engineer and in STEM, there still aren’t many women. I would say for women who want to become engineers, it’s important to trust yourself, never be shy, and stay proud. Try for your dreams and never give up. I graduated from university very late in life to my peers, but I always dreamed big and did my best to achieve it. It’s been a great experience so far. 


At BRANWYN, we’re so honored to have incredible partners like Şeyma help us create Performance Innerwear that’s better for our bodies and for the earth. Learn more about what goes into making your BRANWYN here—and what doesn’t (we’re always free of forever chemicals). Mad love. 

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