A period-proof story with Nana Sacko
Self-declared textile nerd, small-business owner, mother of two, natural dyer, and Gothenburg city cat Nana is spectacular. With sustainability as a guiding star and open-hearted dialogue around female health and freedom driving her on, she had us at hello. Whether pulling a cart or kids behind her on her way to work as project director at Stadsmissionen Second Hand, or off to design an upcycled, naturally dyed garment with her own brand, SACKO, Nana is a woman of the world. Read on to hear if our period-proof underwear served her in the way she is worthy, and join her through her days on Instagram @nanasacko
As someone who is well-versed in fabric and materials, how did you find these underwear? How do they feel on your skin?
I’m always drawn to natural fibers, so the cotton version is my absolute favorite and the one I find to be softest on my skin. The Pima cotton is luxuriously thin, while also possessing a sturdiness so that it provides that “hugging” sensation. I love the fact that FE worked with sustainable standards, meaning they use organic cotton as well as recycled fibers for the synthetic materials.
What makes an awesome pair of panties for you?
Comfort will always be key to me, as well the use of natural fibers and a clean, minimalist design. FE period panties tick all three boxes.
Tell me about your first few times using the panties. Were you a believer or skeptical?
I was definitely a skeptic with high hopes. I loved the idea of underwear providing me with protection during my period, but I was hyper-aware of being afraid of leakage. I didn’t believe that these underwear would be enough by themselves, and assumed I would need to combine them with the cup when my bleed was at its heaviest. I’ve gone on to wear them – around the clock and on their own – without any leakage. That’s freedom to me.
I also feel like myself with them on. I went from using my most worn-out, cotton, high-waisted underwear (which served me great over the years) to a clean, minimalist, nice-looking pair of underwear. No difference in design when it comes to what I would purchase on my own.
Do you forget you’re wearing the underwear during your period, or are you totally aware they’re on?
When I’m wearing the underwear and don’t have menstrual cramps, I almost forget about my period. They are so comfortable, and I can wear them throughout the day without any discomfort. I check in from time to time to make sure I’m safe. I guess this behavior is deep in me from past experiences.
How long did it take you to adjust to the panties, so that you could wear them on their own, without protection, during your period?
Honestly, I was convinced after trying them out the first time and was determined to wear them on their own. I did have to challenge myself to wear them for up to 10 hours without changing them to really see how well they worked.
"I’ve gone on to wear them – around the clock and on their own – without any leakage. That’s freedom to me. I also feel like myself with them on."
What period protection did you use before?
I was trying to move away from disposable products, so I used a menstrual cup. However, after giving birth, I was way more sensitive and felt uncomfortable if I didn’t insert it perfectly. I was never 100% comfortable wearing a cup.
Do you wear them alone on your full flow days?
Yes. I wear them on their own throughout my entire period and don’t feel I need to combine them with anything else.
Do you wear them at any other time during the month?
No, only during my period. I do put them on when I’m expecting my period, which usually arrives during the night. It’s very convenient to put them on when I go to bed.
When you first heard about Female Engineering and the period-proof panty, did you believe the claims that it could be the only protection you’d need during your period?
Being a textile nerd, I was very curious about the technical aspects. Innovation based on science around female health is so essential and deserves to be taken seriously. However, I needed to try them myself to be entirely convinced.
Why did you agree to become an ambassador?
What caught my attention was the focus on female health and how our needs deserve to be addressed. I’ve never found the perfect period protection and I’m now in my late 30s. I was curious to try them and share my perspective. Also, the team of women behind the scenes at this brand are amazingly talented, kind, and supportive. That was a huge reason I wanted to join the movement!
" I wear them on their own throughout my entire period."
Any drawbacks of using the panties?
That I can’t wash them by hand. I don’t have a washing machine in my apartment.
Would you ever buy a pair of these panties as a gift for a friend?
I encourage everyone to try them out if they can. I would definitely gift my friends with a pair.
Do you have a favorite out of the different models/styles?
I love high-waisted everything, and underwear is no exception, so the high waist is my favorite. I also found the thong version to work great towards the end of my period and on occasions when I wanted to feel more dressed up.
How do you care for them/wash them?
I rinse them out, wash them in the machine with the rest of our laundry, hang them up to dry, and then they’re ready to wear. I don’t find it difficult, but sometimes I run out of them when I don’t have a booked time in our laundry room.
What is your current relationship to your period?
Today I have a good relationship to my period and want to continue to do so as it changes over time. I take better care of myself when I’m having my period and experiencing cramps. I understand how my hormones affect my mood and mental health better than I used to. I no longer underestimate or minimize this process.
Do you think these underwear could help heal women’s relationship to their periods?
Bringing periods to the table and discussing them is healing to all women. Talking about our bodies and fulfilling our needs, normalizing all phases and parts of our health, and taking female health seriously can only help us all.
"Innovation based on science around female health is so essential."
Nana wears the period-proof high-waist cotton panties with high (40 ml) absorption at the beginning of her period. She also wears the thong towards the end of her period and when she wants to get dressed up.