Sustainability

About

Taking care of the planet is a responsibility we all share. Yet, the fashion industry has a major impact on the environment, accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions and 20% of wastewater1.

At Proper Cloth, we’re committed to developing smarter, more efficient ways to produce and deliver custom clothing, and reduce our ecological footprint in the process.

Two Keys to Sustainable Fashion

Made-to-Order Systems Avoid Overproduction

A staggering part of fashion industry waste comes from overproduction, with analysts estimating that 30% of clothing produced is never sold2.

At Proper Cloth, 95% of the clothing we make is made-to-order, after a customer has already purchased it. That means we almost never have to guess how many of each size and style to make in advance. Our made-to-order model practically eliminates the problem of overproduction.

Quality Shirting

High Quality Enables More Wears

Today’s market is flooded with the cheap and trendy clothes of “fast-fashion”. Industry reports that 50% of all fast-fashion produced gets disposed of in under a year, often after just a few wears.

At Proper Cloth, we only want to make high quality clothing. Our products are designed to last for hundreds of wears, staying in your life and out of the landfill. Our goal is that a decade from now, you’ll still be enjoying your favorite Proper Cloth shirt, jacket, or pants.

Recycling

Recycling Returned Garments

While most of our products are custom made to order, we still accept returns and provide complimentary remakes to help customers find their ideal custom size or style preferences. As a result, we see our fair share of returned garments.

We donate some of these returns to charities, but many are not a good fit for donation. So we work with organizations like Marimole and Fabscrap to recycle the garments into building insulation and other useful materials. Unlike paper and plastics for the general public, recycling clothing is not free, so we pay to ensure our clothes don’t end up in a landfill. In 2020, we recycled 7,073 pounds of returned clothing.

Employee sorting returned shirts to be recycled

Recycling Fabric Scraps

We also work with our factories to ensure that fabric scraps generated during the production of our products are properly recycled.

Most of our scraps are collected, resold, and repurposed for building insulation, carpeting, and towels. In 2020, we recycled 10,692 pounds of fabric scraps from our shirt production in this way.

Packaging

Packaging is key to any luxury brand experience, and Proper Cloth is no exception. Premium packaging reflects the quality of the product, enhances the unboxing experience, and at a minimum, protects the garments in transit.

Unfortunately, premium packaging often ends up being excessive packaging, and along these lines, many of the materials we used early on were not optimal. Over time though, we’ve made improvements to our packaging sizes, configurations, and materials used, reducing plastic and other unsustainable materials along the way.

Environmentally Friendly Packaging

Our iterative approach continually reevaluates available materials and the science around recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable materials. For transparency and a real-time look into how we’re doing, we’re sharing the following chart of our most common packaging materials:

Packaging Inventory

  Material Recycled Recyclable Compostable Reusable Skip w/ Minimal Pkg Alt. in Dev
Shirts
Shipping Box Cardboard 100% Yes No No Yes No
Box Tape Gummed Paper Tape No Yes No No No No
Shirt Bag Plastic No Yes No No No Yes
Tissue Paper Paper No Yes No No Yes No
Sticker Paper No Yes No No Yes No
Thank You Envelope Paper Yes Yes No No Yes No
Receipt & Care Instructions Paper Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Return Shipping Label Paper + Thermal Transfer Material No No No No Yes No
Inner Collar Ring Plastic No Yes No No Yes No
Outer Collar Ring Paper No Yes No No Yes No
Front Collar Tab Plastic No Yes No No Yes No
Folding Clips MAPKA® 100% Yes No No Yes No
Tailored Clothing
Shipping Box Cardboard No No No No No Yes
Box Tape Gummed Paper Tape No No No No No No
Jacket & Suit Bag Sewn Polyester No No No Yes No No
Jacket & Suit Hanger Wood & Metal No No No Yes No No
Thank You Envelope Paper No Yes No No No No
Printed Receipt Paper No Yes No No No Yes
Return Shipping Label Paper No Yes No No No No
Sticker Paper No Yes No No No No
Casual Pants
Shipping Box Cardboard Yes Yes No No No Yes
Box Tape Gummed Paper Tape No No No No No No
Tissue Paper Paper No Yes No No Yes No
Sticker Paper No Yes No No Yes No
Thank You Envelope Paper Yes Yes No No Yes No
Receipt & Care Instructions Paper Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Return Shipping Label Paper + Thermal Transfer Material No No No No Yes No
Stocked Products
Shipping Box Cardboard 30-50% Yes No No No Yes
Box Tape Gummed Paper Tape No No No No No No
Tissue Paper Paper No Yes No No Yes No
Sticker Paper No Yes No No Yes No
Gift/Tie Box Paper No Yes No No No Yes
Thank You Envelope Paper Yes Yes No No Yes No
Printed Receipt Paper No Yes No No No Yes
Kraft Shipping Envelopes Paper Yes Yes No No Yes No
Face Mask Bag Bio-Based Plastic No Yes Yes No No No
T-Shirt & Sweatshirt Bag Bio-Based Plastic No Yes Yes No No No
T-Shirt & Sweats Hangtags Paper No Yes No No No No
Sweater Bags Plastic No Yes No No No No
Pocket Square Bags Plastic No Yes No No No No
Underwear Bag Bio-Based Plastic No Yes Yes No No No
Underwear Card Paper No Yes No No No No
Sock Card and Sleeve Paper No Yes No No No No
Proper Cloth Packaging Sustainability

Recent Changes

  1. Added Minimal Packaging Option for Shirts (Details below)
  2. Reduced the Box Size for our Casual Pants We optimized the box sizing for our casual pants, reducing both the total amount of paper in the packaging, and the carbon impact from shipping.
  3. Replace Plastic Shirt Clips with More Sustainable Material. We have replaced the clips used to keep shirts folded from a virgin plastic clip to use a material called MAPKA. This material combines 40% waste paper powder with 60% thermoplastic resin. MAPKA is BPA free, has less CO2 emission than PLA, PP and PS, and produces no toxic gas in case of incineration.

Up Next

  1. Develop a paper bag for shirts to replace the plastic shirt bag All of our shirts currently come in a plastic bag to keep them protected during shipment. We designed and are working to source an alternative plastic-free bag.
  2. Switch all printed receipts to fully recycled paper
  3. Switch to a fully recycled tissue paper for shirts and casual pant orders
  4. Enable the Minimal Packaging option for casual pants

Minimal Packaging Option

We have high expectations for our packaging. But for frequent customers and internal orders, we realized that even our latest, most optimized packaging can be more than necessary.

When you select the Minimal Packaging Option, we use just what’s needed to deliver your purchase safely and efficiently, skipping things like tissue paper, printed receipts, and envelopes.

Environmentally Friendly Fabrics

We produce garments in a wide range of fabrics, and are proud to offer a selection of sustainable options.

Recycled Cotton Chambrays

Recycled Cotton Chambrays

A luxurious Italian chambray made from 55% recycled cotton, collected from Canclini’s own production line in Italy. The scraps are re-spun into yarns using energy from the mill’s photovoltaic power system and almost no water. For added longevity and wear, the recycled yarns are blended with virgin cotton to ensure strength and performance.

Browse Recycled fabrics

Tencel Fabrics

Tencel Blends

Tencel fabric production requires 80% less water and land to grow the same amount of fibers as cotton. Additionally, the European eco-label Oeko-Tex 100 certifies Tencel fibers for containing low levels of manufacturing chemicals and byproducts.

Browse Tencel fabrics

Merino Wool Fabrics

ZQ-Certified Merino Wool

We weave our Italian Merino wool shirting fabrics with ZQ-certified New Zealand Merino, which ensures the highest standards of animal welfare and a completely traceable sustainable supply chain.

Additionally, the naturally anti-bacterial, odor-resistant properties of wool allow for less frequent washing than cotton, potentially saving water during the garment’s life.

Browse Merino Wool fabrics

Sustainability Efforts