Sustainability

About

Taking care of the planet is a responsibility we all share. And 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 to reducing 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”. It’s been reported that 50% of all fast-fashion produced gets disposed of in under a year, often after just a few wears.

By contrast, 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 2021, we recycled 13,780 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 2021, we recycled 66,000 yds of fabric scraps from our shirt production in this way.

Packaging

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 Recycled Kraft Cardboard 100% Yes Yes No No No
Box Tape Kraft Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No No No
Shirt Bag Kraft Paper No Yes Yes No Yes No
Tissue Paper Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Logo Sticker Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No Yes No
Thank You Envelope Soy Ink Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Receipt & Care Instructions Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Return Shipping Label Thermal Transfer Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No Yes No
Inner Collar Insert Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Outer Collar Insert Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Front Collar Tab Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Folding Clips MAPKA® 49% Yes No No Yes No
Tailored Clothing
Shipping Box Kraft Cardboard No Yes Yes No No No
Box Tape Kraft Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No No No
Garment Bag Polyester No No No Yes No No
Hanger Wood + Metal No No No Yes No No
Thank You Envelope Soy Ink Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Printed Receipt Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Return Shipping Label Thermal Transfer Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No Yes No
Barcode Sticker Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No Yes No
Casual Pants
Shipping Box Recycled Kraft Cardboard 100% Yes Yes No No No
Box Tape Kraft Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No No No
Tissue Paper Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Logo Sticker Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No Yes No
Thank You Envelope Soy Ink Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Receipt & Care Instructions Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Return Shipping Label Thermal Transfer Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No Yes No
Stocked Products
Shipping Box Recycled Kraft Cardboard 30-50% Yes Yes No No No
Box Tape Kraft Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No No No
Tissue Paper Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Logo Sticker Paper + Gum Adhesive No No No No Yes No
Gift/Tie Box Chipboard No No No No No Yes
Thank You Envelope Soy Ink Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Printed Receipt Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No Yes No
Kraft Shipping Envelopes Recycled Kraft Paper 60% Yes Yes No No No
Mask Bag Bio-Based Plastic No Yes Yes No No No
T-Shirt & Sweatshirt Bag Bio-Based Plastic No Yes Yes No No No
Hangtags Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No No No
Sweater Bags Plastic No Yes No No No Yes
Pocket Square Bags Plastic No Yes No No No No
Underwear Bag Bio-Based Plastic No Yes No No No No
Underwear Insert Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No No No
Sock Insert & Wrap Recycled Paper 100% Yes Yes No No No
Proper Cloth Packaging Sustainability

Recent Changes

  1. Developed a paper bag for shipping custom shirts We designed and sourced an alternative plastic-free bag made from recycled paper.
  2. Developed paper collar ring and front collar support pieces for custom shirts These updated pieces eliminate the final plastic materials in our shirt packaging.
  3. Added Minimal Packaging Option for Shirts (Details below)
  4. Switched to fully recycled paper for receipts and tissue paper on custom products We’ve moved to fully recycled paper for receipts and tissue paper to reduce virgin paper production.
  5. Added option to forego metal collar styles on all shirts Customers are now able to choose whether they’d like to receive or forego metal collar stays on all shirts on their customer account (link here).

Up Next

  1. Enable the Minimal Packaging option for casual pants
  2. Develop paper packaging bags for casual pants
  3. Develop new suit bag from sustainable materials

Minimal Packaging Option

We have high expectations for our packaging. And for frequent customers, we realized that even our latest, most optimized packaging can still 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

Luxurious Italian chambrays 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

Hemp Fabrics

Hemp Blends

Hemp is grown without pesticides, helps restore soil, takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, and requires 50% less water than cotton to grow. Hemp is similar to linen in its breathability and cooling, moisture-wicking properties, but it’s 8× stronger, allowing your shirt to last even longer.

Browse Hemp fabrics

Performance Blend Fabrics

Recycled Performance Blends

Woven from a blend of recycled nylon and recycled polyester, these shirts are some of our lowest impact fabrics to date. They have the look of a classic dress shirt with remarkable performance, stretch, and resilience.

Browse Recycled Performance 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