Getting Ahead of the Curve: Sustainable Packaging for Men’s Apparel


Getting Ahead of the Curve: Sustainable Packaging for Men’s Apparel

Sustainable packaging is making waves in the retail space. There is rising demand by consumers for eco-friendly packaging options throughout the clothing industry. Many women’s apparel brands are making the transition toward sustainability, and men’s apparel brands are expected to follow suit. Read on to learn how your men’s apparel company can get ahead of…

Getting Ahead of the Curve: Sustainable Packaging for Men’s Apparel

Sustainable packaging is making waves in the retail space. There is rising demand by consumers for eco-friendly packaging options throughout the clothing industry. Many women’s apparel brands are making the transition toward sustainability, and men’s apparel brands are expected to follow suit.

Read on to learn how your men’s apparel company can get ahead of the curve by adopting sustainable packaging in your business model. We will discuss the current consumer landscape, sustainable packaging options, and where to get sustainable packaging. The article also highlights four brands leading the charge in men’s sustainable fashion and how they package their products.

The Push for Sustainability in Men’s Apparel

Some apparel brands acknowledge the significant impact of fashion on the environment and work to lessen these effects. However, there is still a noticeable gap in the fashion industry regarding sustainability efforts. While certain clothing brands have stepped up to the plate to deliver more sustainable options, consumers expect more. 

A recent survey by Nosto in the US and UK found that 52% of consumers desire the fashion industry to become more sustainable. Consumers felt this way across the board in terms of age and gender.

These findings indicate a shift in the broader consumer demand. Millennial and Generation Z consumers have typically been known to be more eco-conscious shoppers. However, sustainability now matters to the majority or near-majority of every generation.

Women have also typically been pinned as more likely to be conscious consumers. Yet, men have slightly overtaken women in their concern about their clothes. Fifty-five percent of men surveyed are unsatisfied with the sustainability of the fashion industry, while only fifty percent of women share this sentiment.

As it turns out, the male apparel sector lacks sustainable brands compared to the current demand. Not only that, but men are slightly more willing than women to pay a premium for a sustainably made item or brand.

This moment marks an opportunity in the men’s apparel market to get ahead of the competition and meet consumer demands. There is a high demand from male consumers to incorporate sustainable practices into their business operations.

Seventy-five percent of the consumers surveyed by Nosto considered packaging one of the most important sustainability focus areas for fashion brands. Other top demands for the industry include using more renewable and recyclable materials and fewer resources to produce and distribute clothing.

What do these trends mean for men’s apparel?

There is currently a gap in the market for sustainable men’s clothing brands. What was once considered niche is the new norm.

Transitioning to a sustainable business model takes time, effort, and consideration. The easiest way to get started is by upgrading your retail packaging.

Developing sustainable packaging can help you remedy the biggest consumer issue with fashion brands and indicate your company’s shift toward sustainability.

Sustainable retail packaging encompasses a variety of materials, makes, and styles. Thus, there are many paths your company can take to upgrade to sustainable packaging.

Sustainable Packaging Choices for Men’s Apparel

The majority of men are beginning to consider the environmental effects of packaging when they shop for clothes.

So what would eco-friendly packaging look like for your men’s fashion brand? Here are some ideas and considerations when designing your new packaging:

1) Start with Sourcing

When creating eco-friendly packaging, responsible sourcing is a must. Using certified materials is a great way to ensure that your packaging is sourced ethically and sustainably. Certification labels also act as a clear indicator to consumers that the packaging is sustainable.

2) Go Reusable

Designing packaging for reuse is a great way to dually reduce packaging waste and enhance your brand image. Create totes that can last from renewable materials such as cotton, paper leather, and cork.

Edge2Edge can help you design retail bags that look great and consumers can use again and again. They can also gift the bag to a friend or partner. When shoppers reuse your bag, they and everyone around them will be reminded of your brand and its positive impact.

3) Design Recycled and/or Recyclable Packaging

You can construct recycled packaging from existing plastic, paper, or other materials. Creating a new product from an old material is also known as upcycling. Developing packaging from recycled material is another way to divert waste from landfills. This option is an affordable way to reduce the environmental impact of packaging.

Alternatively, 100% recyclable packaging indicates that the retail packaging can be processed at local recycling centers. As much of today’s clothing packaging, like poly bags, cannot be recycled, this is a primary step to lessening the effects of apparel retail packaging.

Design packaging to be both recycled and recyclable to give consumers the best of both worlds. Bonus points if your brand collects the packaging for recycling or upcycling at the store location.

4) Create Compostable/Biodegradable Packaging

There are many types of compostable and biodegradable materials, such as paper and bioplastics. Compostable and biodegradable packaging products quickly break down in a composting facility or naturally on their own, respectively.

Considering how your packaging is disposed of at its end of life is a critical part of developing packaging products that contribute to the circular economy.

Navigate Sustainable Packaging with Edge2Edge

Edge2Edge Packaging understands the ins and outs of eco-friendly packaging design and manufacturing. As a service provider, Edge2Edge offers a unique set of value-adds for men’s clothing brands that want to revolutionize their packaging.

    • Expert Consultation

Edge2Edge is a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition® and contains a wealth of expert knowledge in the sustainable packaging space. The service provider offers both strategic and creative consultations to clients. 

Our industry experts can help you identify strategies to meet the latest retail packaging trends, optimize your supply chain, and develop cost-effective packaging solutions. Our designers will also collaborate with you to develop unique and functional sustainable men’s apparel packaging for social media-worthy unboxing experiences.

    • All-encompassing Manufacturing Capabilities

Edge2Edge Packaging offers a diversified supplier base that can take on a range of order sizes, including high-volume orders.

We also strive to create the perfect product for our clients. Edge2Edge can create multiple and iterative packaging prototypes to help you find the best look for your brand.

Edge2Edge Packaging can navigate the sustainable packaging sphere and offer cutting-edge packaging solutions for your brand.

Most retailers plan to transfer at least a portion of their packaging to biodegradable, recycled, or compostable materials by 2023. There are examples of innovative brands in the men’s apparel space that have already made this transition.

Following are four case studies of how clothing brands with men’s apparel options have successfully improved their image by making the switch to eco-friendly packaging.

Case Study #1: H&M

The apparel brand H&M is channeling its efforts into recycling and upcycling textiles to help mitigate fashion industry waste. The company collected 29,005 tons of used textiles in 2019 from its patrons via the H&M garment collection initiative.

H&M sorts the amassed clothing according to its utility. Wearable clothes are sold in second-hand stores, while more heavily worn textiles are upcycled into other products. Finally, the remaining textiles are recycled back into fibers and used in insulation and other applications.

The brand’s sustainability initiatives don’t stop there. The company is also incorporating these principles into its men’s apparel packaging.

H&M collaborates with organizations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The Fashion Pact, and Canopy and adheres to the following principles to innovate its apparel packaging:

      • Reduce 

H&M strives to reduce its resource use and waste by minimizing its packaging design and use. The brand pledges to reduce packaging by 25% by 2025, stop using unnecessary packaging and replace single-use with reusable packaging materials when possible.

      • Innovate

The brand is developing packaging using innovative, sustainable designs and materials. The company promises to create solely reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025 and sustainably source all of its packaging materials by 2030.

      • Reuse

H&M plans to collect its used packaging in stores for reuse or recycling by 2025.

H&M’s bold stance on eco-friendly packaging makes it a packaging innovator.

Case Study #2: Boody

Boody offers ethical men’s clothing, including activewear, underwear,
t-shirts, tank tops, and socks. The company prides itself on creating clothing from organic, sustainably sourced bamboo. The bamboo is grown without pesticides and using little water. It is then processed using a non-toxic, eco-friendly system and transformed into comfortable and fashionable men’s clothing using zero-waste manufacturing.

Boody considers the sustainability of all aspects of its business. Therefore, the company also takes the impact of its packaging into account. Boody men’s apparel packaging is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, an acclaimed forestry certification body. The retail and shipping boxes are made from recycled tree-based materials and printed with eco-friendly, vegetable-based ink.

Boody is a sustainable men’s apparel brand through and through, with eco-friendly packaging to prove it. The company’s transparency and comprehensiveness are precisely what consumers are looking for these days in fashion.

Case Study #3: United By Blue

The clothing company United By Blue offers a range of apparel brands with men’s clothing options such as outerwear, activewear, and swimwear. The business partners with other organizations to host national clean-up events. In 2019, event volunteers collectively removed over two million pounds of trash from the ocean and other water bodies.

Because the company focuses on reducing waste, it has singled out packaging as a target area for improvement. United By Blue launched the Quit Single Use Task Force in 2019 to align its zero-waste values with its business practices.

The company’s goal is to phase out single-use plastic packaging items like poly bags, plastic tags, and plastic tape. Ultimately, United By Blue strives to help keep plastic out of the ocean.

In some ways, the brand’s efforts have paid off. United By Blue developed packaging that uses 80% less plastic than typical supply chains in the clothing industry.

United By Blue doesn’t shy away from talking about its challenges in meeting its goals. In a show of transparency not commonly seen by fashion brands, the company discusses the struggles the company faced in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent reliance on single-use plastic during that period.

However, they were also able to negotiate poly bag-free shipments to target during this period, eliminating the use of 117,255 plastic bags.

This year, United By Blue has recommitted to eliminating single-use plastic packaging from its supply chain.

United By Blue stands out with its transparency with consumers and commitment to continuously improving its sustainability, particularly with its packaging.

Case Study #4: GoLite

GoLite goes all out with sustainability. This outerwear and athletic wear brand released a men’s clothing collection made from recycled plastic bottles. The company’s upcycled clothes help keep plastic out of oceans and landfills.

The brand also developed the GoResponsibly initiative, where the company partners with like-minded suppliers to create sustainable packaging. GoLite’s goal is to use solely recycled, recyclable, and/or compostable packaging materials. The company incorporates various types of sustainable packaging to impact the planet positively.

Recycled Packaging

GoLite uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper in its product packaging and hangtags. The brand also ships products in 100% recycled corrugated cardboard boxes or mailers made from 100% recycled content. The mailers even have a second adhesive strip, so consumers can reuse the packaging before recycling it.

Compostable Packaging

GoLite switched to certified compostable polybags by the United States Biodegradable Products Institute to reduce the company’s plastic waste. This means that the bags safely break down within 180 days instead of hundreds of years.

These are just a few examples of companies that are enhancing their brand image with innovative packaging.

Edge2Edge can help navigate your men’s apparel packaging needs and assist your brand in customizing unique and sustainable packaging. 

Now is the time to give male consumers what they want and be part of the sustainable fashion movement. Transform your men’s apparel packaging today to prepare your brand for tomorrow’s consumer.