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Commitment to eco-friendly clothing

We want to keep this dream going for as long as possible.

Commitment to eco-friendly clothing

We’ve worked too hard to let Percival die. We want to keep this dream going for as long as possible, pass it down from generation to generation as a bastion of menswear excellence. That’s not going to happen if brands and companies continue to use unsustainable practices. Creating sustainable men’s clothing is absolutely vital if we’re going to succeed in our mission, so it’s an issue we take very seriously. And it’s not just about the planet — it’s vital to sustain the human beings who work tirelessly to make Percival happen. We categorically will not compromise on treating people fairly, safely, and with respect — the same way we treat the planet.

Materials and Production

We generally make our products from a single material i.e. 100% organic cotton or 100% organic linen etc. This ensures the quality of our products but also means that they’re more easily recyclable. One day we’ll have technology that makes it easy to recycle blended yarns, but today is not that day.

We also use natural fibres (e.g. cotton, wool, linen, viscose), as they’re biodegradable and more environmentally friendly in clothing production. Very occasionally we’ll need to use synthetic fibres but, when we do, such as in our labels, we use recycled polyester in order to minimise its environmental impact.

Why is organic cotton more ecologically friendly than non-organic cotton? Does it really make a difference? Well, yes. Non-organic cotton farming uses pesticides and insecticides that contribute to the production of greenhouse gases, reduce the fertility of the soil, and may harm the farmers themselves. A large amount of water is also used in the production of insecticides and pesticides. That’s four bad things. Bad x4. A quadruple badness. They can cause declines in certain animal populations, therefore disrupting the overall ecosystem. Cotton accounts for 2.5% of the world’s agriculture, but it is responsible for 16% of insecticide usage. It shouldn’t be that way.

Our 100% organic Jersey cotton is certified by the Global Organic Trading Standard, and it’s grown without the use of pesticides. This certification also ensures that plants are watered at efficient hours e.g. during the evening to avoid unwanted evaporation, which would lead to increased water use. It’s a little more expensive to source as the yields are generally a little lower and the farmers are paid well. Frankly, we don’t mind paying a little extra.

You may have noticed we make fairly limited runs of our products. It’s not just a gimmick to drive up desire and exclusivity — we produce relatively small amounts of our designs so that we can ensure we’re not using more materials than we need to, keeping our carbon footprint as small as possible.

We also use the best fabrics and materials we can find, as they produce better quality items that last longer — it’s far more sustainable to buy one jacket that lasts you a decade, than ten jackets that last you a year each.

Our product developers are genuinely passionate about sustainability and are on constant lookout for planet-friendly fabrics and production processes. We’re not perfect — yet — but we’re en route.

Factories and People

We work with factories that practise sustainable production and provide good working conditions for their staff. One of our long-time manufacturers in Portugal have shortened working days by half an hour and allow their staff to go home at lunchtime on Fridays. They have themed days throughout the year, and beautiful outdoor spaces in which staff can enjoy their breaks. In 2020 they introduced the Happiness Office to deal with the rising stresses of our industry, worsened by the pandemic. They have a behavioural coach/therapist who comes in a few days a week, with whom any employee can book time to discuss whatever has been troubling them. Not only that, but 25%-30% of their energy is expected to come from renewable and in-house energy sources this year.

We use factories based in countries with proper workers’ rights and sustainability, and we try to stick with these same factories and manufacturers. We like to get to know the people on this side of the process and build relationships with them, making it easier to ensure everyone is happy and there is a high level of trust between us and the factories we use. In fact, we’re making plans to get out and visit all of our factories and manufacturers in person.

Design

Some fashions stick around forever, some come and go in the blink of an eye. Certain items are undeniably timeless — a plain white tee, a smart shirt, a well-fitting suit etc. — and these are the items we stock in higher numbers. Much like an undertaker, you’re never going to be out of a job if you’re a shirt-maker. Pieces that are a little more creative and therefore potentially susceptible to the changing winds of fashion, we stock in limited runs.

We’re not a trend-led company, though. We make what we like and we lean heavily toward timeless pieces. We wear-test all of our pieces with our employees to ensure longevity, and we do in-house wash testing to make sure our washing guideline labels are accurate.

The Auxiliary Range and its purpose

Our Auxiliary Range has been designed with sustainability in mind. It’s a range of core items that are designed to be worn — high quality everyday wear that will last and last, and continue to last. We’ve been developing this range for almost a year, testing each piece to ensure every neck rib keeps its elasticity, to make certain that each piece keeps its shape after multiple washes. The Reuben Knitwear that constitutes part of the Auxiliary Range is produced from Italian yarn by a small supplier in Portugal, who we’ve used since Day One of Percival. Our waterproof Sherlocks (made locally, in London) and Greysons will outlast you, cut them up into tiny pieces. We haven’t tested them against curses or hexes but we may look into that in the future.

Sustainable Packaging

We work with factories that practise sustainable production and provide good working conditions for their staff. One of our long-time manufacturers in Portugal have shortened working days by half an hour and allow their staff to go home at lunchtime on Fridays. They have themed days throughout the year, and beautiful outdoor spaces in which staff can enjoy their breaks. In 2020 they introduced the Happiness Office to deal with the rising stresses of our industry, worsened by the pandemic. They have a behavioural coach/therapist who comes in a few days a week, with whom any employee can book time to discuss whatever has been troubling them. Not only that, but 25%-30% of their energy is expected to come from renewable and in-house energy sources this year.

We use factories based in countries with proper workers’ rights and sustainability, and we try to stick with these same factories and manufacturers. We like to get to know the people on this side of the process and build relationships with them, making it easier to ensure everyone is happy and there is a high level of trust between us and the factories we use. In fact, we’re making plans to get out and visit all of our factories and manufacturers in person.

Our efforts towards sustainable packaging

Some fashions stick around forever, some come and go in the blink of an eye. Certain items are undeniably timeless — a plain white tee, a smart shirt, a well-fitting suit etc. — and these are the items we stock in higher numbers. Much like an undertaker, you’re never going to be out of a job if you’re a shirt-maker. Pieces that are a little more creative and therefore potentially susceptible to the changing winds of fashion, we stock in limited runs.

Sustainable Shipping

We’ve massively reduced our air freighting in the past two years. We use sea freighting from China and Vietnam, and truck freighting from Europe. Less than 5% of our stock is now air freighted, and this is only done as a last resort due to delays in production or late additions or changes to a style. We’re always aiming to improve even further on this and to cut out air freighting altogether when possible.

You can help make our products even more environmentally friendly by recycling that packaging, and perhaps using green-friendly dry cleaners. Here are a few suggestions for our London-based Perci People: Oxwash, Ebury Dry Cleaners, Blanc.

We’re working hard on being a sustainable menswear company, but we’re still learning. We’ve not been shouting everything you’ve just read from the rooftops because we’d prefer to walk the walk than talk the talk on these kinds of issues. We’re completely open to any suggestions to help make us a greener company, so genuinely please get in touch if you have any ideas that might help us to achieve that goal — we’d love to hear from you at hello@percivalclo.com and please put ‘Sustainability’ in the subject line.

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