Responsibility Report 2023

Since our start in 2015, our focus on Modern Citizen’s brand values and positioning has sharpened in ways that were hard to imagine at the outset.  Modern Citizen was founded with the intention of creating something that we felt didn’t wholly exist at the time — a brand that women could connect with, that delivered an elevated point of view, and that was priced accessibly to reach as wide a community as possible.  Moving forward into unknown territory has been our modus operandi from the beginning, and it’s with that spirit that we have addressed the challenge of progressing toward a more ethically and ecologically-responsible and inclusive industry — in ways that are most authentic, impactful, and achievable for our size of business.

In that vein, we’re excited to introduce our first annual Responsibility Report covering our key initiatives and progress made in fiscal year 2023.  We use the word “Responsibility” instead of “Sustainability” or “Diversity” because we believe “Responsibility” reflects the intent with which we run our business.  These initiatives are not part of our marketing strategies or talking points — both because they are perennially unfinished and imperfect, but also because the expectation set by our smart, conscientious customers and passionate team members is incentive enough.  In an industry with a frustrating lack of clear and measurable standards, this report is meant to share our perspective on how we’re contextualizing our progress and impact as we grow.

Fashion Philosophy

Our aesthetic draws inspiration from a wide range of influences both within and beyond the fashion world, meeting sensibly where real life and artful design intersect.  The result is an elegant, modern point of view that evolves with trends but maintains an enduring and timeless relevance.

Modern Citizen pieces are intended as investment fashion.  Our clothes are designed to not only be easy to wear, but also to machine wash and keep in your wardrobe long-term — to wear season-to-season and return to throughout the years.

Size Range

Today, about 98% of the styles in our assortment are offered in Sizes XS - 1X (see our Size Guide for numeric conversion) as we work toward making our entire collection more inclusively sized.  As a small business, these initial steps will help us lay the foundation for expansion as we grow.

Additional Lengths + Petite Sizes

As a team made up of Petites, Talls, and every height in-between, our development process includes fitting on various heights.  We typically photograph people ranging from 5’7” - 5’9” in height for visual consistency — with more visual references to come as our resources allow.  In the Fall of 2022, we began offering a Short inseam option on our core ponte pant styles.  In late 2023, we also launched our first Petite sizes (XS - 1X) with a capsule collection of our best-selling dresses.  Rest assured that we’re continuously working behind-the-scenes to offer more styles in Petite.

Waitlist + Pre-Order

As a product-creating business, we were intentional to construct our business model in a way that limits waste as much as we can.  From the very beginning, we implemented shopping features like Waitlist and Pre-Order to help our inventory planning team understand demand and avoid overproduction as an internal goal.  In some cases that has meant styles have sold out quickly, which we understand can be frustrating and have recognized in our customer feedback.  We hope the insight into the logic behind it demonstrates our purpose and commitment to responsible business practices.

Garment Care

We recognize that creating clothing can never be a truly sustainable practice, so we’re committed to consistently and incrementally lessening the impact of our design and production — including the way we inform our customers about garment care and speak about fashion consumption.

Our clothes are designed to be easy to wear, wash, and keep in your wardrobe long-term.  By reducing the need for dry cleaning and constantly buying new, replacement pieces, we aim to take some of the burden off of our customers in reducing their environmental footprint.


•   Wash every piece less (e.g., every 3 - 5 wears)
•   Set machine to cold water
•   Turn garments inside out to prevent pilling
•   Hang clothes to dry
•   Remove natural pilling with a sweater stone or similar tool

If you must dry clean, aim to do it selectively with an eco-conscious business.  For minor damages, consider repairing at home, with a local tailor, or an online service like Hemster.

Materials Scorecard + Audit

Our materials library is constantly evolving to provide the most responsible content we can while maintaining our quality and accessible pricing standards.  Our Eco-Conscious collection signifies products made with materials derived via processes ecologically better than their conventional counterparts.

We are simultaneously working toward increasing the general representation of natural fibers in our collection while also sourcing a higher percentage of fabrics that are either organically produced or recycled.  Below, we’ve outlined both our internal grading system for materials and certification requirements utilizing a framework of Best / Better / Baseline / Avoid, as well as our recent progress and % of materials used by year within each categorization.

  • Material Type showcases how each fabric sits within an overall hierarchy of Natural > Semi-Synthetic > Synthetic
  • Fabrics within each Material Type and Best / Better / Baseline categorization are ordered top to bottom based on a hierarchy of Recycled > Organic > Conventional
Material Type Best Better Baseline Avoid
(Plant / Animal-Based)
Recycled Cotton
Certified by GRS

Regenerative Cotton

Recycled Linen
Certified by GRS

Recycled Hemp
Certified by GRS

Recycled Bamboo
Certified by GRS

Bio-Based Leather

Recycled Wool
Certified by GRS

Recycled Cashmere
Certified by GRS

Recycled Silk
Certified by GRS
Organic Cotton
Certified by GOTS or OCS

Fair Trade /
BCI™ Cotton

Organic Linen
Certified by GOTS

Organic Hemp
Certified by GOTS

Organic Bamboo
Certified by GOTS

Recycled Leather
Certified by GRS or LWG

Organic Wool
Certified by GOTS

Regenerative Wool
e.g., Nativa®
Certified by RWS

Organic Cashmere
Certified by GRS

Organic Silk
Certified by GOTS
Not Certified

Not Certified

Not Certified

Not Certified

Not Certified

Not Certified

Not Certified

Not Certified


Semi-Synthetic Recycled Semi-Synthetics
e.g., Circulose®

e.g., Lenzing EcoVero™
Certified by FSC

Certified by FSC

e.g., EcoCosy®
Certified by FSC
Not Certified

Not Certified

Not Certified
Synthetic Recycled PU
Certified by GRS

Recycled Polyester
e.g., Sorona®
Certified by GRS or RCS

Recycled Polymide
Certified by GRS or RCS

Recycled Nylon / Polyamide
e.g. Econyl®
Certified by GRS

Recycled Acrylic

Recycled Elastane
Certified by GRS
Not Certified

Not Certified

Nylon / Polyamide
Not Certified

Not Certified

Not Certified
Circular Deadstock

Materials Audit (FY 2023)

Percentage in each bucket is calculated adding the percentage of materials that constitute each style * # of units produced
e.g., 51% Organic Cotton + 49% Acrylic = 51% “Best” + 49% “Baseline”

Material Type Actual Projected
% of Materials FY 2023 FY 2024
Natural 33% 47%
Semi-Synthetic 42% 29%
Synthetic 25% 24%
Material Type Actual Projected
% of Materials FY 2023 FY 2024
Best 10% 8%
Better 18% 21%
Baseline 72% 71%

End-of-Life Extension

For inventory that has an “end-of-life” with us — like our design samples or customer returns not quite in mint condition — we take care to strategically donate, recycle, or repair them to Iimit our waste as thoughtfully as possible.

In 2023, we launched a partnership with thredUP to open a Resale shop (called Modern Citizen CODA) and Clean-Out Kit program to allow customers to responsibly manage unwanted items from their closets.  To date, hundreds of units from our warehouse and community found new homes and were diverted from the landfill.

We also organize donations to values-aligned community organizations like Dress For Success in San Francisco and Project Ropa in Los Angeles.  Dress For Success is a national organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing support, professional attire, and development tools.  Project Ropa stocks donated garments in a mobile closet for those in need to shop free of charge, and distributes unwearable garments to a network of their upcycling partners.


In our marketing materials, we follow the FTC Green Guides for Marketing where we qualify any claim with the materials used and describe the meaning.  For example, we mindfully selected the phrase “Eco-Conscious” over other terminology to describe our efforts in this arena as we felt it was the most neutral depiction that demonstrates intent / consciousness, without claiming that products are “sustainable.”

  • “Organic” — Organic fibers are natural fibers grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, or herbicides and GMOs according to the principles of organic agriculture.  Organic agriculture is a production process that sustains the health of ecosystems, soils, and people.
    • A product carrying the GOTS label must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibers
    • A product with the label grade “Organic” must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibers
  • “Recycled” — Recycled content includes recycled raw material, as well as used, reconditioned, and re-manufactured components.  Recycled content claims may, but do not have to, distinguish between pre-consumer and post-consumer materials.
    • A product carrying the GRS label must contain at least 50% recycled content


It’s important to us that your products are delivered to you in high quality, protective packaging.  With an eye toward circularity, our shipping materials are currently recyclable and / or made of post-consumer recycled materials.  We aim to utilize packaging with the most closed-loop and, importantly, accessible disposal options.


Shipping is an essential part of our business, but one that comes with an environmental expense.  We consistently evaluate the efficiency of our warehouse operations, and give customers the option to offset their carbon emissions of their online orders via verified projects with Cloverly.

Though we’re always hoping to minimize our volume of returns, we’ve also chosen to partner with EasyPost to fully offset our return shipments as well.


Supply Chain

As a globally sourced apparel brand, we recognize our duty to source our products using responsible procurement practices.  We do this by fostering positive, long-term relationships with our suppliers who we work closely with to ensure accountability and satisfaction, and by offering fair payment terms and lead-times.  We’ve continued working with all factories we’ve onboarded since our inception, providing stable and constant orders.  We encourage our suppliers to provide feedback through our annual factory survey, although feedback is also welcomed at any time.

As a small business, we prefer to work with and support other small businesses across our supply chain.  Our factory partners and vendors are predominantly small to medium-sized manufacturers (6 of our 8 factories have fewer than 150 employees).  Of these 8 factories, 1 is female-owned and 6 have women in senior management positions.  All of our factories pay their workforce an hourly rate on a monthly cadence with no piecework.  Geographically, we have 6 factories located in China, 1 factory in Korea, and 1 factory in the Philippines.

To ensure compliance in our supply chain, we require annual third-party audits from all of our manufacturing facilities.  Our Vendor Manual and Code of Conduct, signed by all of our suppliers, outlines all ethical expectations that our suppliers must adhere to.  As raw materials are sourced by our factories, we are not currently able to audit their selected fabric mills and trim suppliers; however we do ask our factories to provide any available information along with their annual survey responses.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, + Belonging


We believe that businesses better serve the world if the people behind our brands better reflect it — and that intentional inclusivity leads to the most positive human and business impact.  Diversity in hiring has always been a focus in our organization, and we’re proud to have a broadly intersectional team behind the scenes providing essential voices in the room as decisions are made.  In FY 2023, Modern Citizen had 22 permanent employees (12 Full-Time, 10 Part-Time) all located in the United States.


In crafting the Modern Citizen world, we believe it is our duty to tell stories in a responsible, considered way that is aspirational while also respectful and reverent to the source material.  We believe that having a platform is a privilege, and we aim to use ours to elevate women of all forms, experiences, and identities.  Ensuring that our casting continues to be representative of a diverse array of faces is not only an evergreen goal and worthy challenge, but something we find to be incredibly celebratory — even as we have more work to do.

Site Accessibility

Modern Citizen is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability.  In our effort to provide a fully accessible and optimized user experience for all site visitors, Modern Citizen has taken careful measure to ensure an excellent user experience, regardless of the assistive technology being used to access this site or the specific abilities of those individuals seeking access to this site.

The website is monitored and tested regularly by internal resources and by AudioEye, a third-party provider of Web Accessibility testing and monitoring.  As issues of accessibility are identified, results of automated and manual testing are managed through the AudioEye® Digital Accessibility Platform.  As new solutions are discovered to improve the user experience, remediation is tracked through the AudioEye system and fixes are implemented to improve the website user experience.


Customer Survey

Every year, we solicit extensive feedback from our community in our Customer Survey.  It provides us with self-identified information and valuable insight into who our customers are and what they need.  As a customer-oriented company, it’s important to us that we aren’t brainstorming in an echo chamber.  We utilize the information we receive to inform decisions across the business, and to make sure that we’re best serving our diverse existing and future customer base.

In FY 2023, we received survey responses from over 900 customers — 53% of these respondents identified as parents, 94% were college-educated, and ages between 25 - 64 were relatively evenly distributed.  The feedback provided, both in multiple choice data and open free responses, was collated and sent directly to relevant business functions like Design, Merchandising, Creative, and Marketing.  This information informed everything from our material choices to prioritizing specific Responsibility-related projects throughout the year.


We are always looking for partners who can help us meet a range of our Responsibility goals — from waste diversion and recycling efforts, to expansion of our size range and Eco-Conscious fabric programs.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email at [email protected] if you have ideas for how we can work together!