Presenting Patagonia’s Recycled, Reclaimed Clothing

The Truth To Materials line puts trash-bound materials back into the production line

Patagonia’s new collection places recycled and sustainable materials front and center.

With undyed cashmere, sweaters are made with less chemicals and remain tinted with browns and grays as “nature intended them to be.” The cashmere wool is harvested by hand in Mongolia through NOYA Fibers, an organization that pushes for sustainable practices in cashmere goat raising.

Patagonia also salvages cotton scraps and swatches from garment factories already destined for the landfill. These small pieces of cotton are then deconstructed into fibers and remade into fabric. The final sweater and hoody created through this process is blended with additional virgin organic cotton. Patagonia’s partner TAL Group is a giant apparel manufacturer with factories in Malaysia and China.

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Reclaimed wool also undergoes the same process as the cotton. In partnership with Calamai Tech Fabrics in Italy, discarded wool sweaters are shredded, mixed with polyester and nylon for strength, and rewoven back into fabric. Calamai is a forerunner in fabric fiber reclamation, being established as a company in 1878, a hundred years before the birth of the environmental movement.

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The Truth To Materials Project also repurposes discarded Patagonia outerwear. Artisans from Alabama Chanin deconstruct each returned or damaged jackets and reconstructs them manually into durable, cold-weather scarves.

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Patagonia is all about sustainability and consciously decreasing the effects of the company to both the environment and the workers. According to them, eco-friendly intitiatives are part of the costs of running the business and the disruption manufacturing causes to natural eco-systems.

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The company has definitely taken thorough steps for complete assessment of its processes. They have created The Footprint Chronicles, a project that promotes traceability and informs consumers (and the company itself) of the ecological footprint of the products they sell. In addition to this, they have researched the amount of fuel the employees use to get to work and they closely monitor the pay and work environment of each person that creates their product. One percent of all sales also go to grassroots activists.

In 2011, Patagonia printed a Don’t Buy This Jacket campaign that educated consumers on the ecological cost of their own recycled jacket. The ad called for a check-up on widespread consumerism and for people to understand the often devalued environmental resources used to manufacture products.

On their website, the brand admits:

In the end, Patagonia may never be completely responsible. We have a long way to go and we don’t have a map – but we do have a way to read the terrain and to take the next step, and then the next.

Photos from Patagonia

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