New Line Of Clothing Made From Almost 100% Recycled Materials
The garments from Patagonia divert waste from the landfill without sacrificing quality
Closing the clothing loop through recycling, donations and various other models has become a trend for many fashion brands. Large retailers such as H&M, Madewell and smaller direct-to-consumer brands such as Reformation, and M.Gemi are driving increasing awareness of programs that leverage used clothing as a source of regeneration. Patagonia, which has been a sustainability leader, has just released a recycled clothing collection, called Re\\Collection which is made from almost 100 percent recycled materials.
There are 10 styles in the Re\\Collection, and are made from many different recycled materials including 100 percent recycled down, wool and polyester, 80 percent recycled zippers and 50 percent recycled buttons. Built with function and warmth at top of mind these pieces will be able to be recycled again and again.
The process to source the used materials is not easy, it is both time-consuming and difficult to get the quality and quantity that Patagonia needs to make the line viable. Suppliers must harvest, clean and separate reusable material from materials no longer fit or strong enough to reuse. The recycled textile industry is largely human-powered with machines only being able to do some of the work, which dramatically slows down the process.
The Council of Textile Recycling has raised the idea of instating a labeling system for new textile products through a built-in RFID tag that would contain all the garment’s material details. The tag would improve the process of sorting when used clothing is donated which would result in a more streamline process for sourcing materials. While a RFID tag could help the process, there are other obstacles for the recycled clothing industry that work in the face of the ultimate goal of reusing materials to cut down on waste and pollution. Many companies in the United States that process recycled garments run factories out of Georgia and the Carolinas which results in materials needing to be shipped out to manufacturers which adds to the product’s carbon footprint. This issue alone has proved to be a barrier for new companies that want to enter the recycled clothing industry.
Unfortunately, local recycling plants and RFID tags are currently not a reality.
Patagonia worked with a number of small mills to create Re\\Collection, including a shop in Italy for its materials. With consumer interest in recycled fashion on the rise, coupled with increased exposure of the industry from celebrities, evidenced by Emma Watson wearing a Calvin Klein dress made from recycled plastic bottles to the Met Gala in 2016, it will be interesting to watch how this industry grows in the coming years. Hopefully with the brand loyalty and trust that Patagonia has from its consumer, it might be able to help push the entire industry move in the intended direction.