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Feel Good Friday – Patagonia Truth to Materials

Patagonia has always been on top of their environmental and social responsibility game, but this season they took it to even another level.

For fall/winter 2014, Patagonia launched a capsule collection called Truth to Materials. The roll out includes seven styles, which delve deeper into finding materials that sustain mama Earth. While these are raw materials they aren’t your usual cotton, wool and cashmere. These have all been reclaimed or alternatively sourced from a variety of sources around the world.

What makes this collection even more interesting is that the materials are the star of the show. They are all minimally processed, less dying and an even greater focus on craftsmanship.

Here you will find a little more information on where these amazing materials came from and the people who are making the magic.

1. Reclaimed Wool: Calamai / Italy

Figli di Michelangelo Calamai was founded in 1878, roughly 100 years before the birth of the environmental movement. Calamai is dedicated to producing reclaimed wool. The finished product uses garments and manufacturing scrap and blends them into a variety of knits, weaves and weights as well as textures. The reclaimed wool used by Patagonia is made from discarded wool sweaters that are shredded into usable fiber – just like the early days – and mixed with polyester and nylon for strength.

2. Reclaimed Cotton: TAL Group / China & Malaysia

The typical life of a cotton garment, whether it’s conventional or organic, is a straight line to the landfill. Growing, spinning and weaving leads to cutting and construction and that leads to consumer use which eventually leads to the dump. Thanks to a partnership with the TAL Group, one of the larger garment manufacturers in the world, Patagonia has been able to take cotton consumption and twist it closer to the elusive closed-loop. Since 2011, the TAL Group has been saving their cotton scraps by sweeping the floors of their factories in China and Malaysia – saving hundreds of tons of cotton from the landfill. This once-useless cutting-room scrap is then spun into fully functional fabrics. Reclaimed cotton is neither bleached nor dyed and is traceable from raw material to retail store.

3. Undyed Cashmere: Mongolian plateau region

Mongolian nomads have long known that the key to keeping their grasslands healthy is moving their herds and maintaining a proper ratio of goats to sheep. Patagonia’s undyed cashmere is hand-harvested by Mongolian goat herders who brush their flocks as they shift grazing grounds according to the seasons. The colors of the yarns – whites, browns and tans – are as nature intended. The end result is a material untouched by the process of fiber dyeing, which lessens the environmental impact and gives the material an even softer hand.

4. Reclaimed Down: Alabama Chanin / Alabama, USA

Patagonia has partnered with designer and artisan Natalie Chanin, of Alabama Chanin, for a one-of-a-kind reclaimed down project. Damaged, returned down jackets (that cannot be repaired) have been collected in bales in Patagonia’s shipping warehouse for years through it’s Common Threads Partnership recycling program. Together with the artisan quilters of Alabama Chanin, the companies have developed a warm and wearable work of art that masquerades as a scarf. Each scarf is a numbered, limited edition.

Additionally, the Malloy Brothers (who are the Patagonia Brand Ambassadors), have produced a special book, titled “Truth to Materials”, which explores the various sources of raw materials for Patagonia products. This book is available in special-edition quantities, starting today, in Patagonia retail store locations.

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Cator Sparks
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Cator Sparks was the Editor-in-Chief of The Manual from its launch in 2012 until 2018. Previously, Cator was covering…
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