“Truth to Materials is about discovering the origin of a material and staying as true to that as possible during every step of design and manufacturing,” he says. “The clothes in this collection represent a deeper dive into the progress Patagonia has already made—with materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester—but with less dyeing and processing, fewer virgin resources, and an even greater focus on craftsmanship.”
Patagonia partnered with kindred companies to bring its collection to fruition. Italy’s Figli di Michelangelo Calamai supplied the reclaimed wool, which it creates from discarded wool sweaters that have been shredded into usable fiber, then mixed with polyester and nylon for reinforcement.
TAL Group sweeps the floors of their factories in China and Malaysia for “useless” cotton scrap, which it respins into good-as-new fabrics that require neither bleaching nor dyes. “Basically, the leftovers from 16 virgin cotton shirts can be turned into one reclaimed cotton shirt,” Rapp says.
From Mongolia comes hand-harvested cashmere in their original whites, browns, and tans. Patagonia says the nomadic herders who brush their flocks are careful to maintain the proper ratio of goats to sheep, rotating grazing grounds to keep grasslands healthy.
Truth to Materials may be a range unto its own, but Patagonia says it expects its work to inform “what’s yet to come.”
“You have to do it every day and eventually, maybe, you will get better,” Rapp adds. “Failure comes the moment you say, ‘I’ve got this wired, nothing more to discover here.'”