Sustainability Series: Patagonia
An ever-growing list of incentives, campaigns and projects can be associated with California based outdoor brand Patagonia who have made it their mission to find the best ways of producing and designing practical gear and apparel without causing harm to the planet. Naming 2020 as the year of the ‘Regenerative Revolution’, the latest sustainability goal set by the company is to help as many farmers as possible to make the transition from traditional farming methods to certified organic processes. Additionally, they’ve also been promoting the growth of organic hemp whilst perfecting the 100% recycled materials used for a variety of styles including a new Netplus fabric supplied by Bureo, which supports the removal of fishing nets along the coast of South America. Implementing sustainable solutions across all their collections of Patagonia clothing, and operational aspects to the business, the brand also aims to be carbon neutral by 2025; a process which they have already started to put in place by working towards using renewable energy for all of their globally owned and operated locations.
Continually inspired by international organisations, ambassadors and pioneers who are working hard to change the fate of the planet, for each seasonal release Patagonia selects an area of the world to inform new colours and prints at the same time as raising awareness for the natural landscape. For SS20 the focus is the Mississippi River Basin which is the fourth-largest drainage basin in the world and the first ever river system to join the UN Clean Seas Campaign last year. Influences from the landscape are notable across styles such as the Better Sweater ¼ Zip Sweatshirt which has a River Delta Multi: Industrial Green all over print design, the Lightweight Fjord Flannel Shirt which has a classic check print and new patterns presented across Baggies Longs 7” Shorts and Funfarer Caps. Of course awareness isn’t being raised just through attractive decoration and colours, it’s innate through all that Patagonia does which brings the spotlight onto the people, stories and traceability behind each product. Whether it's through the use of 100% recycled materials that reduce the use of virgin fibres, the ongoing Worn Wear Tour which offers to fix your favourite items of clothing for free or Fair Trade Certification throughout production which ensures the makers are awarded a premium for their labour, Patagonia prove that there’s not just one route to a sustainable future, it’s a collective effort.
Without jeopardizing quality or aesthetic, for AW19 69% of Patagonia’s line, by weight, was derived from recycled materials which not only keeps waste out of landfill but also lessens carbon footprint emissions by 40% in comparison to using virgin fibres. A series of 100% recycled ‘Responsibili-Tee T-Shirts’ were the first examples of how 100% recycled fibres could be used and have become firm favourites within each seasonal release - the P-6 Logo Responsibili-Tee T-Shirt has become a staple within streetwear culture and proudly shows the famous Patagonia mountain range logo screen printed using PVC and phthalate-free inks in large across the shoulders.
As a more progressive demonstration of the versatility of 100% recycled fibres, the Torrentshell 3L Jacket has been designed with waterproof, breathable and comfort focused layers that encourage longer wear when it’s wet and is one of Patagonia’s most impressive designs for SS20. Tested in both the lab and field to ensure it meets the company’s H2No® Performance Standard and will provide exceptional waterproof protection and breathability, the jacket has been responsibly made with Fair Trade Certification and has a face fabric of 100% recycled nylon treated with a non-toxic DWR finish. Similarly, both the Baggies Longs 7” Shorts and Baggies Lights Shorts have been made from 100% recycled polyester which encourages water to slide off the surface whilst headwear styles such as the Boardshort Label Funfarer Cap use a combination of organic cotton canvas and NetPlus, a fabric made from recycled fishing nets developed by a California based company called Bureo which are supported by Patagonia’s Tin Shed Ventures fund. Continuing across all categories, progressions from last season have resulted in practical bags such as the Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack and Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack now all being made with 100% recycled outers and linings with coatings that don’t include toxic chemicals.
New developments ensure you can barely tell the difference between conventional and recycled fabrics and breaks down old associations with once considered ‘hippy textiles’ such as hemp and organic cotton, which are celebrated for their natural performance abilities. SS20 t-shirt designs such as the How to Help Organic T-Shirt and Cotton in Conversion T-Shirt use cotton that has been sourced through the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative and from crops that are grown organically but are yet to be certified. Additionally, the Road to Regenerative Lightweight Tee has a soft, plush feel and brings attention to the Regenerative Organic Certification Pilot which is working with cotton farms aiming to achieve the best standards in practise by ensuring animal welfare, soil rehabilitation and improvements in the lives of farmers. Following the decriminalization and legalisation of hemp in selected states in the USA last year, the fibre has made a strong comeback in all forms and is finally being recognised for its ability to be grown without as much water in comparison to cotton and its restorative abilities, not to mention its natural strength and breathability when woven into fabric. Made from a blend of organic cotton and hemp, the Lightweight All-Wear Hemp Volley Shorts have a soft, airy feel and a versatile look that makes them a go-to for breathable comfort during the warmer months - we’d suggest pairing them with the Trail Harbor Crewneck Sweatshirt and printed Back Step Shirt.
In just a few years time Patagonia will celebrate their 50th anniversary which will no doubt see them reflect on their influence, impact and time within the outdoor apparel industry and their goals for the future. With a huge selection of achievements under their belt since being founded in 1973, such as being the first outdoor apparel company to use recycled materials, teachers in a left-wing approach to business and supporters of grass roots activists through their Action Works initiative, Patagonia continues to push on with their goals for the future and 2020 is already off to a strong start with all of their packaging poly bags now being made from 100% recycled content, the launch of an extensive research project with an aim to find a solution to microfiber pollution and a surf film in collaboration with Hawaiian legend Gerry Lopez set for release in spring.
Shop all Patagonia at Flatspot.