Patagonia has long been on the forefront of producing clothing in an eco-conscious way. They are taking that ideology one step further with their new "Truth to Materials" Collection, which honors the purest form of a material possible by putting more focus on craftsmanship and less on dyeing and processing. This collection makes the best possible use of un-dyed cashmere and reclaimed cotton, wool, and down. The processes are fascinating and the website goes in depth about each specific material. To break it down for you:

Undyed Cashmere

Womens Undyed Cashmere Cardigan
  • Women's Undyed Cashmere Cardigan

Mens Undyed Cashmere Pullover
  • Men's Undyed Cashmere Pullover

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. Goats eat grass roots, sheep do not.

In recent decades, Mongolia has expanded its global trade connections and the world's love of cashmere has put pressure on herders and their traditions. Fewer sheep and more cashmere-producing goats are being introduced into herds. The result is overgrazing.

In hopes of turning the tide on this trend, we are in the first stages of a partnership with NOYA Fibers, a small group of passionate people working with The Nature Conservancy to improve the future of the Mongolia Plateau region.

Our undyed cashmere is hand-harvested by 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 gives the material an even softer hand and lessens the use of water, chemicals and energy.

Reclaimed Cotton

Womens Reclaimed Cotton Crew
  • Women's Reclaimed Cotton Crew

Mens Reclaimed Cotton Hoody
  • Men's Reclaimed Cotton Crew

Too often, the life of a cotton garment, whether it's conventional or organic, ends at the landfill. Growing, spinning and weaving leads to cutting and construction and that leads to consumer use which eventually can lead to the dump. Factoring organic farming practices into the equation is certainly preferable to industrial agriculture, but farming still uses a lot of water and leaves a carbon footprint from preparing the soil, cultivation and harvest.

Thanks to a partnership with the TAL Group, one of the larger garment manufacturers in the world, we have 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 useable cotton in the process.

This cutting-room scrap is then spun into fully functional fabrics. Basically, the leftovers from 16 virgin cotton shirts can be turned into one reclaimed cotton shirt. When you consider the volume of work being done at the TAL Group's facilities, it adds up to a lot of saved resources.

Reclaimed cotton is neither bleached nor dyed and is traceable from raw material to retail store.

Reclaimed Wool

Womens Reclaimed Wool Parka
  • Women's Reclaimed Wool Parka

Mens Reclaimed Wool Jacket
  • Men's Reclaimed Wool Jacket

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. Bernardo Calamai, great-grandson of the founders, manages the Calamai Tech Fabrics line today.

Bernardo's family first started producing reclaimed wool fabrics in a small warehouse in Prato, Italy. Two brothers (one was 15 years old and the other 18) selected used garments and shredded and cut them into reclaimed fibers before they were sent to be spun into yarns. It was a different time back then, a poorer world. They wanted to make fabrics that were less expensive and more affordable to a greater number of people.

Today, the labor costs and market demands behind a product like reclaimed wool are not as they were before. For Calamai, the motivator is no longer economics; it is the ecology of this world. They don't want to waste and throw away used garments or second-choice fabric or scrap material because it will just end up in the landfill.

The reclaimed wool used by Patagonia is made from discarded wool sweaters that are shred into usable fiber-just like the early days-and mixed with polyester and nylon for strength.

Reclaimed Down

Womens Reclaimed Down Scarf
  • Women's Reclaimed Down Scarf

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 our Common Threads Partnership recycling program. Together with the artisan quilters of Alabama Chanin, we have developed a warm and wearable work of art that masquerades as a scarf.

Made from recycled polyester and insulated with goose down, Patagonia® Reclaimed Down Scarves are as warm and long-lasting as the garments from which they were made. Each scarf is a numbered, limited edition.

To read the entirety of the processes and see a video featuring Figli di Michelangelo Calamai, check out the website here.