How Patagonia Is Giving New Meaning to Upcycled Fashion
Patagonia’s ReCrafted initiative deconstructs and repurposes old gear into new, highly-coveted pieces
Patagonia’s Worn Wear initiative, established in and evolving since 2005, aims to keep gear in play for as long as possible by repairing damaged clothing, reselling returned items in good condition, and recycling garments at the end of their lives. Worn Wear’s newest effort, ReCrafted (created by Senior Designer Kourtney Morgan, who’s responsible for some of the brand’s most iconic gear), aims to answer the question of what to do with garments that can’t be repaired, resold, or recycled.
According to Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s VP of Environmental Affairs, “the footprint on the planet of an apparel product like a jacket goes way down the longer that jacket is used and reused. And ReCrafted fits right into that whole idea.” Patagonia sends these jackets, shirts, vests, and bags not to the landfill, but to ReCrafted partner Suay Sew Shop, a production sew shop in Los Angeles specializing in upcycled goods. There, the items are deconstructed and repurposed—along with parts from other items—into brand new pieces, resulting in a collection of functional, one-of-a-kind clothes made from other clothes. “Before, you were just wearing your own story,” says Lindsay Rose Medoff, owner of Suay. “But now you’re wearing the collective consciousness of massive, positive change in the world.”
An Idea That’s Catching On
And Patagonia isn’t the only brand offering this option. Other outdoor companies are jumping on the opportunity to reuse and rework gear—from tech-minded Arc’teryx to luxury lifestyle brand Filson—giving us ample options to wear the change we wish to see in the world.
Arc’teryx’s rock solid Used Gear program buys back lightly worn gear, then sells or donates the cleaned and restored garments.
Filson’s Restoration Department is an in-house sew shop combining pieces from damaged gear into beautiful reworked bags.
The North Face Renewed is a collection of refurbished clothing “remade to explore.”