Today, Patagonia launched Worn Wear ReCrafted, a collection of handmade upcycled apparel. Made from swatches of used garments the brand collects through its Worn Wear initiative—both a resource for customers looking to repair used gear and a platform for reuse, resale, and recycling of discarded Patagonia products—each ReCrafted piece is composed of past Patagonias. And it's like nothing the brand has done before.
While Patagonia is known for its use of recycled fabrics, ReCrafted takes the brand’s eco-friendly ethos to a new level, literally saving items otherwise destined for the landfill and giving them a second, and arguably more attractive, life.
Every product in the line is sorted and salvaged at Patagonia's Reno Repair Center then deconstructed, redesigned, and stitched together from pre-worn parts in Los Angeles. In the case of the line’s down vests, these salvaged parts vary from mere scraps to entire sections, and when fully assembled, retail for $257.
This collection of used product swatches turned “new” ReCrafted pieces comes complete with the occasional “signs of use from a previous life.” Despite the obvious durability concerns, the scuffs and patchwork are a feature, not a bug. In the brand’s own words, “the scars tell the story.”
Functional? Frankenstein? What exactly is ReCrafted?
Frankly, it may just be the Fitz Roy’s first foray into fashion.
Upcycling has carved out its own space in streetwear and haute couture alike. While the practice is rooted in sustainability, its distinctive “patchwork” aftermath has gained a proper place in today’s style vernacular through the impact of designers like Christopher Raeburn and Junya Watanabe (the latter routinely collaborates with Patagonia frenemy The North Face on an upcycled collection).
Certainly upcycling old garments is less harmful on the environment than creating brand new ones from whole cloth made of virgin fibers. That's a major part of the story. But it’s unlikely that a Worn Wear ReCrafted down jacket will take you up Rainier the same as say, a Down Sweater bought on Worn Wear or even a new piece purchased in-store. Then again, the very cardigan silhouette of the former implies a more casual use than the later, leaving the consumer to judge each piece's end use-case.
While Patagonia gear has never been a slouch for looks, the ReCrafted collection pulls the brand to a new place—one where functionality is... perhaps playing second fiddle to form for the first time in the brand's 46 year existance. Which, if we're being honest about how most customers use the product, and the fashion in which these upcycled garments are being presented, isn't necessarily something to get too pissy about.