Patagonia's New Tee-Cycle T-shirts Are Made From Old, Recycled T-shirts
Patagonia recently set up an apparel repair center in Amsterdam to try to minimize apparel waste. But, for those garments beyond just repair, Patagonia is turning old shirts (with some additional recycled cotton added) into new ones.
The brand's new Tee-Cycle T-shirts are made with 100% recycled materials, including what Patagonia is calling Infinna fiber. The material is made with post-consumer recycled cotton from old T-shirts.
“The cotton fabric in our Tee-Cycle tees has already been out in the world, so there’s no need to extract anything new to make them,” the company said in a statement to Just-Style. “Instead, we take the old tees you bring us and use them to create Infinna [fiber], combine it with factory cotton scraps, and make brand-new shirts out of 100% recycled materials."
The idea of closed-loop systems in apparel or environmental action has been gaining steam among other companies, not just the uber-environmental Patagonia. There is huge consumer demand for apparel that minimizes raw materials and resources.
Sportswear companies like Adidas and Nike have introduced recycling programs as well, and have gone as far as turning waste like plastic water bottles into apparel.
While Patagonia has distanced itself from the branded and promotional products industries, there's still a lesson to take away from this. If one of the biggest names in apparel is betting hard on recycled apparel, promotional products companies should think about doing the same.
That's not to say that they need to set up a recycling plant to exclusively create products made from post-consumer material. But, boasting a shirt made from recycled cotton or other waste goes a long way in creating a favorable impression of your client's brand. And it's what consumers are increasingly looking for.
“We transformed discarded T-shirts into fabric to create this soft tee, which can be recycled into a new T-shirt at the end of its useful life," the company said. "This T-shirt is part of our goal to create a closed-loop process for clothing."