This collaboration adds to NFW’s portfolio of high-profile brands, which includes Ralph Lauren, Porsche, and Allbirds. For Patagonia the move is reminiscent of Polartech’s shift away from man-made materials, as Patagonia seeks to replace much of its current sources of fabric on a large-scale level.
Classically, the outerwear industry has used non-degradable polyester and polyurethane for their protective properties. NFW seeks to challenge such a school of thought, as Luke Harverhals, CEO and founder, states, “When it comes to performance, we’ve learned that nature does it best. We have been able to decisively prove that not only can natural materials perform just as well as synthetics, but unlike plastic-based materials, they can also sustainably scale.”
With the introduction of NFW’s CLARUS into Patagonia’s supply chain, together they hope to restructure how Patagonia’s clothing is made and distributed. CLARUS is the name given to NFW’s set of powerful “fiber welding” technologies that solve manufacturing issues around the scalability and quality of natural and recycled materials
“Our closed-loop chemistry process enables naturally plentiful materials – like cotton, hemp, and wool – to take new shapes and perform at new levels,” reads the CLARUS website. “This means synthetic-like performance but from 100% natural sources.”
NFW also developed its own proprietary bio-based material, called MIRUM. Plastic-free, Mirum is made with virgin and recycled plant matter. It is entirely natural, biodegradable and recyclable, and it’s never coated in polyurethane or PVC.
Founded in 1973, Patagonia has held a stance of product quality and environmental activism since its inception. 87% of the brand’s fabrics this season are made with recyclable materials, its down is up to global standards, and its cotton is completely organic. Furthermore, Patagonia has integrated a rigorous evaluation system to track current and aspiring suppliers’ environmental performance.
Sara Hayes, director of material development at Patagonia, noted that “NFW’s technology enables entirely natural materials to provide synthetic-equivalent performance properties, such as abrasion resistance and moisture management.”
The scale of operations has yet to be seen, but it is of great interest to keep tabs on both Patagonia and NFW as they move forward towards large scale production.
In other material news, Crocs introduced its new bio-based Croslite innovation.