While current eco-trends make companies quick to boast about their use of biodegradable glues and materials, Patagonia has been quietly pioneering greener methods for years , oftentimes inventing the new technologies. Their newest innovation is the world's first recyclable nylon jacket, the Shelter Stone, which can be processed through their Common Threads Recycling Program.
Making no compromises, Patagonia engineered the fabric so that the look, feel and performance is like any other traditional three-layer nylon shell. Surprisingly breathable for a waterproof shell, the Shelter Stone has reinforced high impact areas such as the shoulders, arms, sides and waist. Small details, like a helmet-compatible, three-way adjustable hood and coated zippers with garages to prevent from freezing, also make it technically sound. I love the two handwarmer pockets and soft fleece lining placed in especially abrasive areas such as inside the collar and around the chin. Cuff tabs and strategically placed drawcords at the hem ensure a snug fit and keep out the elements.
Unlike their competitors that buy fabric, Patagonia frequently develops them in-house, engineering garments up to their standards and trail-blazing new territories for recyclable clothing. The Shelter Stone is a prime example of their dedication to sport but more importantly the environment. Purchase it this fall at Patagonia for $350. Matching Shelter Stone Pants will also be available for $300.
I spoke with Star Heorauf, Patagonia designer of the Shelter Stone, to get her thoughts on the jacket.
What is one thing you require all coats have as a designer?
Most important things are fit and good pocket placement—hood fit in particular. I also design to avoid four seam intersections. I focus a lot of attention to contact points with the body too, for example inside collar details.
What purpose did you have in mind when designing this coat?
The jacket is intended for all-around mountain activities. Highly durable and mid weight, this jacket is intended for working in a mountain environment—whether it be slogging on the glacier roped in with a pack or guiding.
Any specific inspiration you followed when designing it?
The jacket is a balance of form and function. Fabric reinforcements and pocket openings are strategically placed for use with a pack. The inspiration for this design came from being roped in, traversing a glacier on a lovely sunny August afternoon—which within minutes turned into driving frozen rain and hail.
We're there any design compensations you had to make for this type of recyclable nylon?
No, the recyclable Nylon performs as well as its non-recyclable counterpart.
And the trim, is that recyclable too? What was used?
By trim, I assume you mean zippers, cord locks, etc. We don't source anything special for the trim package because, frankly, there isn't really much available at this point. That said, we've been working really hard on sourcing an eco-friendlier trim package, which we're hoping to include in future lines. The reality is the more people that jump on board, the greater the demand will be, which will increase availability and reduce cost.