Cool Stuff Being Made: Patagonia Clothing

By February 18, 2006Cool Stuff Being Made

patagoniaThis week’s edition of Cool Stuff Being Made is actually not written by the Blogger-in-Chief nor his Apprentice. Anyone at NAM HQ can attest that neither of us are monuments to the latest fashions.

So, when we heard we were going to talk about how the good stewards at Patagonia make their products, we thought, “who else to tell us more about their innovative climbing gear than Fashion Diva-in-Chief Tara Smith,” Director of Public Affairs at the NAM. Here is Tara’s write up of what she found interesting in the video that you are about to watch:

As an Oregon native, my friends and I wore Patagonia fleeces as fashion statements. They were warm and stylish- in fact; our unofficial school uniform consisted of running shoes, jeans and a Patagonia fleece. The rest of the population of the Pacific Northwest wore Patagonia products with a more important purpose: to properly outfit them for their outdoor activities. Residents of the Pacific Northwest are usually very active; they are hiking, biking, climbing, swimming or canoeing to one destination or another and they must dress to suit the elements.

In this week’s video you will see Patagonia’s team of consultants who don’t come to work in three piece suits. These consultants are climbers. Just watch how they chip away at those big chunks of ice in pursuit of higher heights, and they are in search for the best gear to wear as they climb those icy slopes. They wear Patagonia jackets and shells with two objectives in mind: they want the product they wear to stay dry and they want it to be lightweight, so as to not inhibit their climbing. As one ambassador noted in the video, “the enemy is not the mountain but not being able to move fast.”

Patagonia discovered that the bulkiest portion of the shell is the seam which holds it together, so they recently created their innovative composite seam system (CSS) which creates a sonically welded seam. This revolutionary technology allows the fabric to create a direct bond, where the seams are as water resistant as the remainder of the shell and the shell appears “seamless.” What results is a products that can cover the body, keep you warm and fold up into the size of your fist. In this age, Patagonia supplies a niche market for light & fast climbing gear.

The short, seven minute video you are about to see is typical of a lot of manufacturers of products that we’ve showcased–how its made has everything to do with how the product is tested, it truly is amazing to see the amount of R&D that goes into something as simple–yet so innovative–as an article of clothing.

To check out this cutting edge technology, click here to watch this week’s video.