The partnership will further each brand’s commitment to fighting the climate crisis by rethinking the way we source, use, and recycle truly circular materials through a joint commitment to developing and scaling circular solutions in textiles.

Natural Fiber Welding was founded in 2015 and is based in Peoria, Illinois. It develops technologies based on the sustainable use of plants and natural fibres, including its Mirum plant-based leather, which is made with natural polymers. Leveraging the strength and diversity of virgin and recycled plant matter, such as coconut husk, rice hulls, and cork, Mirum requires no plastic binders or coating.

The firm’s Clarus patented technology platform, meanwhile, uses a closed-loop chemistry process to engineer yarn structures in what NFW calls “radical” new ways. This allows natural fibres to compete with synthetics on every attribute consumers care about, the firm says.

It adds Clarus’ entire supply chain is designed for low environmental impact and transparency, from raw materials which are sourced locally, to end-product. Because the recycled yarns are composites of 100% natural materials, Clarus fibres are said to be entirely recyclable and designed for endless circulation.

With Patagonia’s support, NFW says it will “continue to innovate at the intersection of performance and sustainability, creating uncompromising material solutions.”

Sara Hayes, director of materials development of Patagonia, notes the ability to incorporate recycled natural fibres in a textile that is durable and has enhanced performance is a very innovative technology with potential for high impact in the industry.

“NFW’s fibre welding technology enables entirely natural materials to provide synthetic-equivalent performance properties, such as abrasion resistance and moisture management, she adds.

Luke Haverhals, CEO and founder of NFW, says: “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. That’s why we’re thrilled to collaborate with Patagonia, who has long been a leader in demonstrating both the importance and the power of nature.”

Natural Fiber Welding recently closed US$15m in new funding to help scale production to meet demand for its Mirum and Clarus product lines.