Last year, a band of Patagonia apparel designers revealed that they had been working on a project that, to devout followers of the brand, was a bit radical. They had been tinkering with one of the brand's mainstays, fleece, in a project called Fleecelab.
The fluffy fabric is a keystone in Patagonia's history; the brand worked with Malden Mills (now Polartec) to invent the stuff as a lightweight thermal layer, even when wet, for hardcore outdoor adventures. Decades later, fleece has evolved to meet far broader needs, and these intrepid designers targeted form over function.
Fleecelab's sophomore year includes three styles: a pile coat with a high collar and oversized pockets, a vest with subtly patterned trim and a henley made with a wool blend material.
None are as overtly outdoor-oriented as their foundational material once was, but they are consistent with the lifestyle-focused items for which the brand is perhaps now more widely known. Each piece does use recycled materials and natural fibers, though, and that's right in line with Patagonia's current, continuing focus on sustainability.