Figli di Michelangelo Calamai was founded in 1878, roughly 100 years before the birth of the environmental movement. Calamai is dedicated to producing reclaimed wool. The finished product uses garments and manufacturing scrap and blends them into a variety of knits, weaves and weights as well as textures. Bernardo Calamai, great-grandson of the founders, manages the Calamai Tech Fabrics line today.
Bernardo’s family first started producing reclaimed wool fabrics in a small warehouse in Prato, Italy. Two brothers (one was 15 years old and the other 18) selected used garments and shredded and cut them into reclaimed fibers before they were sent to be spun into yarns. It was a different time back then, a poorer world. They wanted to make fabrics that were less expensive and more affordable to a greater number of people.
Today, the labor costs and market demands behind a product like reclaimed wool are not as they were before. For Calamai, the motivator is no longer economics; it is the ecology of this world. They don’t want to waste and throw away used garments or second-choice fabric or scrap material because it will just end up in the landfill. “I am glad to work with a team like Patagonia,” says Bernardo. “Patagonia has always had a special open mind to what you can do with reclaimed and recycled fibers. We truly care about the products we make, and it has always been my personal pleasure to work alongside a company with a philosophy so similar to our own.”
The reclaimed wool used by Patagonia is made from discarded wool sweaters that are shred into usable fiber—just like the early days—and mixed with polyester and nylon for strength. From this material we made the Women’s Reclaimed Wool Parka and the Men’s Reclaimed Wool Jacket.