Patagonia’s Technical Fabric Development & Design (Ep.47)

This week we talk to Patagonia’s senior material developer, Pasha Whitmire, about how Patagonia designs, develops, and tests their technical fabrics; myths surrounding waterproof / breathable materials; why the future of fabric development lies in sustainability; the advantages and disadvantages of working with big names like Gore-Tex; and a whole lot more outerwear geekery.


  • The “Killer Wash” and Patagonia’s other fabric tests (3:50)
  • The relationship between fabric and garment (12:50)
  • Waterproof laminates — 3L? 4L?? 5L?!?! (19:00)
  • What comes first: concept or material? (22:43)
  • Designing fabrics to be recycled (23:45)
  • Gore-Tex — challenges and advantages of working with the fabric juggernaut (29:44)
  • Biggest misconceptions about waterproof / breathable fabrics (34:52)
  • Why the future of fabric tech is green (46:08)
  • Other brands that Pasha is excited about (48:04)

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2 comments on “Patagonia’s Technical Fabric Development & Design (Ep.47)”

  1. Pasha’s take on where the outerwear industry is at is a little misleading. There are several outerwear companies that use their own in-house testing facilities to evaluate textile performance. Most of them even have sweating guarded hotplates or sweating manikins from companies like Thermetrics.

  2. When they mention considering acquiring a sweating hotplate test set up. One of the things that seems interesting is starting to test combinations of base-layers, insulation and shell. one to get an index of breathability, but also to see how insulation performs in a test that is perhaps more representative of actual field use than straight insulation testing with a “dry” hotplate.

    Reargdinh the “killerwash”, i remember visiting the Gore lab in Germany about 20 years ago, and they too mentioned they had found nothing better at destroying fabric than an old fashioned Maytag washer (at at time, when in Europe front loading washers were the norm), Amon all testing apparatus.

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