One of the most responsible things we can do as a company is to make high-quality stuff that lasts for years and can be repaired, so you don’t have to buy more of it.
The Worn Wear program celebrates the stories we wear, keeps your gear in action longer and provides an easy way to recycle Patagonia garments when they’re beyond repair.
Repair is a Radical Act
By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO
This holiday season, I have an early New Year’s resolution for the sake of Planet Earth: let’s all become radical environmentalists.
This sounds like a big leap—but it’s not. All you need is a sewing kit and a set of repair instructions.
As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our garments through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time—thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.
Why is repair such a radical act? Fixing something we might otherwise throw away is almost inconceivable to many in the heyday of fast fashion and rapidly advancing technology, but the impact is enormous. I tell you this as CEO of a clothing company that, despite a deep commitment to responsible manufacturing, still takes more from the earth than it returns.
Krishna (left) an avid garment mender himself, has biked from Seattle to San Francisco, been rescued from the backcountry and has raised a family in his 15-year-old grey pants. “I love telling my daughter stories that I’ve had these pants for 15 years. I feel so proud. I want to ride my bicycle from Salerno to Milan in 2017 and I’ll take these grey pants with me.” Krishna Chaturvedula and daughter Mahima. San Francisco, California. DONNIE HEDDEN
The Stories We Wear
Inspired by the years of use Keith Malloy was getting from his surf gear, he and his wife, Lauren, created the Worn Wear blog where folks like you can share a story about your favorite piece of Patagonia clothing.
Our founder, Yvon Chouinard, helped get things started when he wrote about the grandfather of all fleeces
. Everyone who gets his or her story published receives a Worn Wear patch.
“Thanks Patagonia, for keeping the hand-me-down tradition going strong.” –Shari Williamson, Bozeman, Montana. SHARI WILLIAMSON COLLECTION
Product Care & Repairs
The biggest step we can all take to reduce our impact is to do more with what we have. Laundering, ironing and drying can shorten the life of your clothes as much as wearing them does, so we offer tips for cleaning and care to extend the life of your clothing. When that first bit of sharp rock finally bites into your favorite jacket, don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Patagonia employs 45 full-time repair technicians at our service center in Reno, Nevada. It’s the largest repair facility in North America—completing about 40,000 repairs per year. We’ve also teamed up with the repair experts at iFixit to create care and repair guides so you can easily do it yourself.
Worn Wear Tour Stop #4 at Smith Rock State Park, Oregon. We stayed for two days, posted up at the trail head, greeting chalk-stained climbers and tourists alike, fixing any and all garments and gear, regardless of brand and year. We even fixed the pockets of Matt’s park ranger uniform. PATAGONIA ARCHIVES
Putting the snap back in a Snap-T® Pullover. Patagonia Service Center, Reno, Nevada. PATAGONIA ARCHIVES
Reuse & Recycle
No longer wearing that fleece? Get it into the hands of someone who needs it. Saving up for a surf trip? We make it easy to buy, sell or trade used Patagonia gear. And yet, all things natural or manufactured eventually come to the end of their life.
Everything natural gives life to something new, so should the things we make. Whatever you’ve bought from Patagonia that’s finally worn-out, you can return to us so that we can recycle it into new fiber or fabric (or repurpose what can’t yet be recycled).
Don’t Buy This Jacket
Patagonia’s Black Friday Ad, The New York Times, 2011
It’s Black Friday, the day in the year retail turns from red to black and starts to make real money. But Black Friday, and the culture of consumption it reflects, puts the economy of natural systems that support all life firmly in the red. We’re now using the resources of one-and-a-half planets on our one and only planet.
Because Patagonia wants to be in business for a good long time—and leave a world inhabitable for our kids—we want to do the opposite of every other business today. We ask you to buy less and to reflect before you spend a dime on this jacket or anything else.
Environmental bankruptcy, as with corporate bankruptcy, can happen very slowly, then all of a sudden. This is what we face unless we slow down, then reverse the damage. We’re running short on fresh water, topsoil, fisheries, wetland—all our planet’s natural systems and resources that support business, and life, including our own.
The environmental cost of everything we make is astonishing. Consider the R2® Jacket shown, one of our best sellers.
To make it required 135 liters of water, enough to meet the daily needs (three glasses a day) of 45 people. Its journey from its origin as 60% recycled polyester to our Reno warehouse generated nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, 24 times the weight of the finished product. This jacket left behind, on its way to Reno, two-thirds its weight in waste.
And this is a 60% recycled polyester jacket, knit and sewn to a high standard; it is exceptionally durable, so you won’t have to replace it as often. And when it comes to the end of its useful life we’ll take it back to recycle into a product of equal value. But, as is true of all the things we can make and you can buy, this jacket comes with an environmental cost higher than its price.
There is much to be done and plenty for us all to do. Don’t buy what you don’t need. Think twice before you buy anything.