This April Patagonia will hit the road and travel across the States in a solar powered custom made van that has been decked out with a full-on garment repair facility. The idea, part of Patagonia’s Worn Wear program, has been conceived to try and change the way Americans go about consuming their stuff.
Along with being able to mend garments that the public bring along, the tour will also attempt to educate people in how to fix stuff themselves. It’s all part of Patagonia’s Worn Wear program – a philosophy that aims to encourage people to take care of their gear, fixing and repairing it when necessary, in an effort to counteract the type of consumerist culture that sees people replacing stuff long before it’s worn out.
The van Patagonia will be using on the Worn Wear Tour has been created by surfer and artist Jay Nelson. The solar powered shell is made from redwood salvaged from wine barrels that has been mounted on a biodiesel fueled Dodge. Staff from Patagonia’s huge repair facility in Reno will be on on hand throughout to tour to provide the free repairs and also to educate folks in how to fix their own gear in the future. Patagonia recognise that the cleanest production method available is to not actually produce anything at all and to try and encourage consumers to use their clothing for as long as possible:
‘At the end of the day, we can tinker with our supply chain, improve sourcing, use all-recycled fabrics and give away millions of dollars to environmental organizations until the cows come in, but nothing is more important and impactful than keeping our clothing in use for as long as possible.’
This project, along with the Worn Wear program as a whole is part of a wider framework within Patagonia that seeks to explore, help and inspire environmental action throughout the world. We all know that environmental policy and action is a big part of what the company are about, however, I think it’s worth reflecting on just how deeply embedded within the culture of the company environmental action is. I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post about this recently but there are so many aspects to Patagonia’s environmental activism that it’s really difficult to know where to start. Here are a few examples:
Patagonia’s use of recycled polyester started back in 1993. Today most of the polyester present in Patagonia garments is made from recycled plastic bottles, general waste and used polyester clothing. Polyester is such a ubiquitous fabric that it makes sense to use as much recycled content as possible. Fleece seems to be having a bit of a renaissance this year too so it’s as good a time as any to celebrate PCR polyester.
Arguably the brand that have had the biggest influence on the industry push towards the use of so called ethical down, Patagonia have a comprehensive policy regarding the trace ability of the down they use in all of the down filled garments in their range.
The Cleanest Line
There are a multitude of ways the consumer can interact with Patagonia. Every season the brand produce micro blogs and webisodes based around different athletes, activities and places within the sphere of the brand. Check out the recent and brilliant #Find_Away series as an example.
The Cleanest Line is the original Patagonia blog and is a huge source of material related to the brand’s environmental interests around the World. It’s a great example of just how deep the roots of Patagonia run within the world of conservation.
Mile for Mile
Mile for Mile is an example of what Patagonia have become really good at over the years; not just going out there and making a difference to particular place or concern but also creating beautiful media around the subject that doesn’t just tell a story but also seeks to inspire others to engage with the subject also. This is a beautiful short film based around the creation of a new national park in Patagonia and the journey that 3 Patagonia athletes took through the proposed park’s landscape. A film about running 100 miles through the Patagonian wilderness has got to be worth a watch.
Patagonia are one of the oldest, most successful and most influential outdoor brands in the world. Any cynics out there wondering if the company’s green credentials are just a means for financial gain should spend a little time browsing Patagonia media. They have a legacy of environmental action that is second to none.