Patagonia: A Bandwagon Worth Jumping On

I truly think that it is a shame that the designs of Patagonia clothing products are so popular and fashionable among so many. Patagonia rip offs can be found throughout a wide spread of the clothing industry, including youth causal wear, sportswear and gift shops. The real deal has been one of the hottest selling clothing items purchased during the Christmas season for several years now! Stores can’t keep it in stock and imitators have jumped on the opportunity to make a buck on cheaper knock offs. It is true that Patagonia’s clothing has a simple, yet beautiful design and that they use a unique and varied color palette. It is also true that they are well made clothes and last a long time. But there is one feature of Patagonia products that should distinctly stand out as the number one reason why their clothes are so darn popular in our society. That is their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendliness that is applied as stringently as possible down the entire production line.

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The ridge line depicted in the Patagonia Logo is derived from a real mountain! It is Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia, on the border of Chile and Argentina!

Despite being a Fortune 500 company, Patagonia is one of the leaders in our nation for large scale sustainable practices in the clothing industry. They made a commitment early on as a company and have worked endlessly to make changes as they grew and find new ways of doing things that accommodate a larger scale production rather than simply falling in line with typical practices used by most other large producers. Here are but a few of the efforts Patagonia has in place that set it apart from other producers.

One Percent for the Planet

Patagonia invests 1% of the company’s yearly sales (not merely profit) back into the environment by doling it out to grass roots organizations fighting to persevere a land mass, stop the building of a dam, clean up an oil spill, or any of many other causes being fought for by locals across the US. In stead of swooping in and playing savior, Patagonia believes that those who are passionate and connected with an issue, living beside it day in and day out, are the ones best prepared to make a difference so they choose to fund them rather than interfere. This program is called 1% For the Planet and was founded by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard in 2002. Today, over 1,200 other companies are now also committing 1% of their annual sales as well, totaling in over $100 million that have been poured into environmental preservation.

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Blue Sign Approved

On Patagonia’s website, you can trace nearly every product back to the factory it was made in, wherever that may be. Many of Patagonia’s workers and factories are indeed abroad, but the company strives to make sure that working conditions are more than fair and that the production taking place is as sustainable as possible. Since 2000, Patagonia has been working with a company called Bluesign Technologies in order to achieve this more sustainable way of production and keep concern for workers in the fore front.

Bluesign technologies, based in Switzerland, works at each step in the textile supply chain to approve chemicals, processes, materials, and products that are safe for the environment, safe for workers, and safe for the end customers.

Can you imagine how much better off everyone involved in the entire supply chain would be if ALL companies even attempted to ensure something even similar as this?!

Traceable Down

As all hikers will agree, there is nothing like down when it comes to warm weather gear. Nothing gets you as warm and is so lightweight and small while doing it. But this comes at a cost to the animals whose feathers are used to produce our jackets, pants, booties, sleeping bags, quilts and more. In an effort to have a clear conscious in regard to every nook and cranny of their company, Patagonia has changed the way harvest do down. Instead of plucking a goose of its feathers and leaving it to die, as is typical, they found a way to pluck from geese already set to die by partnering with food companies. Harvesting the down feathers of geese used in the food industry means the goose will not die solely for it feathers, having the remains wasted.

But, Why?

Let’s be real. Patagonia would be an even more profitable company and all of their head honchos would be a lot more rich than they surely must be already if they would just cut some corners and produce their clothing the way most other companies do. It would be so much easier for them if they didn’t care to worry for animals or workers or about dumping waste and chemicals or about if the consumer got a long lasting, sustainably made article of clothing or not. So why do they do it!? Because they are one of us! They love to blow off work on a beautiful day and get outside and enjoy nature. They really want to have their beloved playground to be kept beautiful and open forever, just like we do, so they have committed to helping keep it that way! Thank God they are using their influence in such an honorable way!! I enjoy being able to respect the clothes I am wearing, knowing that they are worth the money both in quality and in doing the world a little bit of good. I just wish that was the true reason why Patagonia was so popular!

Want to Learn More?

The founder of Patagonia is a life long rock climber, mountaineer, and fly fisher. He wrote a book about the company he started and tells the story of how it turned from simply making better gear for himself and his friends to one of the top outdoor product companies out there. Let My People Go Surfing is both an intriguing story of adventure and an informative book about sustainable business. It is absolutely worth a read!

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Patagonia Fall Fashion Items For Sale At Mountain Crossings

 

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