Adventure Bound is excited to announce the addition of Patagonia!
Patagonia’s universal appeal spans every age, gender and demographic. It is a brand favored by surf bums as well as Wall Street investment bankers. The same Patagonia down sweater is as likely to be worn by the active elderly as a street-savvy teen. Why are we so infatuated with the Patagonia brand? A jacket is just a jacket, right? After reading this article, it is my hope that in some small way, you will become more aware of your place on this planet and that your infatuation with Patagonia, dear reader, will become true love.
A first glance, it would seem that Patagonia’s allure stems from a quest for adventure. The name “Patagonia” evokes images of rugged peaks towering over pristine mountain lakes, skies streaked with color and bleak, barren landscapes whose vast loneliness tugs at the soul. This improbably remote, impossibly beautiful region of the world beckons the imagination. While the vast majority of Patagonia-wearers will rarely travel beyond sidewalks, pavement, and the occasional dirt path, it’s easy to understand why people like to align themselves with the true adventurers of the world.
But Patagonia’s role in the outdoor industry is much richer than the quest to bag the next big peak. For example… did you know that Patagonia was the first company to make performance fleece? In the 1970’s, during a time when terrycloth toilet seat covers were in fashion, Malden Mills took a super fine terrycloth-like polyester yarn and brushed it. After its fibers were brushed, the fabric’s volume greatly increased; they also provided insulation and could wick water away. In 1981, Malden Mills partnered with Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, to explore the performance characteristics of this new material. At the time, Patagonia was a tiny company. They used this new fleece material in their Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, which is still in the Patagonia line today. Fleece replaced wool as the most popular material for wicking and warmth, and the rest is history!
Chouinard was also the founder of 1% for the Planet, whose mission is “To build, support and activate an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet.” The organization does this by encouraging members to donate 1% of their profits to conservation-oriented activities. 1% for the Planet is celebrating its 10 year anniversary and more than $100 million invested in positive environmental change by its member companies.
But they didn’t stop there. In a radical move that flies in the face of conventional corporate wisdom, Patagonia announced its intention to limit growth in order to best serve the environment. In a campaign labeled “The Responsible Economy”, Yvon Chouinard, encouraged consumers to be more responsible with their purchases:
“We ask our customers to think twice before you buy a jacket from us. Do you need it, or are you just bored? … Since corporations run the government, if you want to change the government, you have to change the corporations. If you want to change the corporations, change the consumers.”
As a part of their “anti-growth” campaign, Patagonia placed the following ad in major publications across the U.S.
In Spring 2016, Patagonia launched its Worn Wear Road Tour. A Patagonia mobile repair van is traveling around the western US in an effort to spread its message that worn clothing can be “Better than New”.
The following manifesto was written by Patagonia CEO, Rose Marcario: