How Patagonia is Challenging the Culture of Consumption

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It’s no secret that Patagonia is one of the leading companies on environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Earlier this year, I read “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman” by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. It’s a fascinating read about Patagonia’s history and eight main philosophies.

An overarching theme of Chouinard’s book is that Patagonia proactively seeks to reduce excessive shopping. As a business that needs to sell to survive, this seems contradictory; yet, this approach fully resembles Patagonia’s mission.

These are a few ways Patagonia is challenging the culture of consumption:

Using Durable Materials

Products are made out of durable materials so that they last a long time and (hopefully) avoid repeat purchases. 

Fixing your Clothes

With increased technologies and the rise of fast fashion, it’s often cheaper to replace garments than to fix them. That’s why it launched the Worn Wear Mobile Tour - it repairs your garments for a low price. You can also find short online videos to show you how to do it yourself.  

Taking Back your Old Clothes

In April, Patagonia launched the Worn Wear initiative. It takes back your old Patagonia garments in exchange for store credit. What will they do with your old clothes? Refurbish it and resell them. You can purchase those used items online here. Hows' that for a circular economy?

Marketing Well

Every successful company needs great, honest marketing – especially those who seek to do good and also be successful. On Black Friday, Patagonia launched the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign. It explained the environmental cost of their polyester recycled jacket and asked consumers to think twice about purchases.

I don't know about you, but I have yet to hear of a company who spends money on marketing to tell you to not buy from them.

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These initiatives show that Patagonia is trying to embrace a culture of reduced consumption. The more than we can “reduce, reuse, and recycle” the more that we will care for our planet. In the words of Patagonia, “Don’t Buy What you Don’t Need. Think Twice Before You Buy Anything.”

Anairis Hinojosa