The importance of repairing clothes for Patagonia
As part of Deep-Connect value, Patagonia believes that clothes gain value over time and thus should be repaired and not thrown away. This of course is also good for the environment. Find out more about the firm’s approach to repairing clothes.
The durability and longevity of Patagonia’s clothes has the consequence that the article comes to represent the personal history of the wearer. The website refers to “stories we wear” in that people’s own experiences are pressed into the rips, colorings and repairs of the clothes. Indeed, the website suggests that the articles gain value with time as a result: “better than new”. The website underlines these kind of connections by showing videos and photos of the articles in use, supplemented with personal stories from people who wear and have themselves repaired their Patagonia clothes. Furthermore, Patagonia repairs clothes as a customer service, generally for free. The repair of an article adds value: not only is the personal history of the wearer embodied in the clothing, but an additional individual has taken the garment in the hand and restored it to functionality and appeal to the eye. The article not only carries the personal history of the wearer, but the individual care and competence of another person.
Under the banner of “Worn Wear” on its website, Patagonia urges everyone to conserve the world’s resources by repairing clothes. The firm states “Keeping clothing in use just nine extra months can reduce the related carbon, water and waste footprints by 20 – 30%” with a reference to the study supporting this finding. In Nevada, Patagonia operates the largest garment repair facility in North America, where customers can send in their clothes to be repaired. The pieces of clothing are often accompanied by personal letters and photos which tell the story of the article and why it has significant sentimental value for the customer, filled with their own history or that of a loved one. Such actions by the customers attest to Patagonia’s philosophy that its clothes gain value with time. The firm also supports the repair of its clothes by training and making available its retail staff in stores to perform simple repair jobs. Furthermore, Patagonia presents 40 free guides on its website for repairing Patagonia products. Finally, the firm organizes Worn Wear events in the US and in Europe, at which its employees appear in a bus and on the day repair garments which are brought to them, or allow visitors to take a used garment from the rack, repair it themselves, and keep it (see photo). The knowledge of the employees in the bus and the tools and material for repairs are oriented to clothes from Patagonia, but in principle any garment brought to the bus will be repaired for free. The schedule for the buses is presented on the website. For each stop there is a page in Facebook with details and maps for the specific location, as well as the possibility to sign up for attendance and to show interest.