In the world of fast fashion, where brands are running after profits by selling off cheap quality knockoffs, we must appreciate the brands that take the high road. A spotlight on these brand stories is important to help them achieve the deserved recognition.
As we all know, the fashion industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world. Big corporations and brands have ripped apart the environmental and ecological aspects. Conscious clothing, slow, sustainable, eco-friendly and green fashion are vital pointers for a bounce back by the industry.
One such brand that holds sustainability as its core value is Patagonia.
The now-famous ‘The Patagonia’ had a rather unusual start. A young Yvon Chouinard was an expert rock climber. This led him to start a business for environment-friendly pitons(metal spikes).
While climbing across America, he started donning rugby shirts that helped his endurance while climbing. This started a wave across and Yvon began selling under Chouinard wear. This later laid the foundation of Patagonia. Under the brand, they started selling polyurethane rain jackets, bivouac sacks, boiled-wool gloves, mittens and schizo hats sourced from different parts of the world.
Established in 1973 in Ventura, California.
In 1989, after bankruptcy claims, the company split up and Patagonia set out to be a separate identity as a dedicated outdoor clothing firm.
Patagonia-why is it unusual?
Patagonia offers a wide range of products for sports such as climbing, surfing and many others.
Materials it uses:
Patagonia takes action at the root level, i.e. its materials to keep a check on its environmental impact. The brand uses cotton that is certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and also has bluesign certification for some of its fabrics. As the company belongs to both Sustainable Apparel Coalition and 1% for the Planet. It focuses on rejecting fast fashion. By using a high proportion of recycled fabrics, including polyester, nylon and wool it creates high-quality, long-lasting products while offering a repair and reuse programme.
The ‘Don’t buy this Jacket campaign’ was a unique idea from the brand. It was designed to tackle consumerism as it discouraged customers from purchasing too many of its products. They rightly believe that taking the ‘reduce’ aspect seriously is majorly important for a sustainable change.
Animal welfare and labour conditions:
The brand has a score of 51-60% in the Fashion Transparency Index. The supply chain is also certified by the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and Fair Trade USA in the final stage of production. They also have a decent animal welfare policy and share a general statement about minimizing animal suffering and traces most chains of animal products. Though it does not have a formal animal welfare policy.
Some of their fair trade achievements this season:
- 100% of our electricity needs in the US were met with renewable energy.
- 87% of our lines use recycled materials.
- Repaired 101,706 garments in 2020.
- Kept 149 tons of plastic waste out of the world’s oceans by turning fishnet into gear.
- 100% of the virgin cotton in our clothes is grown organically.
Environmental and political activism:
The brand is very serious about its pursuit of high environmental sustainability. A glance at its return policy shows the same with features like DIY Repair & Care Guides, Ironclad Guarantee, Worn Wear and Return & Repair Policy. Yvon’s brand can be regarded as one of the fine examples of being anti-consumerism with a sustainable business model.
For a long time, they have also committed 1% of their sales for One Percent for the Planet. It has made several other monetary donations like $10 million from tax cuts to “groups committed to protecting air, land and water and finding solutions to the climate crisis.”
The company is clear in expressing its political opinions and support. They have shown support to some Democratic Senate candidates and also kept its office shut on Election Day to encourage staff’s voting. This political activism has garnered them a lot of support from the liberals.
Reasons why it is one of the world’s most responsible company in 2021:
- Leadership & Mission: All its leaders right from the founder are core believers in sustainability and saving the planet.
“We aim to use the resources we have—our business, our investments, our voice, and our imaginations—to do something about it.”
- Monitoring & Transparency: Its transparent supply and management chain is monitored and assessed at every stage. They also welcome constructive criticism to make their sustainability initiatives better.
- Emissions, product & energy: Using certified organic, PFC- free materials, keeping a check on GHG emissions from the supply chain and using 76% of renewable energy in their global operations.
- Recycling, repair, resell and waste: They believe these objectives to be vital to bring down the menace caused by the waste from the fashion industry.
- Initiatives, standards and campaigns: Pata gonia has launched several initiatives to help fuel its sustainability goals. Their “Don’t buy our Jacket” is one of a kind campaign.
Mission & Vision:
The brand is truly out there to create a difference and keep the planet at the forefront of its actions.
Read about more such sustainable brands: