What I’ve Got: Patagonia – Desirability and Environmentalism

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The Patagonia brand is truly multi layered (pun perhaps intended, perhaps not). When entering the Patagonia website, their “Environmental & Social Responsibility” tab is one of the most prominently featured ones. Patagonia thus establishes itself as a brand that is dedicated to quality, not quantity. A sustainable, environmental approach to materialism that justifies the higher prices— “yes, this is likely to be expensive, but it will last you three generations.” However, the Patagonia brand is not all talk. 

In addition to their mission statement, they also have a platform to support these ambitions: Worn Wear, whose goal is to “change people’s relationship with their stuff.” It is a recycling, repairing, repurposing platform that keeps the products relevant and in use for longer period of times. The brand focuses on the impact of manufacturing and consciously tries to help support the environment. Is this what makes the brand so appealing? By buying these products, does the customer assume these principles? When seeing a Patagonia-clad individual, is that the first thought we have? perhaps or perhaps not. While the mission is universal (or could potentially become universal), the brand is inherently exclusive. Not everyone can invest in getting this higher quality product even if it will become a family heirloom. Further more, is this aspect of the Patagonia brand just a marketing strategy?

In November of 2011, on Black Friday, Patagonia added a tag to their clothes that read “Don’t buy this jacket,” citing their recent mission to stop growth rather than increase it. However, this tag did not deter customers but rather increased Patagonia’s revenues by 30% from the previous year’s Black Friday, winning customers over from other brands. People want to think of themselves as environmentally conscious, and that is one of the leading aspects that make this brand so desirable — the promise of quality and the dedication to a healthy, sustainable relationship to the environment.


Sources

https://groundswell.org/the-bottom-line-patagonia-north-face-and-the-myth-of-green-consumerism/

http://www.patagonia.com/environmentalism.html

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