Black Friday, Green Planet?

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I’ve always loved Patagonia.

Not the place, I haven’t been there yet, though it’s on my “list.” But, the company.

How do you love a company?

Well, they’ve got to have a great product. And that’s where it starts. But there’s something bigger that has always drawn me to Patagonia. It’s the ethic of the company. And how it runs soul deep.

It’s about honoring life and expression and the planet first. Creating space for great adventures and deep connections. Then building everything else around that. Patagonia’s mission-statement is:

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

It comes from the founder, Yvon Chouinard, who’s adventures I’ve followed since I was a young rock-climber back in the 80s. Chouinard shared much of his journey and philosophy in his wonderful book Let My People Go Surfing.

So on, Black Friday, a day defined by mass, hip-checking-in-the-aisles consumption, I love how Patagonia is trying to turn down the frenzy and reconnect people with a different set of values. Buying quality stuff, when you need to, keeping it for as long as it serves you, then handing it down.

It’s kind of fun to look at an item of clothing or a camera or pair of boots or a mountain bike and remember what stories each mark or tear or patch tells. That’s been my ethic, more or less, since I was a kid. Work hard and save up to make or buy the best, then keep it till it fails or it’s time for the next generation to live into its well-worn pedigree. To tell the next wave of stories. I don’t always rise to this challenge, but it’s my aspiration, for sure.

So, when I stumbled upon this beautiful documentary featured on Patagonia’s home page today called Worn Wear, one that shares the idea of quality, longevity and sustainability, I figured I needed to be part of that message. I’m embedding it below.

Maybe it’ll offer a bit of a mindset reset along the way. Enjoy.

Feel free to share it around…

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12 responses

12 responses to “Black Friday, Green Planet?”

  1. Pretty amazing storytelling in this clip. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Richard McLellan says:

    Great blog, and sentiments. Totally resonates with me: See my blog on #nonsumption “Don’t spend that dollar”

  3. Ken McGaffin says:

    Agreed Jonathan, Patagonia are amazing – and the site and company is a wonderful example of a strong story that infuses everything they do.

    I just love the storytelling in this video – but the story only grew from the passion behind it.

    Just love it – thanks for sharing

  4. beth says:

    Great video. I think a friend of mine had those fleece ski pants. I have a Patagonia windbreaker that I bought on sale at a store in Durango Co. to wear when I went kayaking and that lives in my truck as an emergency and camping jacket. It is so comfortable.

    I don’t know how I’m going to fit this video in with a tutoring website but I’ll figure it out. It’s a great jumping off post. There’s definitely a message about learning in here.

  5. Lynn Sherwood says:

    Thanks for the quiet inspiration to individualism and especially great examples of modern pioneers following their own paths. While not an “outdoorsy” person in my current life, I loved this because I value people who know who they are, especially when it doesn’t match mainstream, and I can really connect with the idea of living a more integrated life with a smaller footprint on the planet. I think of the depiction of the “real” people in the original Matrix wearing rags, and enjoy the shift depicted in this video from thinking they “have to” to “they want to” because of the value of the stories the clothing tells.

  6. I’m always amazed at the annual rush to go shopping for stuff we don’t need and that likely won’t even make us any happier. Despite it being completely unsustainable, we’re told our economy depends on it.

    Thanks for sharing this video. I feel like I went on a vacation watching it and appreciate the message. Awesome example of story telling to support a brand and a mission.

  7. Ed Roberson says:

    Great post Jonathan. I wrote a similar piece (although not as well-written as yours!) on my blog the other day. I agree with you on all counts – love Chouinard, love the gear, love the lifestyle that Patagonia promotes. Thanks for sharing this video and its important message with your readers.

  8. Loved it thanks J. I have a pair of pants I still live and wear regularly 15 years on.

    And then there’s my interview suit which I bought in Paris 20 years ago and have worn to secure jobs in France and New Zealand. I haven’t had any job Iinterviews lately but if I ever do I will be wearing it.

    On Halloween I wore some long gloves that belonged to my granny and I often wear one of my mum’s old dresses to parties of the fancy dress and regular kind.

    I also tend to view new clothes I’m buying with an eye to handing them down to my daughter – I hope she likes vintage as much as her mum! And is the se size….

  9. I LOVED that film and felt the exact same way. Very inspiring company and founder, thanks for sharing.

    Your site is looking amazing, by the way.

  10. Melloney says:

    The Patagonia ethic is truly inspiring and the beautifully made film made my heart melt and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your post and for sharing. You have brightened up my day 🙂

  11. […] thanks to Stephen Levy for sharing this with me (he shared this link to another post by Jonathan […]

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