NEW YORK — Later this month, Patagonia catalogue shoppers will be among the first to find out about the company’s Common Threads Initiative.
Instead of just hailing the benefits of recycling and reusing clothing, the program is also meant to encourage consumers to think twice before they buy something new. “Don’t buy this jacket unless you really need it” will be one of the cautionary messages used on hangtags, posters and other in-store signage. Self-defeating as that might sound, founder Yvon Chouinard said this unconventional approach will “increase my business like crazy,” namely because the brand will cut into competitors’ sales. Over the past few years, the recession has made people more conservative about spending, more interested in long-lasting and better-quality items, he said.
“We want people to imagine our lives consuming less and living simpler lives based on what we need as opposed to what we want,” said Chouinard, whose company has donated 1 percent of its annual sales — $40 million to date — to environmental organizations for years.
The brand’s four Rs — reduce, repair, reuse and recycle — will be fleshed out in the holiday catalogue, which ships to about 1.2 million shoppers Nov. 15. To reduce, Patagonia is recommitting to making durable, multifunctional clothes that stay reasonably in fashion. Repair guarantees that if a zipper fails before a garment does, the company will fix it for free. As part of its reuse effort, the brand will help provide a way for shoppers to sell, trade or donate garments they no longer want.
During a speech at the 2010 Sustainable Textiles Conference in New York last week, Chouinard said eBay will play a role in this initiative. Approached afterward, he declined further comment, as did eBay executives, when reached later in the day.
For the recycle component, Patagonia will collect and recycle clothes in the least harmful way.
Patagonia is also still helping Wal-Mart with its environmental initiatives. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer was motivated to go more green after analyzing the life history of large clothing companies and retailers and determining that most do not last for more than a generation, Chouinard said. They also recognized that teenagers are much more concerned about preserving the environment than other generations were.
A consortium of large companies that account for 55 percent of the world’s apparel production is developing a sustainable fashion index along the lines of the organic standards that are used in the food industry. Within two years, shoppers should be able to walk into a store and scan a garment to see sustainability grades for energy and water use, social responsibility and other factors, Chouinard said. A Wal-Mart representative said the index would not be out for four or five years.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)