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.
“I think what’s so interesting about the #MeToo movement and this whole new wave of feminism in general, is that women are finally seeing, ’Oh I can start my own company, oh I can lear to code, oh I can leave my nine-to-five job and do the thing I want to do,” said @brooklyndecker ahead of her @sxsw talk for @createcultivate. The former model took the stage to share wisdom about networking and female-driven entrepreneurship. #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.