Patagonia staffers camped out in front of Fashion Institute of Technology's Student Center.


Friday’s chilly temperatures were just right for Patagonia staffers camped out in front of Fashion Institute of Technology’s campus in New York.

A stop on the Worn Wear College Tour, the all-day outdoor event featured on-the-spot repairs, sidewalk shopping for gently worn Patagonia jackets and pointers for garment care. Through a partnership with Plan, FIT was one of 21 colleges selected for stops on this season’s tour and it coincided with FIT’s Sustainability Awareness Week. The school’s sustainability program was one of the reasons it was chosen, according to Kern Ducote, Worn Wear’s content creator.

Bundled up in a well-worn hooded red Patagonia down jacket, he fielded all sorts of questions from students and passersby. Five hundred to 1,000 people typically check out the clothes and bring clothes to be mended at Worn Wear events. Many were intrigued by the Patagonia Worn Wear Wagon designed and built by San Francisco artist Jay Nelson. The vehicle’s wooden exterior was made from reclaimed red wine barrels, and caused more than a few pedestrians on West 27th Street to take a closer look. Others checked out the $75 secondhand Patagonia jackets and $25 flannel shirts.

In its fifth installment, Worn Wear is about to get a permanent online home, Ducote said. In mid- to late-April, a Worn Wear web site will be launched for shoppers to learn how to receive gift certificates for future purchases by returning gently worn Patagonia garments. Beyond the company’s heritage in environmental issues, Patagonia aims to use business to solve things like the environmental crisis while simultaneously making consumers and other companies more aware of water usage and carbon footprints. It also aims to spread a message of sustainability by promoting organic cotton and fair-trade policies, he said.

Others picked up do-it-yourself instructions for simple fixes, like patching your jeans properly or unsticking a zipper. Doing so spares the environment, considering production of a R2 jacket requires 135 liters of water — enough for 45 people’s daily need. It also generates nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. At its facility in Reno, Patagonia has 45 full-time repair technicians patching up damaged fleece jackets and other products.

Patagonia is partnering with Yerdle for its Worn Wear efforts and has already sent more than 5,000 used Patagonia items to new homes. Yerdle helps companies implement re-use programs through its technology and logistics services. In addition to allowing existing customers to trade in items for gift certificates, the Yerdle-enabled effort gives new customers the chance to buy certified pre-owned items.

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