Patagonia is heeding beckoning calls from one of its biggest East Coast strongholds.
The brand — colloquially referred to as “Patagucci” in urban locations where it’s as beloved for its clout and style as it is for outdoor performance — is opening its first location in Brooklyn.
Patagonia joins a trajectory of mega brands moving across the bridge to Williamsburg, which is quickly being resettled as an outdoor shopping center and tourist destination. Taking up shop at 70 North 6th Street, the nearly 10,000-square-foot space is the largest Patagonia store in New York City and will stock the brand’s full breadth of technical, lounge and gear designs.
Patagonia’s head of retail experience (and former Brooklyn resident), Joy Lewis, has kept a close eye on the borough’s retail transformation over the last decade. Once Whole Foods and Apple made landfall, she said it was about waiting for the right location to become available.
“When we look at New York, we have a pretty solid footprint in [Manhattan], but Brooklyn is a pretty substantial place. It’s the most populated county in the state,” she said.
“We have so much of our customer base in Brooklyn, it made sense. When we look at our customer data, we know a ton are living in Brooklyn, but they have been shopping in our Manhattan stores where we have had such a strong presence over the past 25 years, so I expect to see quite a bit of growth in Brooklyn,” added Lewis.
While many urban Patagonia shoppers enjoy the brand’s prestige, attention to color and unisex styling, Lewis said that this remains a minimal focus for the brand internally. “What’s funny, even though people look to Patagonia as a fashion statement, we still don’t. We are not doing collaborations, that has never been our thing — we are trying to build a very purposeful product for outdoor activities and people adapt and use them however they feel.
“For Brooklyn, a big focus for us is — let’s really have fun with the location. There is a lot of retail in the neighborhood that is the pinnacle of experience and very cool but we didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously,” she said.
The brand’s new store arrives in a moment when New Yorkers routinely wait in block-long lines to shop at REI Co-op’s SoHo store on the weekends. While Patagonia was popular in New York City before the pandemic, it’s resonance is now even greater as city-dwellers spend more time outdoors — flooding the trails at Harriman State Park and the Rockefeller State Park Preserve, both a short train ride away from Manhattan.
For its Brooklyn location, the brand maintained its sustainable mantras by repurposing old beams for furniture and dressing room fixtures, while also commissioning local craftspeople and artists to create an ambiance that could convey Patagonia’s “save the planet mission,” said Lewis.
There are a considerable number of local artist contributions, including an exterior mural by youth artist collective Los Muralistas that conveys their fight for clean air in Williamsburg; Bathrooms were hand-painted and devised by Jing Wei while signs were also hand-done by Olive Panter, and an interior mission statement mural was completed by Colossal Media.
One portion of the store will serve as a “shop-in-shop” that turns over every six months or so. Currently, that space is dedicated to Patagonia’s “Worn Wear” secondhand program that lets shoppers trade in old gear that is repaired and washed for reconsumption. The Worn Wear exhibition in Brooklyn features items from recent collections as well as true Patagonia vintage.