In 2005, Patagonia launched a programme of recycling - "Common Threads" - for a part of their garment collection. In 5 years they say they have recycled 6 tons of clothing and recovered even more. This program was based on three pillars: "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle" … the brand asks its customers to bring back their old clothes - they are either recycled or restored: "We stress to our customers the value of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." To be sustainable, clothing should be functional, timelessly beautiful, and of enduring quality. It should not be disposable fast-fashion. Old garments that are still wearable should still be worn, which might mean wearing it when doing dirty-work or donating it to people who will use it. But finally there comes a time when a garment needs to be tossed out".
This programme has taken a whole new dimension since 15 November: it is now based on five pillars, "Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Re-imagine." Patagonia will fix tags on all its products and POS in its stores, encouraging customers to:
- Purchase the product only if they actually need it: "Don't buy this jacket unless you really need it";
- Systematically mend it (with the help of the brand);
- Send one's unused clothes to others (with the help of the brand);
- Not throw away your old clothes.
Patagonia is etching out a long-term approach – as a responsible brand, in keeping with the new expectations of consumers - especially the young. Its founder and CEO, Yvon Chouinard, stated last week that this non-standard programme... has enabled him to increase his market share!