The Cleanest Line

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    Touring Seattle’s Bullitt Center – The greenest commercial building in the world

    By Charles Clark & Jacqueline Sussman, Patagonia Seattle

    Bullitt Center 3_2

    “… after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be
    a functioning cog in some great machinery,
    serving something beyond me.”
                 –Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues

    On a far from average Wednesday, we arrived to work at Patagonia Seattle for a morning meeting led by brand responsibility analysts, Paul Hendricks and Logan Duran, from the Ventura headquarters. Reviewing the multiple types of environmentally responsible materials in our products (e-fibers), the use of third-party auditing for environmental performance standards and our ongoing environmental campaign efforts is a valuable reminder that our company is in a higher league of environmental responsibility.

    Above: The Bullitt Center in Capitol Hill, Seattle. All photos by Charles Clark and Jacqueline Sussman.

    Continue reading "Touring Seattle’s Bullitt Center – The greenest commercial building in the world" »

    Happy Holidays

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    Every year, we look back on the year that was—and every year, we’re deeply thankful for your support of our mission and your willingness to stand for nature in all its fullness and beauty. May the peace and joy of the holiday season be with you and your loved ones, and here’s to a bright New Year ahead.

    Inner glow meets outer glow in the Alaska Range. Photo: Norio Matsumoto

    Repair is a Radical Act

    By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO

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    This holiday season, I have an early New Year’s resolution for the sake of Planet Earth: let’s all become radical environmentalists.

    This sounds like a big leap—but it’s not. All you need is a sewing kit and a set of repair instructions.

    As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our garments through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time—thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.

    Continue reading "Repair is a Radical Act" »

    Rainforest Relief – Why Patagonia SoHo employees scaled Coney Island to save the Amazon

    By Yasha Wallin

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    In 1998 the Yankees swept their 24th World Series, Vice President Al Gore symbol­ically signed the Kyoto Protocol and two Stanford Ph.D. candidates established a little company called Google. It was also the year former Patagonia SoHo employees Aaron Petz and Teal Akeret, along with three other young activists, scaled the 250-foot Parachute Jump tower in Coney Island. Their goal? To hang a banner that read “NYC Parks Dept. Stop Killing Rainforest for Boardwalks & Benches.” It would go down as a highly effective grassroots operation to speak out for the Brazilian rainforest.


    Cover_3-70Editor’s note: Today we’re happy to share an excerpt from
    Living & Breathing: 20 Years of Patagonia in New York City, a commemorative book about our double-decade relationship with the Big Apple. Grab a printed copy at one of our four NYC stores or check out the digital version at the end of this post.

    Continue reading "Rainforest Relief – Why Patagonia SoHo employees scaled Coney Island to save the Amazon" »

    Our Earth Tax – Patagonia Environmental + Social Initiatives 2015

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    In the conventional model of philanthropy, the big funders—corporations and foundations—mainly support big professional environmental groups. The large national organizations (those with budgets over $5 million) are doing important work but they make up just 2% of all environmental groups, yet receive more than 50% of all environmental grants and donations.

    Meanwhile, funding the environmental movement at a grassroots level—where change happens from the bottom up and lasts—has never been more important. But these groups continue to be woefully underfunded.

    The funding paradigm is out of balance. We aim to change it.

    Above: Patagonia Environmental & Social Initiatives 2015. Pick up a printed copy at your local Patagonia store or read the digital version. Cover photo: Donnie Hedden

    Continue reading "Our Earth Tax – Patagonia Environmental + Social Initiatives 2015" »

    Our DWR Problem [Updated]

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    Update: The majority of this post first appeared on March 6, 2015. It has been updated here with the most recent information about Patagonia’s work to improve chemical safety in our supply chain.

    Patagonia—as well as other high-quality outdoor outerwear suppliers—for years relied on a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) of a certain chemistry (described below) to bead up, then disperse, surface moisture from rainwear. It is necessary, even in a waterproof jacket, to prevent surface saturation. A soggy surface creates a clammy, wet-feeling next-to-skin climate even where water does not actually penetrate the surface. The DWR we used as a standard for years was a long-chain (C8) fluorocarbon-based treatment that is highly effective and extraordinarily durable. Unfortunately, its by-products are toxic and persist in the environment, a combination that makes it unacceptable despite its excellent performance. Governments around the globe have now required chemical companies to stop making C8 DWR, so every high-quality outerwear supplier has been searching for alternatives of comparable performance.

    Continue reading "Our DWR Problem [Updated]" »

    On the Road with Worn Wear – 2015 Spring Tour Recap

    Words, photos and illustration by Donnie Hedden

    In the spring of 2015, Patagonia hired me to document a lively traverse across the United States—the Worn Wear tour. The story is as follows.

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    “What in the heck is that thing you got there?” mutters a middle age lady smoking a cigarette out back of the service station. “It’s a mobile clothing repair wagon,” I tell her. “We’re going around the country fixing folks’ clothes so they don’t have to throw away their favorite jackets.” She looks off into the distance taking in the concept, sweat beading down her forehead—summer came early in East Tennessee. “Well, if I woulda known y’all were coming,” she exclaimed, “I woulda brought down my jeans. The damn knees keep blowing out!”

    She takes one last rip and puts out her cigarette. “You know, that’s a good idea you’ve got there. This country could use something like that. We buy so much crap and throw it away.” She gets to her feet. “You all travel safe and keep up the good work. I gotta get back to it.”

    Continue reading "On the Road with Worn Wear – 2015 Spring Tour Recap" »

    Whiskey on the Rocks – Looking for answers in Scotland

    By Kristo Torgersen

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    “It starts as rain or snow falling on Scotland’s highest mountain—Ben Nevis. Either as rain or melting snow it percolates the thin layer of peat soil until it reaches the granite rock and unable to penetrate it, runs under the surface until emerging in Coire Leish or Coire na Ciste. The outflows from these two mountain lochans, located well over 3000’ above sea level, make their way spilling over the blue and pink granite rocks of the mountain’s rugged north face until they join together as the Alt a Mhullin continuing on in the valley between Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg.”Ben Nevis Distillery

    These poetic words adorn a bottle of gold-medal whiskey from the oldest legal distillery in Scotland, Ben Nevis—the source of distinguished single malts and the mountain crucible of British alpinism. This is where generations of alpinists, whether in wool knickers or Gore-Tex, developed mountain equipment and cut their teeth for expeditions to the great ranges of the world. It’s a place renowned for terribly stormy weather and long approaches to “short” climbs. It’s a place that honors style and demands an honest Scot’s prudence to climb routes only in “full” wintry conditions. It’s where Yvon Chouinard visited over 40 years earlier to test himself on Scotland’s hardest routes and compare the performance his own curved-pick Chouinard Zero ice tool with the angled-pick design of his Scottish contemporary, Hamish MacInnes. And it’s where Walker Ferguson, responsible for field testing all of Patagonia’s most technical products, has brought us to be guinea pigs with our own latest prototypes.

    Above: Jon Bracey navigates the exit on Gemini, Ben Nevis, Scotland. Photo: Kristo Torgersen

    Continue reading "Whiskey on the Rocks – Looking for answers in Scotland" »

    Worn Wear Spring 2015 Tour – Free clothing repairs and more in 15 cities across the country [Updated]

    One of the most responsible things we can do as a company is to make high-quality stuff that lasts for years and can be repaired, so you don’t have to buy more of it. The Worn Wear® program celebrates the stories we wear and keeps your gear in action longer to take some of the pressure off the planet.

    This spring—beginning April 4th in San Francisco—our biodiesel repair truck will travel coast-to-coast doing free clothing repairs, teaching you how to fix your own gear and selling used Patagonia clothing. Bring us your tired, well-loved clothing for repair. If you don’t have any, we’ll supply it. Fix it and you can keep it. Join us for local food and drinks and celebrate the stories we wear.

    Hit the jump for the full tour schedule.

    Above: Better Than New is a short film that introduces Patagonia’s new biodiesel repair wagon and pays tribute to the customers and repair techs who have kept our gear in use for over 40 years. Patagonia’s Reno Repair Department is the largest garment repair facility in the U.S.—completing about 30,000 repairs per year. Video: Dan Malloy

    Continue reading "Worn Wear Spring 2015 Tour – Free clothing repairs and more in 15 cities across the country [Updated]" »

    Our DWR Problem

    Please refer to the updated version of this post for the most recent information about Patagonia’s work to improve chemical safety in our supply chain.

    Patagonia—as well as other high-quality outdoor outerwear suppliers—for years relied on a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) of a certain chemistry (described below) to bead up, then disperse, surface moisture from rainwear. It is necessary, even in a waterproof jacket, to prevent surface saturation. A soggy surface creates a clammy, wet-feeling next-to-skin climate even where water does not actually penetrate the surface. The DWR we used as a standard for years was a long-chain (C8) fluorocarbon-based treatment that is highly effective and extraordinarily durable. Unfortunately, its by-products are toxic and persist in the environment, a combination that makes it unacceptable despite its excellent performance. Governments around the globe have now required chemical companies to stop making C8 DWR, so every high-quality outerwear supplier has been searching for alternatives of comparable performance.

    For the past decade, we’ve carefully researched and tested every available fluorocarbon-free alternative. Many finishes—including waxes and silicones—will lower the surface tension of a fabric enough to cause water to bead up and disperse rather than saturate. But they are easily contaminated by dirt and oil and rapidly lose their effectiveness, reducing the effective lifetime of a garment.

    Continue reading "Our DWR Problem" »

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