Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit Patagonia.com to see what we do.
In April 2011, we posted here a report on problems we’ve experienced sourcing down for our down clothing. As we mentioned, quality is not the problem. We’re proud of the down clothing we make. The designs are simple and beautiful, the fabrics are strong and lightweight, and the quality (fill-power or insulation value) of the down is excellent. The sales are important to us – and one percent of those sales contribute a significant chunk of change to environmental causes.
Lesen Sie hier die deutsche Version dieses Artikels (Read the German version of this article).
Down clothes are tricky to make in two ways: Special care has to be taken to safeguard workers who fill and sew the garments. Anyone who has worked with down knows that it is lighter than feathers and resistant to gravity. Down rooms have to be sealed off from other areas and workers have to wear masks to keep from inhaling the fiber. We have worked with our factories to ensure healthy conditions for people who work with down.
The second area of concern is treatment of the geese. You have to go deep into the supply chain from sewing factory to down vendor to processor before you finally get to a farm. And a single goose can spend its life on four different farms. This complexity is also true of other products involving animals, including shoes and wool and sweaters.
We’re honored to report that The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has awarded Unexpected: Thirty Years of Patagonia Catalog Photography its “Best Book – Mountain Image” award for 2011. Unusual for a business enterprise, Patagonia’s catalog devotes half its space to editorial content — environmental and sport essays and extraordinary photographs of wild places and active pursuits. Jane Sievert and Jennifer Ridgeway, Patagonia’s current and founding photo editor, respectively, have been calling, and culling, the shots for three decades. Unexpected is their compendium of most compelling photos the company has published, and a celebration of wilderness and outdoor-sport photography as an art and a practice. On behalf of the company, Jane, Jennifer and designer Annette Scheid accepted the award in Banff on November 3.
Make the jump for more on the book from the Banff judges and to hear an interview with Bernadette McDonald whose book, Freedom Climbers, won the Grand Prize.
Our new digital surf catalog is up and riding. Lots to click through and enjoy here -- perfect for some weekend inspiration (is that a fresh NW swell on the first day of fall?) or to cushion your Monday morning re-entry at work. Thanks to all the photographers, videographers, ambassadors and Patagonia/FCD employees who made this one possible. And thanks to Raincoast Conservation for all of their efforts in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Note: With all due respect to the iDevice users out there, this catalog is best viewed on your desktop computer or an Android tablet. Stay tuned for our first foray into iPad catalog design coming soon.
[Photo credits: Jeremy Koreski (top), Andrew Chisholm (bottom left), Jeremy Koreski (bottom center), Gina Sinotte (bottom right)]
“Recycling is what we do when we're out of options to avoid, repair, or reuse the product first. That's why I am so impressed with Patagonia for starting its Common Threads Initiative with the real solution: Reduce. Don't buy what we don't need. Repair: Fix stuff that still has life in it. Reuse: Share. Then, only when you've exhausted those options, recycle.” –Annie Leonard, author of The Story of Stuff
In the 18th century Lancashire's cotton mills and the budding clothing trade helped fuel the Industrial Revolution and create the modern economy. Now it's time to reverse the engines – to help create the next, more sustainable economy. Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of our Common Threads Initiative: a partnership between our customers, eBay and Patagonia to make, buy and use clothes more sustainably, with the ultimate aim of keeping the clothes we sell from ever reaching the landfill.
Our friends on the Patagonia Books team are proud to announce a new title by Mickey Muñoz called No Bad Waves. The book was a collaboration between Mickey, who recorded the stories in a series of interviews, Jeff Divine, who culled through Mickey's extensive photo archives, John Dutton, who massaged the transcripts into shape, and Peter McBride, who combined the words and images into what we think is one of our best books to date.
Today we're happy to give you a taste of the the book. Instead of a long narrative, No Bad Waves features a collection of short stories like this one about Mickey and the first group of West Coast surfers to ride Waimea Bay.
Surfing Waimea Made Me Bigger
The next time I went back to Hawai‘i was in 1957 when we spent the whole winter on the North Shore and ended up surfing Waimea. That winter, I rode some big waves and came back with extreme confidence.
The group of us over there had talked about riding Waimea and had gone by to look at it. Waimea appeared to be the last place on the North Shore that was rideable when everywhere else was closed out. A bunch of us had gathered, and we were standing on the road to check it out. I can’t remember who suggested we go out, but, “OK, let’s do it!”
Patagonia’s friend Ray Anderson, the visionary founder and chairman of Interface, died last week at the age of 77. Ray was an intelligent, soft-spoken entrepreneur, engineer, and businessman who, on reading Paul Hawken's Ecology of Commerce in 1994 called it a “spear into my heart,” embraced environmentally conscious business practices, and became a tireless spokesman for better behavior on the part of business. We interviewed both Ray and Paul in our video “What Is Quality for Our Time?” (pictured) which you can find in our Footprint Chronicles and Video Gallery. Paul has graciously granted us permission to post his moving tribute to Ray.
We, who were so fortunate to know Ray Anderson, were in awe. He was many people: a father, executive, colleague, brother, speaker, writer, leader, pioneer. But I am not sure any of us quite figured him out. On the outside, Ray was deceptively traditional, very quiet sometimes, an everyman, all-American, down-home. He was so normal that he could say just about anything and get away with it because people didn’t quite believe what they heard. He could walk into an audience and leave listeners transfixed by a tenderness and introspection they never expected or met. Business audiences in particular had no defenses because they had no framework for Ray.
Was he really a businessman? Yes. Was he a conservative southern gentleman with that very refined Georgiadrawl. Yes. Was he successful? For sure.
Today’s post – about one of the simplest pieces of gear we’ve ever made – comes from Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard. It originally appeared in the 1980 Chouinard Equipment Catalog. [Photo: Yvon Chouinard screengrab from The Simplest Solution and 180° South.]
When I was at a ski show recently, walking by the booth of one of the largest pack manufacturers, a salesman/designer insisted I come in to look over his new pack design. He was terribly proud of it. We spent twenty full minutes going over its sophisticated load distribution features and anatomically S-curved frame, welded with tungsten/inert gas and its wonderful bag made of 420-denier Super-K-coated eight-ounce parapack nylon held together with 18 stitches per inch of cotton-wrapped Dacron thread. Finally, after reaching a fever pitch of enthusiasm and exhausting every aerospace term he knew, he stepped back beaming proudly. As his eyes gradually returned to their respective sockets he asked, “Well Mr. Chouinard, how do you like it?” I shrugged. “It looks like you’ve put a lot of thought into this thing,” I said, “and it certainly looks and feels good with all this display foam in it. But I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you. I carry all my loads with a tump line now. And with one of those it doesn’t matter what you have on your back – a fearsome astro loader like this or a sack of potatoes.”
That riled him a bit, but he didn’t know how I’d reached my tump line conclusion. In 1968, in the jungles of Colombia, I injured my neck while diving into a shallow river. Shortly after that faceplant, the muscles on one side of my neck atrophied, which in turn, has caused me classic back problems – nagging lower back pains and various muscle spasms. I’ve seen orthopedists and chiropractors and I’ve read every book I can on back problems. The consensus is this: most back problems are caused by a weak back or stomach muscles. Great. So how do I exercise muscles that have nerve damage? And I can’t stand to do any sort of exercise for exercise sake anyway...
The Patagonia crew extends a hearty welcome to Josh Dirksen. Josh joins fellow snowboarders Ryland Bell, Forrest Shearer and Taro Tamai in our ambassador lineup. Josh is widely known as one of the great understated riders in the sport. With over 20 years snowboarding and a pro career spanning over a decade, Josh is one of the few athletes in the circuit who's been riding professionally longer than he can remember. We caught up with Josh recently in Europe, where he spends part of the year, the other parts being spent in the search for snow and surf. He can still be found in his long-time home base of Bend, Oregon a few months out of the year.
[Josh Dirksen, enjoying home-sweet-tent - his living quarters during 3 weeks of filming for Deeper in Alaska. All photos courtesy Josh Dirksen collection.]
TCL: You have a home in Oregon, a wife in Switzerland and travel all over the world each year. Do you have a favorite place to come back to?
Josh: These days it does not really matter which place I head back to. It is more important who is around when I get there. I always look forward to seeing my wife, family, and friends wherever they are at.