News & Views

Patagonia / Worn Wear

by Contagious Team

Purposeful clothing brand makes another Black Friday statement

Patagonia made headlines in 2011 with its unconventional Black Friday campaign: a full-page ad in the New York Times bearing the headline, 'Don't Buy This Jacket'. Promoting its Common Threads Partnership, the brand made a bold statement that conspicuous consumption, even if it helps a company's bottom line, doesn't jive with Patagonia's social responsibility purpose.

This year, the brand is reinforcing that sentiment with an update on the two-year-old campaign. Called Worn Wear, the campaign centres around a film produced by the Malloy family, members of Patagonia's Surf Ambassador team. The 28-minute film follows the lifespan of various Patagonia fans and their gear, telling 'the stories we wear'. Scenes range from a maple syrup farm in Vermont to a surf camp in Baja, Mexico, and the film also includes an interview with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.

The Worn Wear film is being premiered in 15 different retail locations, as well as running online at In addition to the film, Patagonia is launching a repair program with iFixit, which will see the brand producing a free series of repair guides for Patagonia products. Customers can visit any of the participating locations for assistance in repairing a well-loved and well-worn Patagonia garment.

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Social purpose has long been a part of Patagonia's environmentally conscious DNA. And as capital-p Purpose has become more and more important to consumers - and consequently brands - Patagonia has been thrust into the spotlight as a paragon of consistency. Last year, the brand urged US voters to support environmentally friendly tickets in local elections. In January of 2012, the company became a Benefit Corporation, meaning it is required by law to create general benefit for society, as well as for its shareholders.

It's all part of living the purpose of the brand, rather than simply adopting a perspective in the hopes of winning customers. As Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia's VP of environmental affairs told Contagious in 2012, when we profiled the brand in Issue 30: 'Whenever companies tell you what their mission statement is, you can kind of see the ennui in their eyes. Patagonia's different, because the mission guides the business. And it guides me, on a short- and long-term basis, to make the decisions I make. It really is the reason the company succeeds.'

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O

Ridgeway will be speaking at Most Contagious New York about the pragmatism of purpose, and how companies and marketers can move more quickly and use agile, tactical thinking to initiate positive change in the world. Join us at Most Contagious on December 11th to hear his perspective.