ByGeneva Ratcliffe

Aug 10, 2023

Patagonia is known for its stewardship of the environment. The outdoor clothing company launched a new program to help protect our planet when it introduced a traveling version of its Patagonia Worn Wear program. Participants at local events will learn how to repair their clothes and trade in clothing to reduce waste.

Patagonia locations will host events where anyone can learn to repair their clothing. Sharing skills that last a lifetime, like sewing, keeps products in use longer. And Patagonia repair pros will be onsite to teach and work on tough-to-repair items. The program encourages the kind of circular thinking the planet needs by helping people learn to repair their outerwear and giving pre-loved Patagonia clothes new homes at a lower price. Music and refreshments will be on tap for attendees.

The average American throws away 81.5 lbs of clothes a year, most of which are worn fewer than 10 times before they are tossed. The fashion industry wastes 92 million tons of textiles and uses more than 396 million gallons of water annually. Every item not discarded can reduce that vast environmental footprint. So giving your clothes a new home, or patching them, means one less piece will be thrown away and a little less waste in the world.

What’s the Deal?

Using the trade-in program, customers get store credit by mailing back or taking used clothes to a Patagonia retail store. Although the program does not take bathing suits, shoes, and underwear, the company will buy back most of the products in its catalog. Store credits are issued to customers’ accounts after a Patagonia employee inspects the clothing to determine its value. With that credit, you can buy a new or used item from their website or stores.

This year’s mobile Worn Wear project will travel the West Coast to help people make clothing last longer. Events at Patagonia retail stores will teach skills such as patching rain gear or upcycling a worn-out wetsuit to create a reusable shopping bag. At a Ventura, California, event, Patagonia bike repair technicians will also be on hand to do repairs.

The idea is to help people make their wardrobes and outdoor gear last longer so they get the most out of their purchases. To find the next event, subscribe to the Patagonia website to receive updates.

What’s the goal?

Today, 85% of clothing ends its useful life in landfills or incinerated to generate energy. Reducing that waste can transform humanity’s consumption of resources, such as the oil used to make polyester or cotton, which requires massive amounts of water, which will benefit nature. We humans win in the long term as we succeed in reducing the need for natural resources and the pollution from extractive processes we recognize is driving extreme weather events around the planet. Making clothes last longer can contribute to healthier air, clean oceans, and preserve topsoil.

By offering trade-ins and teaching skills, Patagonia hopes to do its part to build a community that makes things last and gets the most out of items. Repairing and trading clothing sends a message to other fashion companies that consumers expect durable, long-lived clothing with easy end-of-life options, like trade-in and recycling services.

Support sustainable thinking and shop wisely, closing the loop on fabric waste. Patagonia’s workshops are a convenient and fun way to learn how to replace a zipper or resize the pants you no longer fit because you lost weight. If you have a piece of Patagonia gear you love but don’t wear, consider turning it in for credit and getting something you will use.

Let’s make each piece of our clothing worth the resources that went into making it.