Patagonia Nixes the Yuppies, Attempts to Take Brand Back.

Business Insider Article

The American clothing company recently decided a requirement of new companies it works with will be that they align with Patagonia’s values of being environmentally conscious and prioritizing the planet.

Kim told Business Insider she had reached out to a certified reseller of Patagonia apparel making branded clothing for a client. The reseller, which is required to get approval from Patagonia, told Kim it couldn’t fulfill the order because Patagonia was focusing on co-branding with “a small collection of like-minded and brand aligned areas”.

“Due to their environmental activism, they are reluctant to co-brand with oil, drilling, mining, dam construction, etc. companies that they view to be ecologically damaging,” the reseller told Kim via email, which she posted to Twitter. “This also includes any religious group/Churches, food groups, political affiliated companies/groups, financial institutions, and more.”

Patagonia as a brand has a mission statement:

“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Oil, drilling, mining, dam construction…they all make sense based on their mission. They’ve long been aligned with causes of environmentalism and sustainable practices.  They’ve fueded with energy companies.  They’ve fueded with President Trump.  Now they’re focused on… the finance industry?  When I saw this article, it didn’t quite make sense to me.  I get a company based on the outdoors eschewing industries that infringe on their mission and goals.  Oil, coal and the subjugation of public lands are issues that are easy to see how Patagonia would denounce.  The finance industry however, doesn’t exactly fit that criteria.  That’s because this new development is less environmentally based, and more brand based.  Allow me to explain.

This is Yvonn Chouinard, the Founder of Patagonia.

Image result for yvon chouinard

He started making outdoor gear in the 50’s and 60’s as a climbing bum in the Yosemite Valley.  He later realized some of the climbing equipment he made was damaging the rocks he was climbing, so he set off in search of a more practical and sustainable alternative.  Almost immediately into his fabrication of outdoor goods, he was looking for something practical and sustainable.  Since then, Patagonia and Chouinard have practiced what they preached and focused on making immaculate gear that is born from sustainable practices.

This tends to make things expensive.

For outdoor gear users, they may not mind buying a Patagonia item because they know it’s both well made, and from good fabrication practices.

The only issue with this, which I doubt Yvon ever thought of in his wildest dreams, is that often expensive things become some what of a status symbol.  In the  financial sector, this appears to be exactly what happened.

Remember that pic of Yvon, and now contrast this with these folks.

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Think Different #midtownuniform

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A Fall classic. #midtownuniform 📷: @frankwangphoto

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You think any of these guys have touched a rock wall or climbing rope?

Compare those cats with, again Chouinard.

Image result for yvon chouinard

or Patagonia’s instagram, which is tailored toward the brand they want to push.

So what this appears to me is Patagonia attempting to take their brand back.  They have long made it clear that they are willing to sacrifice their bottom line for causes they believe in, which is what this is.  The cause this time being their brand itself though, and not environmentalism or sustainability as usually is the case.  They don’t want the new image of Patagonia, which has become fratty and yuppie.  They want it back to what Chouinard envisioned while climbing in the Yosemite valley in the 1950’s.  So if shutting down new finance companies from getting personalized vests, so be it.   I love the move.  I’m sure the financial industry is head over heels trying to figure this move out, because it will undoubtedly hurt their bottom line….without the understanding that for some, there are things of more importance.

And having guys like this:

represent their brand instead of folks like this:

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Wall hanging on El Cap. Photo: @austin_siadak

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Appears to be pretty high on the list.  Good on ya’ Patagonia.