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150 Patagonia, Clothing
Done Right

Old Patagonia Bunting Jacket

In 1978, hikers and climbers still wore cotton knickers and jersey turtlenecks. The science of clothing was almost non-existent. Cotton, down, and an occasional wool sweater ruled the world of outdoor clothing. When we got wet wearing our 60/40 parka we just got cold.

My first Chouinard jacket was an ugly yellow-brown (not beige, that sounds too flattering) pile jacket. The jacket looked horrible and felt even worse. It was stiff and very utilitarian looking on the outside and fuzzy on the inside. My friends made fun of the jacket. Strangers would offer me money thinking I was a vagrant. But the revolutionary jacket’s worth was not found in it’s style but rather it’s function - it was actually warm even when it was wet.

The following year, Chouinard Equipment offered a new pile bunting jacket. It had the same wicking properties of the earlier jacket, but the new model actually looked like a piece of clothing. My old 1979 pile bunting jacket (pictured above) is threadbare from years of fun, but it is still serviceable thirty years later. That is clothing done right.

In the eighties Patagonia became the apparel company of Chouinard Equipment. The company continued to grow with Yvon Chouinard at the helm. With vision and a conscious he steered the company toward greener manufacturing. His book "Let My People Go Surfing" tells corporations there is another way to do business which can be successful.

An interview with Yvon Chouinard is featured in U S News in their America’s Best Leaders series. A quote from the article,

"Corporations are real weenies," he says. "They are scared to death of everything. My company exists, basically, to take those risks and prove that it's a good business."

Patagonia continues to take risks, tries to do things right, and still makes really good, green, long lasting clothing. It is clothing done right.

links - http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/best-leaders/2009/10/22/yvon-chouinard-patagonia-founder-fights-for-the-environment.html

Happy fuzzy trails.


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