A couple of weeks ago, Patagonia announced the extension of their used clothing eBay store into the brick and mortar world by opening Worn Wear sections in several of their physical stores, including Seattle, Portland, Palo Alto, and Chicago. Next to that $700 Belay Parka, you can now find good condition used Patagonia clothes that still have plenty of life left in them.
The Worn Wear initiative is part of the Patagonia Common Threads Partnership with customers to reduce consumption, repair what breaks, recirculate what we no longer use, recycle or repurpose what wears out, and reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace.
Customers who purchase used clothing from these stores will be given a free Worn Wear patch (while supplies last). The same stores will also buy back your used (in good condition) Patagonia shells, fleece, down and synthetic insulation, and ski and alpine pants. If there’s not a participating Patagonia store in your area, you can still buy and sell used Patagonia clothing on the Ebay store.
During NY Fashion Week, Patagonia took out a full page ad in the NY Times announcing the new Worn Wear initiative. The ad stated: "It's Fashion Week, when the design world turns its attention to what's new, we'd like to point out something better: what lasts. While we're proud of the quality and performance of Patagonia clothes, every new thing we make – everything anyone makes – costs nature more than we now know how to repay."
In celebration of the longevity of their gear, Patagonia started the Worn Wear Tumblr blog earlier this year where customers send in pictures and associated stories of their Patagonia gear. The Patagonia Surf Trunks from 1994 in the above ad belong to Christo Grayling, who has worn them paddling and surfing everywhere from India to Baja to Ecuador. They're still in use, though beat up, scratched up and altered. Fabric from a beach umbrella now makes up the rear. The missing strip at the hem serves as a patch on another pair of Patagonia shorts.
All of this pleading for you not to buy their gear seems to have had the opposite effect, as Patagonia sales have grown 38% over the past two years according to Bloomberg. Not bad.