Imagine a simpler world, not so long ago, when everyone was capable of wielding a needle and thread. A tear was repaired, shoes were “gooed”, and consumers sought products that were built to last. Today, we see a slightly different culture. Modern society is a consumer driven, materialistic world, in which a clothing company’s main goal is to encourage shoppers to buy. Clothes go out of style, fall apart, or lose their owner’s interest. For a company dependent on a steady stream of sales, these are desirables.
What if, however, we saw yet another shift, using our modern technology and innovation to build better products, market longer-lasting, livable styles, and encouraged consumers to develop a healthy relationship with their “stuff?”
This spring, Patagonia is taking a momentous step in making this clothing possibility a future reality. Patagonia, a company known for their commitment to social responsibility, has introduced a pioneering approach to marketing using conscious capitalism. Rather than encouraging people to buy more goods, they are advocating effective use, regular repair, and bonding relationships with our high quality goods. This is the start of a clothing movement. They’re calling it the Spring 2015 Worn-Wear Tour, and it rests on the back of a wood-repaired biodiesel truck. Their mission states:
“Out to change our relationship with stuff, this spring Patagonia’s biodiesel repair wagon will travel coast to coast repairing clothing for free, teaching folks how to fix things themselves and selling used Patagonia® clothing. Bring us your tired, well-loved clothing for repair. If you don’t have any, we’ll supply it. Fix it and you can keep it. Join us for local food and drink, and celebrate the stories we wear.”
Patagonia proposes a commendable mission, to change our relationship with clothes. Moving from a culture where we own innumerable items that are expendable, to one where we possess a simpler closet of well-loved goods.
To join the movement, visit Patagonia’s website and watch their “Worn-Wear Stories.” All see their summer schedule and consider getting involved. Finally, consider a few steps you can take in your own life and use your purchasing power to enhance the movement.
Step 1: Purchase quality
Avoid goods that are cheap and likely to fall apart after a few wears. Instead of buying four $10 shirts with a short life, save your money for one $40 shirt that will last years. It may cost more in the long-run, but you’ll have the chance to wear that shirt and develop a relationship with your clothes rather than throwing it out. Think of your favorite shoes when you were a kid – didn’t you wear them through the soles?
Step 2: Limit your number of outfits
While the many different clothes combos on Pinterest are cute and fun, it does not mean you need each of them in your closet. Pick your favorite clothes, items that are versatile with a few fun favorites thrown in.
Step 3: Choose activities that don’t include shopping
Even if you don’t plan on buying, time spent in stores or malls inevitably leads to acquiring new stuff. Rather than spending your time at stores or the mall, get outdoors and make some memories. Outdoor activities not only encourage us to step away from consumerism, they also encourage a healthier lifestyle based on sustainability and minimalism. So get out and discover!