A new partnership with iFixit offers step-by-step instructions for fixing damaged gear.
Patagonia sets the bar high when it comes to making clothes last as long possible. The outdoor gear retailer not only resells its own used clothes through its Worn Wear program, but also hosts repair events around the world, where people can bring their favorite Patagonia items to get fixed by professionals.
Now the company is outsourcing some of that repair work to owners themselves. It has partnered with iFixit to offer a series of online sewing tutorials that will help people make basic repairs. A press release says,
"Patagonia customers can learn basic sewing techniques like sewing a button or how to thread a sewing machine, while product guides across a variety of categories like outerwear and luggage help with even more advanced repairs like replacing zippers on jackets or handles on bags and leather goods."
Patagonia has also published a lengthy Product Care Guide on iFixit that includes detailed instructions for laundering rain jackets and reapplying DWR, removing stains, and caring for the wide range of fabrics and materials that the company uses. A quick read-through reveals that it's written for people with minimal knowledge about these sorts of things, such as this slightly humorous paragraph on ironing:
"In general, Patagonia garments do not require ironing. However, if you’re trying to make a good impression on 'the parents' and you want to sharpen the crease down the front of your pants after an afternoon of bouldering, you should check the iron symbol on the care label of your garment first to make sure it can be safely ironed. If the iron symbol has a line through it – don’t iron. The dots on the label correspond to how much heat you should use – fewer dots mean less heat."
But there's nothing wrong with that; after paying top dollar for top-level gear, you don't want to screw it up with an iron set too high.
While sewing tutorials have been available on YouTube probably since its inception, there's something refreshing about an actual brand embracing the concept and encouraging people to extend the lifespan of its own products – not unlike Patagonia's anti-shopping campaign several years ago that used the headline, "Do Not Buy This Jacket!" It's also helpful when you know next to nothing about sewing (like me) and you can have a tutorial that's aimed at a specific article of clothing, making it (somewhat) less confusing.
I suspect it's not all innocently rooted in an anti-consumerist philosophy back at Patagonia's HQ. They're savvy marketers and must be doing something right because every third person I passed on the streets of Manhattan earlier this month was wearing one of their down jackets. Still, I respect the reduce-reuse-repair approach that they're taking so seriously and am happy to support them because of it.