A product guaranteed for a lifetime? How can a brand possibly offer such a commitment in the age of 'fast fashion' and inflated costs?
Patagonia does, because they recognise that the most environmentally sound thing we can all do is to make what we have last longer. Repairing instead of replacing. Recognising that the things we own and use every day ought to be cared for, like a relationship with a good friend.
Sometimes our warm winter jackets are our friends, right?
Through their Ironclad Guarantee program, Patagonia backs every product that they make. If you're not satisfied with one of their products, return it for a repair, replacement or refund. The crew at Patagonia will even repair damage due to wear and tear (repaired at a reasonable charge). That's a pretty sweet deal that let's all of us do better for the planet.
Leading by example on many fronts, Patagonia Founder, Yvon Chouinard, recently announced that "[Planet] Earth is now our only shareholder" in a bold move that sets a high bar for other businesses to follow. In an open letter, Chouinard said he was moved to act against the current climate crisis and would pledge nearly all of the company's profits to environmental preservation organisations.
In addition to their Ironclad Guarantee, Patagonia also have a suite of online educational resources (videos, guides, and stories) for those who want to wind-back the clock to a time when fashion was far less expendable and fixing something was more of a necessity.
Worn Wear is another initiative by Patagonia, where you can return used Patagonia gear and they'll give you credit that can be used in Patagonia retail stores, or on WornWear.com and Patagonia.com.
These initiatives encourage customers to extend the lifetime of their garments which is obviously good news for Planet Earth, and a sure sign of their confidence in the quality of their textiles and workmanship.
This is one antidote to fast fashion, a problem that sees an obscene amount of clothing heading to landfill. In Australia alone, each individual is responsible for buying (on average) 14.8kg of clothing per year, of which, a staggering 10kg goes to landfill.
That's two-thirds of all clothing heading straight to landfill.
It's a big ask, but could brands take inspiration from Patagonia?
Could we see a seismic shift in the mindset and operations of well known surf brands, ensuring products are built to last - and if they do need repairing - offer an accessible suite of options to further extend the lifetime of your favourite piece of clothing.
Perhaps it's a collective effort from brands and re-educated consumers, as we revert back to times gone by to reignite a 'taking-care-and-repair' mentality.