The outdoor clothier Patagonia has begun selling pre-worn clothing.
Founded in 1973, Patagonia has been well-studied by management and business ethics gurus for its focus on corporate responsibility and environmental awareness (and, you know, financial success). Of course, there’s a certain irony in any brand, whose job it is to sell you more stuff, shrouding themselves in an Earth-first, reduce-reuse-recycle ethos.
Marisa Meltzer, wrote for The Guardian:
[Patagonia] is hyper-aware of these contradictions, perhaps to the point of tying itself in knots. In 2011, on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the US, Patagonia ran an ad featuring a photo of a plush blue fleece, and copy that read DON’T BUY THIS JACKET. The advert invited customers to make a commitment to reduce what they buy, repair their gear and recycle the stuff they no longer need. (Patagonia’s campus in Reno, Nevada houses the largest garment repair facility in North America.) But it had the opposite effect: Patagonia’s Black Friday sales increased by 30% over the previous year. The anti-sales message, as they might have expected, made consumers feel better about buying more.
This new “Worn Wear” shop—with most items priced at $40—is the latest in a string of unusual (anti-)business decisions.