by Hilda Alfonso
I use every drop of toothpaste, ketchup, shampoo, and even expensive outerwear. It’s just who I am. So, it was quite a shock to my family and friends when I decided to retire my trusted Patagonia Parka. I wore my faithful black down parka for eight years. We braved sleet, rain, and the unending snow of 2015 together. It kept me warm and fashionably New York on a daily basis.
I was sad to bid it farewell. But, I had to admit it had seen better days. My seams had started to fray, feathers had started to take flight at an alarming rate, and I had developed an unwanted luster where my felt bag lay on my hip and other inopportune spots. Many morning commutes were spent trying to finagle a pesky feather back into the folds of the fabric. Enough was enough! I needed to part with my coat and purchase something new.
I decided to take part in Patagonia’s Worn Wear Program. The program recycles, mends or reuses Patagonia products into new articles. Patagonia is deeply committed to the environment and attempts to find ways to lessen our environmental footprint. They concede that any new manufactured item plays havoc on our precious planet. Therefore, I reasoned returning it to the Worn Wear program would allow my coat to be completely utilized and ease my consumer guilt.
When I arrived at the store, I explained to the sales associate how I had religiously worn my coat and now was finally ready to move on. He listened intently with a sympathetic ear and informed me about their Iron Clad guarantee, which states if you are not satisfied with one of their products, or it does not perform to your satisfaction, they will repair or replace the item for free.
It did not matter that I had purchased the item eight years prior. He argued I obviously enjoyed wearing it and had simply worn it out. Their products have a lifetime guarantee and they were happy to replace my "Down With It" Parka with a brand new coat!
In today’s world of fast fashion it’s very hard to compete. Items are sold at a rapid pace, consumers are obsessed with cost and the environment pays a heavy price. Many of those throw away impulse buys end up in landfills and add up in the environmental cost column.
Patagonia is trying to do things differently. By using reclaimed or recycled products they are pushing forward with a greener agenda. I admit I have always been impressed with their practices. Yes, I probably won’t need a new coat for quite some time. But, I’m happy to frequent Patagonia and purchase other items in the future. They’ve made me into a loyal customer and a very happy one at that!