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Patagonia’s Worn Wear Pushes the Boundaries of Conscious Consumerism



All image by Chris DeCicco for Yellow Scene Magazine

Patagonia’s new-to-Boulder, first in the nation, Worn Wear, hosted their grand opening on Thursday, November 14. Walking in, you could tell it was something special. What other manufacturer, clothing or otherwise, wants you to get maximum value and long term use from their products rather than sell you the newest iteration? It’s nearly unprecedented. The pop-up grand opening was from 5-8 pm at their location at 1212 Pearl Street, with dozens lining up in advance of the opening for a chance to get in and peruse the wares. 


Sure, there are consignment stores up-cycling clothes all over the place, but this is different. Truth be told, I am a regular shopper of used clothing from places like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads for a majority of my clothing needs because I love recycling.  


Think about it: how many pieces of clothing and gear do you have in your closet right now that go unused? Chances are – if you are like most people – 50 percent or more isn’t regularly used because you don’t like the look anymore, it has a hole or broken zipper, or you just outgrow it. That’s a lot of stuff that just sits there, gets thrown out, or is donated. Then off we go buying more new stuff because that’s what we are supposed to do, right? 


Patagonia’s Worn Wear is thrift store intention at it’s best, less the smell of a dusty old store and the “as is” sales prerogative. 


It seems many of us are tired of manufacturers building stuff to look good in the short term but intentionally designing the gear to only last a short while (Google: planned obsolescence) so you have to buy the newest, latest, and greatest whatever. Patagonia believes there is a better way and they’re betting heavy that you do, too.


Here is a company founded on the idea that making gear great in a sustainable way is important, that believes in creating a culture in the industry that values the planet as much as profits. They are putting their money where their mouth is. 


The entire team on hand for the launch was excited and passionate about this project: the holistic approach to creating, making, distributing, and now recycling or repurposing clothes from one company is here. It’s a dream worth shouting about so that others will jump on board and reduce the mountain of trash we inflict on our planet. 


When I heard that they have an in-house repair station where you can bring in not only Patagonia, but any brand, to fix a button or zipper, or repair a hole for free, I was like “woah, wait, what?” 

This is a huge measure that will immediately reduce waste. It makes sense from a business perspective because people will come into the store, feel great for getting a great value, getting work for free, doing their small part for the planet, and developing loyalty to the company and its brand. 


They also have a whole other component called “recrafted” where they take pieces of old donated items and create new, one-of-a-kind items for sale that feel and look amazing. The whole process is seamless, from bringing in used stuff to walking out with another piece new-to-you. 


It seems like everyone in Boulder was pumped and wanting to attend the grand opening party and share in the big idea while enjoying like minded company. Notable local brands that helped create the vibe included Stem Cidery, Cured, and the Vegan Ice Cream Queen, who helped make the night a standing room only affair. 


Jon Mullen, a local landscape conservation photographer, was there to add some additional support to Conservation Colorado’s efforts to protect threatened wild places, a cause that Patagonia and others support with grants and resources to keep our natural beauty intact. His work provides free access to powerful visuals to help raise public awareness. The $10 suggested donation for entry to the grand opening also went to Conservation Colorado.


Let’s hope this level of dedication to saving the planet sparks even more interest from other businesses to step up their game in new and unique ways.

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