With a long-standing commitment to repair, Patagonia has entered a new phase for its initiatives in Europe, as the outdoor apparel brand makes it easier than ever for customers to get their broken gear back into play.
A new online Repair Portal will allow customers to request a repair directly, 24hrs a day, and track the status of their repair. Added to this, Patagonia is expanding its European network of fixers and bringing increased repair tools and services to stores, with the ambition of increasing repairs four-fold, to 100,000 per year, in the next five years.
The importance of repair is clear. Keeping a product in use for an extra nine months, saves 20 to 30 percent in carbon, waste and water footprints, compared to buying something new.
For the last 12 years, Patagonia has educated customers on why, and how, they should prolong the lifetime of their clothes, through the Worn Wear programme and messages such as “Don’t Buy This Jacket”. This was an ad placed in the New York Times on Black Friday 2011, asking people to consider the impact before buying new.
Last year, Patagonia partnered with Makers Unite, with support from the Amsterdam Economic Board to launch the United Repair Centre (URC). A new repair provider set up to service multiple apparel brands, the URC trains and offers guaranteed work to experienced clothing makers who have challenges in finding employment, such as newcomers to the Netherlands with refugee status.
Since launch, the URC has moved to bigger premises in Amsterdam to handle increased demand and has signed repair contracts with other brand partners, such as Decathlon. The initiative plans to open a second location in the UK in 2023, with other European destinations planned next year.
Willem Swager, Director of Finance and Operations, Patagonia EMEA, said: “We need a new, regenerative model and structural change if we are to stand any chance of cleaning up the dirty industry of apparel. That’s why Patagonia is calling on brands to move away from a focus on only selling new, and to stimulate reuse and longer wear of their products, through repair. At Patagonia, we know that offering free repairs brings us many benefits, and a unique moment to engage with our customers. And to scale our impact, we are looking for companies to join us in the repair movement. As the saying goes: “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”
Find out more about Worn Wear and repairs here.