Patagonia, Inc.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Patagonia, Inc.
Company typePrivate benefit corporation
FoundedMay 9, 1973; 51 years ago (1973-05-09)
FounderYvon Chouinard
HeadquartersVentura, California, U.S.
Key people
Ryan Gellert, CEO[1]
ProductsOutdoor clothing
Revenue$1.5 billion (2022 estimate)
Number of employees
1,000 (2017)

Patagonia, Inc. is an American retailer of outdoor recreation clothing. It was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973 and is based in Ventura, California.[2] Patagonia operates stores in more than 10 countries globally,[3][4] as well as factories in 16 countries.[5]


Mannequin dressed in Patagonia clothing and gear

Yvon Chouinard, an accomplished rock climber,[6] began selling hand-forged mountain climbing gear in 1957 through his company Chouinard Equipment.[7] He worked alone selling his gear until 1965, when he partnered with Tom Frost in order to improve his products and address the growing supply and demand issue he faced.[8]

In 1970, Chouinard obtained rugby shirts from Scotland that he wore while climbing because the collar kept the climbing sling from hurting his neck.[8][9]

Great Pacific Iron Works,[10] Patagonia's first store, opened in 1973 in the former Hobson meat-packing plant at Santa Clara St. in Ventura, near Chouinard's blacksmith shop.[11] In 1981, Patagonia and Chouinard Equipment were incorporated within Great Pacific Iron Works.[12] In 1984, Chouinard changed the name of Great Pacific Iron Works to Lost Arrow Corporation.[13]

A Patagonia store in Portland, Oregon, was located in a renovated 1895-built former warehouse until moving to a new location in 2017.

Patagonia has expanded its product line to include apparel targeted towards other sports, such as surfing.[14] In addition to clothing, they offer other related products, including camping food.[15] Its profits grew to $750m by 2015.[16] By the late 2010s, branded Patagonia fleece vests became known for their use by financial executives, and in 2019, Patagonia announced that its distribution of branded products would focus on firms committed to environmental, social, and corporate governance initiatives.[17]

In September 2020, Patagonia announced that Rose Marcario would step down as its chief executive officer and be succeeded by Ryan Gellert.[1]

In September 2022, Chouinard transferred ownership of Patagonia (all of its voting stock, about 2% of total stock) to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, a trust overseen by the Chouinard family and advisors. Chouinard's stated goal was for profits to be used to address climate change and protect land.[18][19][20] All nonvoting stock was transferred to Holdfast Collective, a 501(c)(4) organization, which is a path different from two other alternatives available to the Chouinard family, that is, selling the company to donate the proceeds and taking the company public (i.e., selling shares in a stock exchange).[21] The move allows Chouinard to avoid taxation on the gift of the nonvoting shares since it was to a nonprofit holding company, while effectively maintaining control of the company via the affiliated trust's ownership of the voting stock. A gift tax of $17 million was assessed on the transfer of the voting stock.[22]


In 2007 and 2011, internal audits revealed that factories in Patagonia's production supply chain in Taiwan were involved in human trafficking, leading to company efforts to address the labor abuses.[23]

It was found in 2011 that Patagonia used unnatural water repellants to make their outerwear able to repel water effectively. These repellants have been found to be carcinogenic, however Patagonia continued to use them. Since this was found Patagonia has now changed what they use as water repellants, now finding only trace amounts of the carcinogens. [24]

In June 2016, Patagonia released a set of principles for the treatment of animals used to manufacture wool garments, as well as land-use practices and sustainability.[25][26]

In April 2017, Patagonia announced that merchandise in good condition can be returned for new merchandise credits. The used merchandise is cleaned, repaired and sold on its "Worn Wear" website.[27] In 2019, it launched a program named ReCrafted that creates and sells clothing made from scraps of fabric coming from used Patagonia gear.[28]

As of 2019, the firm aims to become carbon neutral by 2025.[29] Patagonia provides lifetime product guarantees and offers repairs.[16] It also uses a circular economy strategy in their product design[how?].[30] In 2021, Patagonia announced that it would no longer produce its clothing with added corporate logos to improve garment life-spans.[31]

In December 2021, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a criminal complaint in a Dutch court against Patagonia and other brands, alleging that they benefited from the use of forced Uyghur labor in Xinjiang, China.[32]

On 10 June 2023, a Dutch investigative journalism platform, Follow the Money, published an article about Patagonia's use of the same factories that fast-fashion brands use such as Decathlon and Primark.[33] Workers in these factories work in far worse conditions than the standard that Patagonia publicly set. In the MAS Holdings factories in Sri Lanka, it is not uncommon for them to work shifts of 14 hours. Patagonia uses a method developed by the Anker Research Institute to determine the height of a livable wage. In these factories in Sri Lanka, the workers get paid less than half of this wage. According to Patagonia, they have no control over the wages and conditions in the factories, as they do not own them.[34]


A Patagonia garment with a label saying "Vote the Assholes Out", which it featured in the lead-up to the 2020 United States elections.

Patagonia commits 1% of its total sales to environmental groups, since 1985 through One Percent for the Planet, an organization of which Yvon Chouinard was a founding member.[35] It has also used advertising campaigns to draw attention to the environmental impact of fashion, offers repairs on old products, and offers recycling or swapping.[16] In 2015, the firm launched Common Threads Partnership, an online auction-style platform that facilitated direct sales of used Patagonia clothing.[36][37] In 2016, Patagonia pledged to contribute 100% of sales from Black Friday to environmental organizations, totaling $10 million.[38] In June 2018, the company announced that it would donate the $10 million it received from President Trump's 2017 tax cuts to "groups committed to protecting air, land and water and finding solutions to the climate crisis."[35]

In February 2017, Patagonia led a boycott of the Outdoor Retailer trade show, which traditionally took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, because of the Utah state legislature's introduction of legislation that would transfer federal lands to the state. Patagonia also opposed Utah Governor Gary Herbert's request that the Trump administration revoke the recently designated Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah. After several companies joined the Patagonia-led boycott, event organizer Emerald Expositions said it would not accept a proposal from Utah to continue hosting the Outdoor Retailer trade show and would instead move the event to another state.[39]

On December 6, 2017, Patagonia sued the United States Government and President Donald Trump for his proclamations of reducing the protected land of Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument by almost 50%.[40] Patagonia sued over the interpretation of the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution in which the country vests Congress with the power to manage federal lands. The company's then-CEO, Rose Marcario, contends that when Congress passed the Antiquities Act of 1906, it did not give any president the power to reverse a prior president's monument designations.[41][42]

In July 2020, Patagonia suspended its advertising on Facebook and Facebook's photo-sharing app, Instagram, as part of the "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign, which some U.S. civil rights organizations launched because they believed the social networking company was doing too little to curb hate speech on its sites.[43]

In the lead-up to the 2020 United States elections, Patagonia began including labels in clothing with the message "Vote the Assholes Out", targeting politicians who endorse climate change denial.[44][45] On April 5, 2021, Patagonia pledged $1 million to the activist groups Black Voters Matter and the New Georgia Project, regarding voter registration laws in Georgia.[46]

Worn Wear Program[edit]

One way that Patagonia was able to incorporate sustainability into their business was their “Worn Wear Program.” This program allows customers to send back worn Patagonia garments and receive store credit. Along with this, the program also promotes longer life spans for their clothing by providing sewing videos and/or the help of professionals via events across both the United States and Europe. [47]

Patagonia’s “Worn Wear” program has worked to create a way for clothes to be reused and their lives to be lengthened. This idea coincides with that of the somewhat recent idea of a circular economy, an economy where there is no such thing as waste because everything that is “used up” is refurbished or made into something else. [48] This definition provides a scope into the thought process of how Patagonia Uses their program to get as close to a circular economy as they can manage. This can be achieved through continued reuse of items and improvements to their own practices.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Roshitsh, Kaley (September 24, 2020). "Patagonia Names New CEO". WWD. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  2. ^ "Our Company History - Patagonia".
  3. ^ Yakowicz, Will (March 16, 2020). "At Billionaire-Owned Patagonia Outdoor Clothing Chain, Employees To Be Paid Despite Store Closures Amid Coronavirus". Forbes. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  4. ^ Thomas, Lauren (March 13, 2020). "Patagonia is closing all of its stores and shutting down its website because of the coronavirus". CNBC. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  5. ^ "Patagonia: What to Know About the Outdoor Brand". Highsnobiety. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  6. ^ Wang, Jennifer (May 12, 2010). "Patagonia, From the Ground Up". Entrepreneur. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  7. ^ Rassler, Brad (July 6, 2017). "Into the Heart of Patagonia's Secret Archives". Outside Online. Retrieved February 25, 2024.
  8. ^ a b "Patagonia's History - A Company Created by Climber Yvon Chouinard and his commitment to the Environment (catalog paper, organic and recycled fabrics)". Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  9. ^ Stevenson, Seth. "Patagonia's Founder Is America's Most Unlikely Business Guru". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "On Writing: The 1972 Chouinard Catalog that changed a business – and climbing – forever". Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Sullivan, Michael (May 24, 2017). "Room to grow: Patagonia purchases former Brooks site north of Ventura". Ventura County Reporter. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  12. ^ "Trailblazer: Yvon Chouinard | OutInUnder - Slow Social Media".
  13. ^ Chouinard, Yvon (September 6, 2016). Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman--Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual. Penguin. ISBN 9781101992531. Retrieved September 26, 2018 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ "Patagonia stakes a wider claim on the beach". Men's Vogue. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
  15. ^ Fabricant, Florence (April 24, 2012). "Patagonia Starts a Food Line". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  16. ^ a b c "The clothing firms designing clothes that last forever". BBC News. December 17, 2015. Retrieved June 1, 2023.
  17. ^ Friedman, Vanessa (April 5, 2019). "Are Bankers and Venture Capitalists Really Getting Fleeced by Patagonia?". The New York Times.
  18. ^ Vlamis, Kelsey (September 14, 2022). "Patagonia founder is giving away his billion dollar company and ensuring that all profits go towards fighting climate change". MSN.
  19. ^ Gelles, David (September 14, 2022). "Billionaire No More: Patagonia Founder Gives Away the Company". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 14, 2022.
  20. ^ "Patagonia: Billionaire boss gives fashion firm away to fight climate change". BBC News. September 14, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2023.
  21. ^ Agafonow, Alejandro; Perez, Marybel (March 1, 2024). "In search of a non-anthropocentric middle-range theory of the firm: On how the Patagonia Purpose Trust granted a controlling stake to nature". Ecological Economics. 217: 108076. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2023.108076. ISSN 0921-8009. S2CID 266277111.
  22. ^ "Patagonia's $3 billion corporate gift is also a convenient way to avoid taxes". Quartz. September 16, 2022. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  24. ^ "Inside the Race to Get PFAS Chemicals Out of Raincoats". TIME. February 2, 2023. Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  25. ^ Michelson, Megan (July 29, 2016). "Want Ethically Sourced Wool? Buy from Patagonia". Outside Online. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  26. ^ "Patagonia Wool Standard" (PDF). Patagonia. 2016.
  27. ^ Feldman, Jamie (January 30, 2017). "Patagonia Just Made Another Major Move To Save The Earth And Your Wallet". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  28. ^ Segran, Elizabeth (January 11, 2021). "Patagonia has had enormous success with upcycled clothing. Could other brands follow?". Fast Company. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  29. ^ Bentley, Daniel (January 24, 2019). "Doing Good and Making a Profit: These Apparel Companies Are Proving They Aren't Mutually Exclusive". Fortune. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  30. ^ "Patagonia's Circular Economy Strategy". The Business of Fashion. January 16, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  31. ^ "The finance bro uniform is officially dead as Patagonia stops adding corporate logos to its ubiquitous fleece vests". Business Insider.
  32. ^ Adegeest, Don-Alvin (December 6, 2021). "Nike, Patagonia named in European lawsuit as being complicit in 'forced labour' practices in Xinjiang, China". FashionUnited. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  33. ^ van Heugten, Yara (June 10, 2023). "Sustainable clothing brand Patagonia produces in the same factories as fast-fashion, textile workers are exploited". Follow the Money. Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  34. ^ Heugten, Yara van (June 10, 2023). "Duurzaam kledingmerk Patagonia produceert in dezelfde fabrieken als fast-fashion, textielmedewerkers uitgebuit". Follow the Money - Platform voor onderzoeksjournalistiek (in Dutch). Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  35. ^ a b Miller, Ryan W. (November 28, 2018). "Patagonia plans to donate $10 million saved from Trump tax cuts to environmental groups". USA Today. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  36. ^ Goldberg, Rebecca; Wilcox, Ronald (February 6, 2015). "Case in point: Patagonia urged buyers to pick used items over new. It was a success". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  37. ^ Davies, Helen (February 17, 2021). "13 Green Marketing Examples And Great Environmental Initiatives". Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  38. ^ Kavilanz, Parija (November 29, 2016). "Patagonia's Black Friday sales hit $10 million -- and will donate it all". CNN. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  39. ^ Reimers, Frederick (February 8, 2017). "Moving Outdoor Retailer Isn't About Politics. It's About Money". Outside Magazine. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  40. ^ McCarthy, Tom (August 26, 2017). "Patagonia joins forces with activists to protect public lands from Trump". The Guardian. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  41. ^ Marcario, Rose (December 6, 2017). "Patagonia CEO: This Is Why We're Suing President Trump". Time. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  42. ^ Gelles, David (May 5, 2018). "Patagonia v. Trump". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  43. ^ "Patagonia joins The North Face in Facebook ad boycott". Reuters. June 23, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  44. ^ "The Full Story Behind Patagonia's 'Vote the Assholes Out' Tags". Esquire. September 19, 2020. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  45. ^ "Yes, Those "Vote the Assholes Out" Patagonia Tags Are Real". GQ. September 16, 2020. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  46. ^ Choi, Joseph (April 6, 2021). "Patagonia to donate $1 million to Georgia voting rights groups". The Hill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  47. ^ Michel, Gwendolyn (November 6, 2019). "Stories We Wear: Promoting Sustainability Practices with the Case of Patagonia" (PDF). Family and Consumer Science Research Journal: 165–180.
  48. ^ "Circular economy introduction". Retrieved April 17, 2024.

External links[edit]

Media related to Patagonia (company) at Wikimedia Commons