Honor Your Holey Relics
If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies….It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.” ― Albert Einstein
If we were to think the world dressed like TV characters, we might think everyone wears freshly-pressed, perpetually clean clothes. But TV-reality and real-reality seldom intersect. Real-reality is fraught with stains, scuffs, holes, worn-out soles and all varieties of wear. Patagonia, the folks who brought us Common Threads, not only recognizes the reality of wear, they celebrate it. They have produced a movie (below) and launched a website called Worn Wear. Here’s how they describe it:
Worn Wear is an exploration of quality – in the things we own and the lives we live. This short film takes you to an off-the-grid surf camp in Baja, Mexico; a family’s maple syrup harvest in Contoocook, New Hampshire; an organic farm in Ojai, California; and into the lives of a champion skier, a National Geographic photographer, and a legendary alpinist. It also features exclusive interviews with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.
Released as an antidote to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzy, Worn Wear is an invitation to celebrate the stuff you already own.
Their website features a dozen or so folks sporting Patagonia clothes, along with short stories about how the clothes were worn over the course of their lifetimes. The pictures are not of the latest Patagonia clothes, but old, torn and tattered ones. One picture of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has him rocking a vintage, pilled-up fleece in the present day–couple with him wearing the same jacket 30 or so years earlier.
While you’re out not shopping this Friday, November 29th, Patagonia stores across the US will be celebrating Worn Wear (day?), with movie screenings, repair clinics, food and beer. See list of event locations here.
To the cynical eye, Worn Wear might seem like a clever way to lure people into a Patagonia store. This may be true to a small extent, but Patagonia really does seem to be earnest about creating a new breed of capitalism. With numerous programs like Common Threads, Worn Wear, and Footprint Chronicles (a site that allows people to follow the lifecycle of Patagonia garments) as well as a policy of donating 1% of all sales and 10% of all profits to environmental causes–the company seems serious about only selling the good stuff you need, and making that stuff last as long as possible.