Yvon Chouinard on Buying Less but Buying Better


Patagonia is a brand that has always stuck to its core values. They make high quality clothing that is produced in an environmentally friendly way, and they give a lot back to local communities and environmental research. They also choose to control their growth. Even their ad campaigns are different. What other clothing company would put out an ad telling people to not buy their jackets? And instead repair and reuse their old jackets. Of course, the ad backfired and Patagonia sold more jackets than ever. The downside to producing quality products in a sustainable way is it is very expensive. Caring is expensive.

In a recent interview, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is asked about this as well as many other things. We also had this interview [Transcribed for Members]:

How do you respond to your critics that refer to Patagonia as “Patagucci” because your clothes are so expensive?

"It’s the same criticism as organic food. A lot of people say they can’t afford organic food because it’s more expensive. In fact when you buy a hamburger at McDonalds its cheaper than if you bought all those ingredients separately. And that is because food is a commodity that is highly subsidized. The efforts we put into our clothing is going to make them cost more than what you can buy at Walmart or Costco. But it is the same price as North Face or Marmot or others.

I’ve had some people say, “Well why don’t you make a less expensive range of clothes for everyone…”

I can’t do it. Organic cotton costs three times more per pound than regular cotton. I can’t do it.

But number one, I really believe that all of us should be buying less but buying better. My father was a tradesman and he taught me that when you buy a tool you buy the absolute best tool that you can get and you keep it for the rest of your life. And that is much better than buying a cheap tool and having it break, and then buying another cheap tool and having it break. So, that’s just the way it is."

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