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Patagonia's Anti-Consumerist Message: Can a clothing company be sustainable and profitable?


Patagonias Anti Consumerist Message

Patagonia, a well-known outdoor clothing company, is challenging the current throwaway culture in a new film titled ‘Shittropocene’. The film argues that most products today are poorly made and designed to break quickly, leading to overconsumption and environmental damage. It highlights, the current era is defined by mass-produced, disposable crap and calls for a reduction in consumption. However, the film is produced by Patagonia, a clothing company that sells expensive, high-quality clothing. This creates a tension between the film's message and Patagonia's business model.

In fact, the film's message is somewhat contradicted by Patagonia's own business model. The company is still a for-profit business that needs to sell products to survive. And while Patagonia's clothes are built to last, the film itself is a marketing tool designed to drive sales.

Is Patagonia's message genuine?

Patagonia's commitment to sustainability is undeniable. The company offers repair services, upcycling programs, and a resale site to extend the lifespan of its products. These initiatives are commendable and should be emulated by other brands. But Patagonia is also a growing company, which means it's producing more and more clothing. This raises the question of whether any clothing company can truly be sustainable in a system that relies on constant consumption.

The film's message about curbing consumption is undeniably important. However, it's difficult to separate this message from Patagonia's goal of selling more clothes. The film might backfire by encouraging viewers to buy less overall, including from Patagonia.

Patagonia's struggle with its message

Patagonia isn't the first company to grapple with this contradiction. In 2011, the company ran a famous Black Friday ad that said, "Don't Buy This Jacket." The ad was intended to spark a conversation about overconsumption, but it also resulted in a rise in sales for Patagonia. Patagonia acknowledges this internal conflict. The company believes it can be a force for good by encouraging people to consume less and buy higher-quality products. However, it remains to be seen whether this approach can be truly sustainable in the long run.

Patagonia is in a difficult position. The company wants to sell clothes, but it also knows that the fashion industry is a major contributor to climate change. The company's message is to encourage people to consume less, but it is not clear if this message is compatible with its goal of growing as a business.


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