Eco-Retail: Patagonia’s Repair Tours
Demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, this spring, American clothing brand Patagonia (whose unique selling point is its green and ethical ethos) is sending a roving biodiesel repair truck across the US. Driving from California to Boston, the 'Worn Wear Wagon' will offer free clothing repairs, mending lessons and a selling space for second-hand Patagonia items along the way. It will also be connected to a social media platform for the collation and sharing of stories about treasured (and repaired) Patagonia pieces.
The company has made extensive efforts to create a more eco-ethical version of retail – it already employs 45 full-time repair technicians at its facility in Reno, Nevada, making it the largest repair facility in North America. The truck itself – a 1991 pick-up that's been upcycled by California-based artist-surfer Jay Nelson – epitomises this approach. The space hosts several industrial sewing machines inside a solar-powered camper shell (canopy) mounted on the pick-up's rear, made from redwood salvaged from giant wine barrels.
In a further bid to engage consumers – even those with nothing to repair at present – the truck also serves as a lively meeting spot, offering food and drink, plus the chance to informally learn more about conscious consumption.
Pushing the tour's message to a wider audience, a blog and dedicated Tumblr and Instagram accounts host the life stories of the repaired garments. For more on the values of revealing parts of the production process, see Revealing the Journey and 'Representing the Production Process' in Exploiting Insider Access.
The tour runs until May 12, where its last stop after New York will be Boston, MA.
For more on current attitudes to sustainability and ethical retailing, and subsequent modes of connecting with consumers, see Marketing Sustainability and Eco-Ethical-Sustainable, Everlane's Transparency Tour, Fashion Revolution Day 2015, Positive Provenance and Recommerce: How to Exploit It.
For more on retail initiatives using education as well as entertainment to inspire, see The Rise of Edutainment.