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Brief Published: 11 Aug 2015

A Space for Activism: Patagonia Flagship, NYC

Community workspace for local environmental groups

Twenty years after launching its debut store in SoHo, New York, ethical American clothing brand Patagonia has relocated to nearby Greene Street with a new flagship retail experience. The centrepiece is a communal space dedicated to dealing with its core consumer-community of eco-enthusiasts.

Arranged over three floors in a 14,000 sq ft historic former warehouse, in keeping with the brand's commitment to sustainability, all the tables, fixtures and beams are made with reclaimed pine pooled from the defunct Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg. Similarly, the till area is created from salvaged marble steps and paving stones from the renovated sculpture garden at New York's Museum of Modern Art. See also Upcycled Spaces for more on this tactic.

On the top floor, a community workspace is designated for local non-profit environmental groups such as the Sierra Club to hold meetings and events. Staff and volunteers are also encouraged to use the space to work or hold meetings during store hours.

As part of Patagonia's global repair scheme, which mends thousands of own-brand garments per year, the store also features a 'Worn Wear' repair station staffed with full-time repairers. A pedal-powered camper van, designed by California-based artist and surfer Jay Nelson, also helps promote the brand's sustainability-focused message. Nelson created Patagonia's roaming Worn Wear Truck, which travelled across the US in spring 2015 (see Eco-Retail: Patagonia's Repair Tours for more).

For more on current attitudes to sustainability and ethical retailing, and how those attitudes can be absorbed into smart brand engagement strategies, see Marketing Sustainability and Eco-Ethical-Sustainable, part of our Future of the Store Industry Trend. See also Everlane's Transparency Tour, Fashion Revolution Day 2015, Positive Provenance, Recommerce: How to Exploit It and  Selfridges: Retail Activism in Action.

For more on retail initiatives using education as well as entertainment to inspire, see The Rise of Edutainment. And for more on encouraging positive consumer behaviour, see Water: Sustaining Supplies, Outreach: Mobile Solutions and A Greener Clean. For more on overarching strategies concerning the changing role of the flagship store, see Evolution of the Retail Flagship, Retail Domiciles, Limbo Spaces: Omni In-Store Hotspots, Pop-Ups Evolve: Tech & Social Media and Pop-Ups Evolve: Cultural Collisions.