Pack It: Patagonia Puff Pullover

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Patagonia doesn’t want you to buy this jacket. Not unless you’ll love it, use it, wear it until its recycled polyester shell is fraying at the seams. They’re committed to combating the environmental impact of their own growth and consumption, so Patagonia has encouraged buyers to think twice before they purchase another one of their lightweight but surprisingly cozy jackets, shirts or pullovers. In the 2011 ad campaign for their common threads initiative, which discouraged Black Friday customers from purchasing their R2 jacket, the company revealed the astonishing impact of constructing just one of these polyester zip-ups. One coat’s journey from 60 percent recycled polyester to finished garment generates nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. The quantity of water used in its production – 135 liters – is enough to meet the daily needs of 45 people.

Such a commitment to transparency and environmental responsibility extends through all levels of Patagonia’s supply chain, from the organic cotton they grow for their fabric to the hands that sew the finished product. It was in 1988 that they first began to examine their impact from their shop on Newberry Street in Boston, when complaints of headaches from employees led them to discover that their cotton clothing was coated in formaldehyde. After going completely organic in 1996, Pategonia began making fleece jackets from recycled plastic bottles, before examining every material used in the sales and promotions of their products: from the paper in their catalogs and the sources of their electricity to the amount of oil employees consume in their commutes to and from work.

Today, Patagonia is well-known as a beacon for environmental stewardship. In addition to their in-house endeavors, they donate at least one percent of sales to grassroots environmental groups and are involved in restoring a national part in South America, to counter their own growth and consumption.

What they take from nature, though, they give to us in garments that outfit us to return to it, guarding wearers against even the most unforgiving wind and cold of the wilderness in their namesake Chilean Patagonia. Though hyper-aware of the impact of a coat’s production, they take pride in crafting outerwear that’s developed a reputation for balancing lightweight wearability and durability, like the Nano Puff Pullover, which is insulated with a thin sheath of down feathers (responsibly plucked, of course).

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