Patagonia Black Friday Advertisement, NY Times: Don’t Buy This JacketPosted: November 27, 2011
Do you read the NY Times newspaper? I mean the actual paper version. If so, you might have seen this advertisement from Patagonia asking consumers to not buy their jacket. That’s right, they took out advertising in one of the most expensive printed media sources to not advertise a product. It sounds a little far-fetched. I mean, what’s the motive behind this, right?
According to the Patagonia blog, The Cleanest Line, “It’s time for us as a company to address the issue of consumerism and do it head on. The most challenging, and important, element of the Common Threads Initiative is this: to lighten our environmental footprint, everyone needs to consume less. Businesses need to make fewer things but of higher quality. Customers need to think twice before they buy.”
In Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative, they outline exactly how they want to partner with you, their customer, to Reduce, Repair, Reuse, and Recycle. As Annie Leonard, spokesperson for The Story of Stuff Project says, “There’s a reason “recycling” comes last in the mantra… Recycling is what we do when we’re out of options to avoid, repair, or reuse the product first.”
Does all of this mean that we should stop designing, stop appreciating the beauty that good art & design bring to our lives? I do not think so. Design is an essential part of our lives and it enhances our experiences as humans. But we must hold more sacred the objects that we produce and produce them in the most sustainable way possible. Be willing to pay for the real work and resources that have gone into our products and produce only what the market needs. There was a time, no less than 50 years ago, when products were made to last and heirlooms were passed down through generations. But last year when my antique lamp needed repair, an electrician over-the-phone advised me to just throw it out and buy a new one as it would be a cheaper and easier solution. Perhaps. But it would surely also lack character, history, and craftsmanship. Today designers are aplenty. If you don’t believe me, spend 10 minutes on Etsy or maybe even take a walk outside. Where I live, Williamsburg Brooklyn, is a good place to start. We have lots of opportunities to buy quality products from innovative, spirited, creative designers who have a few nice things you might need in your life. By the way, that lamp of mine that had broken? My landlord fixed it for me in less than half an hour.
Take the pledge with Patagonia to reduce your environmental footprint here. Watch Annie Leonard’s collection of videos on what’s plaguing us and how to make a difference here. Buy quality products that you need and that can be in your life for generations. And let’s think twice before we consume.