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Tales of Green Sleeves and Green Jeans, by Rhylee Smith

Posted by: | April 29, 2014 Comments Off on Tales of Green Sleeves and Green Jeans, by Rhylee Smith |

As sustainability has become a product selling point for millions of customers, many businesses have marketed themselves as “green.” For some manufacturers it is logical to make a product more environmentally friendly. Perhaps unexpectedly, one emerging market for sustainable products is the apparel industry. Companies that have made efforts to hold themselves out as sustainable reveal the impact clothing can have on the environment. Regulation in this area is obsolete, and the margin for improvement is vast. Two clothing retailers have set the bar for combining sustainability goals with growth and continued marketplace success.

Patagonia is often hailed as the industry leader in advertising and creating a more sustainable product. Patagonia works to make the buyer aware of the supply chain.[1] The average customer is often not familiar with a products supply chain; in fact, many have probably never encountered the term. Patagonia has created an advertising campaign centered on customer awareness. It is open about its production factories, working conditions, and supplies used in its products. Patagonia markets its apparel as being made of responsibly sourced wool, organic cotton and down from humanely treated birds. Additionally, Patagonia calls attention to the lifespan[2] of each item of clothing it sells and asks buyers to recycle their apparel. Recognizing that clothing with a short lifespan (sometimes called fast fashion) easily becomes waste, Patagonia asks its customers to return old clothing they might otherwise throw away. It then fixes or recycles the donated clothes. Many Patagonia stores feature a used section where the store sells back the donated used clothing. This process reduces waste while still generating income for Patagonia.[3]  Patagonia aims to produce a more discerning and educated customer. Of course, it may make sense that Patagonia is so successful in its sustainability efforts because it is a company catering to those who love the outdoors. It follows that Patagonia’s target customer is one who cares about the environment.

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[2] The lifespan of an item of clothing is how long the item is in use after it is sold before it is thrown away.

[3] http://www.patagonia.com/us/common-threads/reuse

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