Patagonia Is Now Selling Used Garments

Traditional retailers are joining the second-hand trend.

(Sorbis /

Patagonia, a leading brand in outdoor clothing, is scaling a mountain in the clothing industry and reaching a new summit. Through several initiatives, the company is actively supporting the replacement of a traditional, linear model of clothing for a more circular model. Their incentive inspires people to share, resell, repair, and recycle their clothes, producing less waste. 

Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is sent to the landfill or is burned, according to a report by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation. Patagonia is taking this alarming statistic seriously.

A few years ago, the fashion giant launched an independent online store called Worn Wear, which is a collection of refurbished clothing where customers resell their old clothes for cash or store credit and shop for second-hand goods. Now Patagonia is taking on a higher peak; they are including a "buy used" option on their website, offering preloved garments alongside their newest designs. 

The second-hand trend is here to stay. Other chains such as The North Face, Macy’s, Adidas, Burberry, and Madewell have also embraced the new circular economy business model. Renowned traditional retailers are also becoming used clothing providers, and are transforming the way preloved garments are sold and perceived.

Even the most skeptical shoppers are now open to the idea of buying used quality items. As a result, it is no surprise that the total secondhand market is projected to grow to almost twice the size of fast fashion by 2029, as seen in this report by thredUP. 

Naturally, the most sustainable piece of clothing is the one that already exists. This “green” article of  clothing doesn’t require using virgin resources, it diverts textiles from ending up in landfills, and it requires no plastic packaging, according to Treehugger.

According to a 2018 report by thredUP, buying a used garment extends its life on average by 2.2 years, which reduces its carbon, waste, and water footprint by 73 percent. So even though the development of innovative materials and processes in fashion seems promising, wearing preloved garments is the easiest and most immediate way to face the environmental challenges the fashion industry brings. 

Initiatives like Patagonia's Buy Used initiative show responsibility towards the environment and also encourage other companies to manufacture high-quality items that last for years. Buying second-hand makes it possible to get the same great quality expected from leading brands at a more accessible price, and increases the lifespan of clothing.

The summit of this mountain can be reached; with everyone’s commitment today, the environmental impact made from the clothing industry can be diminished.

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