Patagonia – A Shared Commitment to Quality and Durability

Patagonia

If you climb, hike, ski, snowboard, surf, run, or do yoga, you’ve probably heard of Patagonia, and may even have bought at least one item of their apparel. They make high performance sports apparel and accessories. They have a laser focus on quality and durability.

In the words of the founder, Yvon Chouinard, their sports gear is designed to be the best sports gear in the world. It’s right in the Patagonia mission statement: 

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. 

Let’s face it, this kind of dedication to quality, performance, and durability is rare today. We live in a very disposable world. Nothing is built to last, and quality products are hard to come by. But Patagonia has a different philosophy for their clothing company. One of quality and durability that we both respect and also follow at Lucky & Me.

Recently, I became curious about Patagonia and their philosophy. I wanted to learn more, so I picked up a copy of founder Yvon Chouinard’s book. Let me tell you what I learned about the genesis of his business ethos.

Let My People Go Surfing

When I started reading let my people go surfing, the education of a reluctant businessman, I expected to hear about the virtues of flextime – increase creativity and productivity by letting employees grab their boards and head to the beach whenever the surf is up.

Let my people go surfing

Image courtesy of Patagonia

I was wrong. This book is about making things that are fit for purpose, work well, and last a long time.  The essence of the message is quality and durability. People should buy what they need, and what they buy should do what it is designed to do. This remains true whether it is a piton critical to safe rock climbing, or a rain jacket meant to keep us warm and dry hike after rainy hike.

Chouinard started his retail career making pitons, small metal spikes climbers drive into the rocks to aid their climb. In the early days of rock climbing, pitons were made of soft metal and could not be removed and used again. Chouinard taught himself how to forge and began making, and selling, reusable pitons. Over the years, he and his cohorts continually expanded and improved the tools used for rock climbing.

Two forces prompted these improvements: What would work better for the climber and what would cause the least amount of damage to the rock face? Amazingly, this process has culminated most recently in free climbers who eschew all tools, and scale vast challenges such as Yosemite’s El Capitan without pitons or even ropes.

I’m going to ponder that while I procrastinate going to the gym over a cup of coffee and an almond croissant.

Image courtesy of sandipointe.com

Quality and Durability

When Chouinard decided to sell apparel under the Patagonia brand, he brought the same commitment to quality and durability to garment-making. As he says:

“…every feature of every shirt, jacket, or pair of pants, had to be necessary.”

In practice, this means scrutinizing every element to ensure it is the best it can be. The yarns that make up the fabrics must be the highest quality, the machines that stitch the garments must be suited for purpose and maintained, the fasteners have to be chosen specifically for the garment type. And all elements must be tested and found to perform to the highest specifications.

My first Patagonia purchase was about 20 years ago. A pair of black ski pants made of the most wonderful fabric, they repel water and feel fleecy and warm on the inside. They are light and flexible enough to be comfortable for the bending, turning, sitting, and crouching skiing requires.

Still today, they are the only pants I wear for skiing, which means I am hopelessly out of style on the slopes. No matter; I will wear my Patagonia pants as long as they function – which will be a very long time.

Image courtesy of Colin Meagher

Every apparel item sold by Patagonia is designed for a specific purpose, and made to last.  They are so committed to quality and durability that they will repair, replace, or refund any  item they sell – what they call the Patagonia Ironclad Guarantee.

Lucky and Me share this commitment to quality and durability. Each garment sold has been designed with pride based on classic principles and developed to the highest quality standards. Every style undergoes extensive testing to ensure each product meets the exacting standards customers prefer and will last through numerous wash and wear cycles. You can read more about this at our blog post on durability.

The Lucky and Me focus on quality and durability principles results in garments that are fit for purpose, providing comfortable undergarments and athleisure wear for children. And it results in clothing that can be reused – either as hand-me-downs for younger siblings or through donations to Good Will and other organizations. This means your children’s Lucky and Me garments will last much longer than they fit your growing child! But you don’t have to take our word for it, just listen to what a loyal customer has to say about Lucky and Me underwear:

“I can’t even begin to tell how much I love these underwear for my son. I ordered two packs August 2016 and it is now August 2018 and they have been through several washes and are still in perfect condition. They are soft, comfortable, amazing.”

Customer testimonials like this are the best testament to Lucky and Me’s dedication to quality and durability.


Liz Smith has worked across the globe for many of the world’s major apparel brands, including Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, Justice, and Hanes. She has earned thousands of airline points and worn out several suitcases visiting factories in more than 20 countries to ensure that production is of the highest standard. Liz has managed all aspects of garment production, from design through fabric development to sewing and merchandising– so she knows what it takes to make high-quality apparel. Liz is thrilled to share her knowledge about clothes to help discerning customers choose the finest products.

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