Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Cleanest Line

Pacing Protection.Photo by dadoll via
If you were alive say 20 years ago big wall rock climbing was at the height of its popularity. Everywhere you went you'd see people sporting the "Go Climb a Rock" t-shirts sold by the Yosemite Mountaineering School. Much like the entrepreneurs of the California gold rush, many professional big wall climbers turned their talents from finding holds on granite to finding niches for high quality clothing and gear for the growing market. Among those one name stood apart for high quality goods that were eco-friendly, a new idea amongst businesses in America.

Patagonia was formed in the 1970's as founder and big wall climber Yvon Chouinard sold rugby shirts he had purchased after a trip to Scotland. At that time Chouinard was already well known for his hand crafted climbing gear and "clean" (without the use of permanent anchors, bolts and drilling that damage the rock) outlook towards climbing. While Patagonia continued to grow to profound proportions, Chouinard soon became concerned with the materials that were going into the clothing he was making. After visiting a cotton farm in California's central valley he became alarmed at all the chemicals put on the crops and the runoff from all the pesticides. Chouinard began looking for organic materials from which to make his clothing. Ones that did not hurt the environment either during growing or production.

Today Patagonia is known for their organic clothing (much of which is made from recycled plastic materials) and their commitment to the environment and environmental causes. Yvon Chouinard is still actively heading his company and tours the world talking about his book that helped shape the face of business in America, Let My People Go Surfing.

So the next time you start to buy those dirty, ripped jeans for $150 stop and think a minute, what went into making these? Were any pesticides used that harmed the environment?

For more on Patagonia and their environmental efforts check out their new blog, The Cleanest Line at

Photo by dadoll via Flickr.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

you know, I love patagonia, but I never knew the history of the company or it's commitment to the environment. I just knew they had great products! Thanks for filling me in. I'm going to check out the link.