A ski work pant in desperate need of some TLC. Jonathan Desabris photo.
In a large warehouse located on the outskirts of Reno, Nevada, about sixty sewing workstations sit on an elevated workstation surrounded by shelves of boxed Patagonia gear. Each station is individually decorated with pictures of children, happy birthday signs, and old ads from Patagonia's famous catalogs (my personal favorite was a PFD ad for the now defunct Lotus Designs). Here, working diligently and with purpose, is a group of men and women whose main goal is to fix your broken gear.
This is the repair department at Patagonia.
Repair center lead Josh Schill breaks down a zipper repair on a ski patrol jacket. Jonathan Desabris photo.
Led by Josh Schill, a young man with an anchor tattoo on his right arm, these guys fix everything from broken zippers to burned off sleeves (zippers and random rips/tears make up around 60 percent or more of the repairs in the center). Some garments, like the ski patrol jacket pictured above, have been returned over five times. This group of people is working hard to send the message that Patagonia hopes will resonate among its consumers: Stop buying new stuff every year.
The repair center at Patagonia's Reno location. Jonathan Desabris photo.
Repairing your gear makes sense in so many ways. Most obviously, you can save a lot money. If you don't have to replace a ski shell each season you can pocket that $700 for a rainy day. Also, keeping your kit in use for at least nine months reduces your carbon emissions by 24 percent opposed to buying a new one.
While Patagonia is making huge strides every year toward becoming a more sustainable brand with eco-friendly materials (next fall it will be the first company to release a certified recycled Gore-Tex ski shell) it's still much better for the environment if you just fix your shit.
I was fortunate enough to witness the repair operation in person and believe me, the care and precision that goes into repairing each garment means you'll get your favorite damaged piece of gear back in better condition.
A zipper repair on a puffy. Jonathan Desabris photo.
There's a variety of ways to repair your Patagonia gear.
Do it through any of Patagonia's retail and partner stores or by downloading a repair form. The Worn Wear tour is in full force and you can check out their dates here to see if it's coming to a location near you.
We should all be repairing our gear regardless of which brand it is. Most companies strive to make quality goods that should last multiple years.
If you need help fixing any piece of gear check out some tricks and tips here.
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