Early on in the life of Alabama Chanin, Natalie had the opportunity to visit the Ventura, California offices of Patagonia. That visit, along with a copy of founder Yvon Chouinard’s manifesto, Let My People Go Surfing, opened all of our eyes to the fact that it is possible to create a healthy workplace, make products responsibly, produce things that are meant to last, and still stay in business. (Or, at any rate, that is certainly our goal…) Patagonia’s The Footprint Chronicles shows the origins of Patagonia products and materials. Their supply chain is completely transparent, and directly inspired Alabama Chanin to document and publish our own supply chain.

Another Patagonia program that we’ve loved is Worn Wear, which documents stories of garments used, reused, repaired, and recycled. (You can read stories of individuals and their garments at the Worn Wear blog.) The Worn Wear program helps garment owners maintain their gear for as long as possible through product care and repair services. It also provides an easy way to recycle Patagonia garments that are beyond repair.


As the Patagonia team puts it, the biggest step we can take to reduce our impact is to do more with what we have. Repeated laundering, ironing, and drying can shorten a garment’s life, just as much as wearing them—so they offer tips for cleaning and care to extend the garment’s life cycle. But, if a garment gets excessively worn, Patagonia urges owners not to toss it, but instead repair it—or send it to them for repair. You can find easy-to-read repair guides on their website. Or, you can ship an item back to Patagonia to be repaired. The company employs 45 full-time repair technicians at their service center in Reno, Nevada. It’s the largest repair facility in North America—completing about 30,000 repairs per year.

Garments that are not salvageable can be returned to Patagonia (postage paid) to be recycled into new fiber, or repurposed. Since 2005, they have taken back over 82 tons of clothing for recycling. Our collaboration with Patagonia used just these cast-offs to create scarves from repurposed material.


Patagonia’s Worn Wear Repair Truck is currently on its fall tour (and upcoming stops can be tracked here). The truck and the Patagonia repair crew will be at The Factory for a special two-day event. On Friday, September 18 from 9:00am – 5:00pm and Saturday, September 19 from 10:00am – 4:00pm, we invite you to bring your well worn, well loved garments—of any brand—to be repaired for free by the Patagonia team. As they say, “If it’s broke, we fix it.”

We will offer regular lunch service at The Factory Café on Friday and a brunch taco stand with other sweet and savory items on Saturday. Alabama Chanin’s School of Making will sponsor a DIY mending station with thread and cotton jersey fabric scraps. Patagonia will also have DIY garments that if you can fix, you can take them home.


*All images Courtesy of Patagonia

6 comments on “PATAGONIA WORN WEAR

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  1. jackie pankuck

    I am holding out hope that you do the scarves again…I bought one and it quickly became my favorite thing…and then I lost it. Any chance of another collaboration so I can replace my scarf?

  2. jackie pankuck

    Dear Natalie,
    I am holding out hope that you will collaborate with Patagonia again to bring us some more scarves. I bought one last year and it quickly became my most favorite thing! And then….I lost it. I was so sad and looked everywhere but no luck. if you are doing it again, please let me know as I would be first in line to order another.
    Thanks so much…Jackie Pankuck

  3. Marjie Hill

    Bravo, Alabama Chanin and Patagonia, for affirming the goodness of caring for what we have, for recycling in beautiful and creative ways, for employing Americans, and for teaching us and giving opportunities for us to learn. I freakin’ love you all and I wish I had a standing free travel ticket between California and Alabama!

  4. ERIN

    What an AMAZING way to continue to reduse, and re-use! I design and sew upcycled clothing, and am always seeing new life in a garment. I decide where it has been , and what it is “re-incarnating” into! I <3 you guys at Alabama!

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