Patagonia Repair Department giving a second life to their gear

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 7:36 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -The outdoor clothing and gear company, Patagonia, is not your regular brand. To help the environment, the Repairs Department at Patagonia gives another life to any of their gear that needs fixing, even their very first items created.

What began as a small group of employees in 1998, the repairs team is now 115 employees strong. 50,000 repairs happen each year in Reno alone. The Reno warehouse fixes around 100,000 items for the Patagonia repair network.

Repairs Manager Josh Schill describes their work as unique and challenging.

“We are repairing anything that was ever made. Sometimes that requires a substitution and other times we have that exact fabric. I don’t even know how many rolls we have in a typical season, but we buy ten thousand to fourteen thousand yards of fabric.”

This team at Patagonia allows customers to keep things in play and avoids people having to throw away a jacket for a messed-up zipper, a hole, or even prevents them from having to buy something new. The Environmental Protection Agency reports each year 85 % of clothing ends up in landfills.

Schill continued,

“We think we have great quality, and we are using our repairs process to do all those things but also take that message and do better in the future with the design and production teams. Our message and what we stand for in our mission. It is integrated into saving the home planet. We understand business comes with a footprint and we are doing everything we can to mitigate that.”

Diego LaRochelle has been in repairs since October. He mentioned sewing is very new for him, but he is learning every day. LaRochelle said why he enjoys the work he does,

“I have an appreciation for older gear, I think about the older gear my dad has handed down to me or the stuff I’ve been lucky to thrift, so, personally it’s been awesome to see old gear that’s been well-used and well-loved to come in and get to go back out and have a second life.”

Manuel mentioned what the best part of the job is,

“The nice thing about repairing something and being reusable is the feeling. It’s about the company’s principles. It’s a very nice feeling to recycle to repair.”

To start a repair, click here.