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An Introduction To Patagonia
There’s nothing worse than being unprepared, and with Great Britain’s weather having the unfortunate ability to change in a matter of moments, the fact is that we all often are. However, this could soon be a thing of the past, as a new breed of fashion labels, born from the great outdoors comes out of the cold and on to the high street, bringing with them all the expertise and knowledge they have gained from years in the wilderness. The latest brand to make the transition from an all round ready for action label, to a high-spec fashionable weather beater is American climbing brand Patagonia.
Patagonia is a brand steeped in history. It was born from one man’s love for what he did, and like many passions, the idea of developing something to help assist not only his self, but also create something that others would love in the process, drove him to envisage something brilliant. The man who carried this vision was Yvon Chounaird, who started climbing in America when he was 14. He grew an insatiable passion for the sport, travelling America to find the best rock faces to climb, and meeting fellow climbers who he would become best friends with along the way. Chounaird started out in the early days of rock climbing, when fixtures where left in the rock permanently, allowing climbers to share paths and ropes. This was a chunky, permanent scar on the landscape which made the rock crack, so Chounaird began his first business, making removable fittings called ‘chocks’. He began making them by hand, after he bought the tools he needed from a junk yard in California. Word soon spread of his invention, and the production of Chounaird’s innovation went industrial, as ‘chocks’ became the norm for a majority of climbers. He then went on to redesign nearly every piece of climbing equipment, bringing them up to date with new light weight, stronger materials like aluminium.
Chounaird began to travel the world climbing with his friends, moving from the Rockies to the Alps, and even to Scotland. It was here that Chounaird picked up some new climbing clothing- a heavy duty, overbuilt Rugby top. The colours were striking and new, and a visual break away from the rock climbing clothing at the time which consisted of beige shorts and white shirts. Chounaird soon became inundated with requests for his Rugby shirt, and began to ship styles from England, which were made by Umbro.
This side of the business, which was much more profitable than making climbing equipment, became Chounaird’s priority. He began shipping clothing from all over the world, and sold it under a name he came up with with the help of his climbing friends- Patagonia was chosen due to its ability to be pronounced in every language.
Patagonia Jackets In Modern Culture
Patagonia soon became a well recognised label, as Chounaird began to bring innovative fabrics from other lifestyles into climbing. Elements from fishermen’s outfits, such as quick drying cotton were introduced, as well as insulation through extra internal layering, and waterproofing outer layers. The new clothing range was a huge success, but the colour palette of all outdoor clothing was still very bland. In the early 1980’s Patagonia took a huge risk and introduced clothing with radical colouring. Bright red, cobalt and teal were used to add interest to the collection. The risk paid off, and the influx of colour created a huge fad, helping the brnad reach out beyond the world of climbing and into the wardrobes of the fashion pack.
Patagonia had become a hugely desirable brand, both on the high street and on the cliff face almost overnight.
The success of Patagonia’s early days still lives on, and despite its fluctuation into the fashion world, they still create clothing aimed at the outdoor pursuits consumer. Priding themselves on an economically friendly approach to production, Patagonia create clothing for the ‘silent sports’ like fishing, climbing, hiking and skiing. Like the sports that they provide for, there is nothing loud or brash about Patagonia clothing- they are functional, appropriate and ready for any situation.
Celebrities Wearing Patagonia
Taking Patagonia onto the high street is not a new fad. Like the colour lovers of the 1980’s, celebrities who have enjoyed Patagonia’s qualities have included Reese Witherspoon, Shia LaBeouf and even Will Ferrell.
Using Patagonia’s rugged design and functional design stays entwined with any casual look, whilst their outwear provides more than ample protection against some of the worst weather you are likely to encounter, thanks to its rich and diverse climbing experiences.
Patagonia Jackets Video
The following video from the Patagonia official Youtube channel highlights the Encapsil technology used on some of their down filled jackets.
Browse this seasons full range of Patagonia Coats & Jackets here
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