In an age where the strange is now commonplace, one clothing brand has decided to make a stance against one group of Americans that very few saw coming- financial advisers and investors. Specifically, the firms that don’t represent the community-centric brand of the highly fashionable (and rather expensive) Patagonia.
According to Buzzfeed News, the popular vest provider known for selling custom embroidered puff vests to white-collar Americans, will now only be working with companies and businesses that openly advocate for ideas that Patagonia themselves endorses instead of doing businesses with anyone interested in their product. Essentially, Patagonia considers themselves a label of
status, not simply a label that anyone can purchase.
This change in procedure became noticed when a longtime client of Patagonia’s, a marketing agency in New York called Vested, was about to place an annual order and was shocked to see that the Patagonia representative denied servicing them. An email to Vested president Binna Kim stated “Patagonia has nothing against your client or the finance industry, it’s just not an area they are currently marketing through our co-brand division. While they have co-branded here in the past, the brand is really focused right now on only co-branding with a small collection of like-minded and brand aligned areas; outdoor sports that are relevant to the gear we design, regenerative organic farming, and environmental activism.” The email itself juxtaposed its non-exclusionary exclusion by then stating they are now “reluctant to co-brand with oil, drilling, dam construction, etc. companies that they view to be ecologically damaging.”
Later, after the incident became public, Patagonia issued the following statement:
“Our corporate sales program manages Patagonia’s sales to other companies, non-profits and other organizations. We recently shifted the focus of this program to increase the number of Certified B Corporations, 1% For The Planet members and other mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet. This shift does not affect current customers in our corporate sales program.
”Patagonia’s action has now placed them in the category of an “activist business” which means their corporate and financial decisions are impacted by their own sense of social awareness and less of a pure profit-seeking model. While it is within Patagonia’s very right to choose who they serve and decide not to serve, as is the right of any business in a free market, it will over time begin to lose customers who enjoy Patagonia’s clothing but are disapproving of their exclusionary business practices based off their socially motivated worldviews.