A few months ago I made the trip to Ventura, California and stood in the parking lot where Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard embarked on one of his first climbing trips to Argentina. The point of my journey to Patagonia the company wasn’t to tour historic parking lots, it was the see a new collection of clothing that was inspired by the early and important Patagonia clothing that Yvon Chouinard created in that very same spot. Launching this September, the Patagonia Legacy collection is a small ten-piece capsule of product that traces back to the original items from the forty years of Patagonia. The scale of the company has grown over the past four decades, but the mission and the core values remain intact, much like the building in which it all started.
Before I made the trip to California, I saw the Legacy collection at a small preview in New York. I was, admittedly, pretty nervous going in to see it. Often times, these types of historically slanted collections can be tricky and scary to the purists. The last thing we want is some heavy-handed re-interpretation for no good reason. I learned at that preview, and also later in Ventura, that heavy-handed is not Patagonia’s M.O. The Legacy collection is a subtle and steady take on the already great items from the Patagonia’s past.
Just walking around the company’s unimposing offices illustrate this point. Yvon Chouinard has instilled a deep commitment to the environment, the community and to the people who work at the company that can be seen and felt in every aspect of the place. It seems about as low stress as it gets, an especially intriguing attribute for a company its size. This “vibe” is evident in so many of the moments at Patagonia. It’s there when you walk in the door, when you see the children of the employees at the on-site company day care, when you talk with sponsored athletes coming by to swap out surfing gear and everywhere in between. The visit, for me, was as much about the culture as the clothes.
The legacy collection, which is, as mentioned, a small offering, freshens up classic items from the company’s history. Everything is made to be fully functional and it is an honest update to the originals. The prices for the line range from $99 for the Summit Pack to $349 for the Post Foamback Cagoule (rain poncho).
Above, the archival backpack and the new version from the Legacy collection.
These Stand Up Pants were inspired by the ironworker pants that were beloved by early American climbers on the West Coast.