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.
This video from Patagonia sheds more light on the inspiration of the collection. Patagonia also commissioned my buddy Foster Huntington to shoot a Legacy collection look book. You can see that here.
Comments on “Introducing the Patagonia Legacy Collection.”
While unrelated to Patagonia or Chouinard in any way, I once visited an old general store in Shephardstown, West Virginia, that still contains a complete working shop from the turn of the century. All of the equipment is powered by overhead wheels that transfer the power with belts, though I didn’t find out what powered the overhead shaft. The latest owners gave some thought to using it for classes and whatnot but it was problematic and the idea was abandoned.
Nevertheless, I wonder who the most recent person to actually start manufacturing something of a hardware nature in a shop like that and make a go of it?
Any word on whether the garments are produced in the US? I might have missed that info in the immediate report. Any hope of future sizing for women? Ladies love Cagoules! At min, I’ll definitely be picking up a pair of those bitonal stand up pants. Very kicky.
I bought one of those quilted snaps – kind of an aqua green, at Great Pacific Ironworks, around ’85 or ’86…got a lot of good use out of it on rivers and streams I Fly Fish here in CA. Nice to see some of the tried and true stuff in the Legacy Collection !
I love Patagonia and their history. What I don’t love is how their sizing has skewed towards anorexic hipsters lately.
Still great gear, everlasting and wonderfully made. That said, the color selection (save for the outerwear) has become so drab…everything is either a shade of brown or grey.
The legacy collection looks pretty awesome. As cool as the newest high tech gear and clothing is, it’s great to see a company like Patagonia taking some inspiration from the products that got it where it is today.
@Joel I’m not sure what you’ve tried on but I’ve been sizing down to a small in some of Patagonia’s latest items and I’m 6′ 175 lbs. I wouldn’t expect a size small to fit someone who wears a 40R jacket if the sizing was skewed towards anorexic hipsters.
I’m also wondering where these pieces will be made – hopefully in the US.
@Joel – I’m kind of surprised by your comment on sizing. My chest is a measured 42, and I find Patagonia’s Medium to be a bit big on me.
Any idea on whether this collection will be available on their website, or whether it will only be distributed through select stockists?
@Joel, LarryB and Matt,
Might be specific items. I bought a hawaiian style shirt about a year ago that was “slim fit” and had to size up. I’ve also bought synchilla’s that I’ve had to size down. Probably just depends on what you buy.
Don’t get the sizing comment, either. Patagonia has always seemed to run large to me.
At this point people have to make up reasons to hate on “hipsters”…
Bought a pair of standup pants in the early 70’s. I was a spelunker then, liked the style, and the name. Wish I still had them. In 1977 Chatwin published In Patagonia and the mystique continued. Oh, yeah and the reception of the first catalogue further set the hook.
In general I don’t think Patagonia jackets/shirts run small but their pants are always very tight in the thigh/croch seam (for me at least- but I’m 6’4″ and not anorexic- don’t think I’m a hipster). Simple answer- don’t by the pants if you’re a bigger fellow.
The rainjacket and pullover look awesome.
I LOVE the archival backpack. Bravo to the design team.
I have to agree on sizing issues. Especially with anything long sleeve. Sleeves just always seem to long.
Having lived in Ventura for a time, it was nice to shop at both GPIW and small “outlet” type store nearby. I still have some Pat polos that are 15+ years old.
Generally those belt machines were powered by a larger electric/steam motor or sometimes even by a water wheel.
As far as I know the collection is landing only in select Patagonia stores and a very small handful of dealers around the world. It’ll go fast so keep an eye out for delivery dates. Also the collection was designed to be unisex….sizing goes down to XXS to accommodate women.
at a BEAMS store near you
RE: sizing comments
Thumper is on point – the sizing has changed to accommodate women seeking mens products/boxy cuts in their sizes
I have shopped at Patagonia for about three decades and still have almost every item I have purchased from them. While I have supported the company I would not consider myself a fanatic as I pick and choose items as needed. Quality often comes at a premium and Patagonia’s eco friendly business model is easy to support.
My last purchase from them was two or three years ago. I got my wife one of those down sweater/jacket deals that look great and function well. She was stoked. Then the zipper failed and I looked over the jacket closely and noted it was made in China. What? The price was certainly still premium. Called Patagonia and of course they fixed it.
The made in China thing irks me. I went back and started looking at all of my old pieces that I have collected over the decades and noted that every single one was made in America. I am willing to pay a premium for made in a America and try to avoid products made in China. My next Patagonia catalog came and I noticed that everything in the catalog is now imported except the T shirts. Bah!
I contact Patagonia with my concerns and they didn’t address them in the initial response. After pressing the issue I got what seemed to be a form letter response about how making their products in China and other countries left a smaller carbon footprint. I don’t buy it. The garments are made over seas to boost profit.
I still consider Patagonia when I need outdoor goods but the luster is certainly gone. Sorta bummed that a cool company like Patagonia that has preached eco friendly quality has chosen this new business model.
Thanks for listening to my rant and keep up the great work on the Blogger.
Too bad they seem not to consider a product finished until they’ve slapped a crappy “pataginia” label on the exterior. I’d buy that diamond quilt pullover in a heartbeat if they simply let the quality of the garment speak for itself.
Stuff looks alright but the logos are too big and not subtle enough.
Actually, Patagonia’s labels are still on the relatively subtle side, especially when compared with companies such as The North Face, whose logos are often so huge that you can spot them a mile away. And it’s easy enough to cut the label off if you so desire.
Really great brand with superb quality and historical relevance. This Legacy collection really doesn’t stray too far from the original, which says a lot about the first designs I think. Wonder how the fits differ.
DAMN YOU PATAGONIA, JUST TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY!!!!
Legacy? not a word if the goods are “made in U.S.A” and please do not give me the “too expensive” excuse, it is just a lie to make more profit for the shareholders, I can show you today MIUS T-shirt retailing for $8.99, 100% cotton, very well tailored, while Nike sell poorly designed/cut pieces made in china for $27.00???????????????
Like many posting here, I am a Patagoniac and have been buying & wearing (when it fits) their stuff for 20+ years, and still have some of the old stuff. What is particularly annoying about their sizing issues are that sizes are variable among product line – i.e. have to buy a shirt of one style in M and in another in L. Same goes for sweaters. Ughhh….
And don’t even think about their pants if you have an inseam longer than 34″, Yvon has excluded us….
Great blog, insights and stories, Michael. Thank you.
Similar issue with sizing… Don’t buy their jackets anymore as they fit like tents. Coastal sizing please?
To those of you (or rather, us) who have a problem with imported products, I say this: if it isn’t made where you live, it’s imported. I live in Virginia. If I buy something made in, say, Washington state, it’s imported. It is ironic that if I buy an American-made Filson product, for instance, it is likely that a Chinese woman actually made it, but in Seattle. But there’s nothing new about that.
It is also funny the way a certain (unnamed) mail-order company will identify their products as being either made in the U.S., made in Italy, Made in Germany, Made in Europe or simply “imported.” In any case, I will admit that it is difficult to judge a garment entirely on its own merits when you know where it is from, either the country of origin or the store, provided you know the price. What is a fair price, too?
I sometimes have a problem with the outside labeling of garments in spite of the fact that many producers have been doing that for decades. FjÃ¤llrÃ¤ven products have long displayed prominent labels and badges on the outside of most of their products. Then there’s Burberry and their distinctive plaid and so on and so forth.
There is also a basic problem with the sales life of any given product. At some point everyone has one that wants one and sales begin to drop off, which generally leads to the item being discontinued. Naturally that leads to complaints of the way companies lose track of their goal in life or something like that. The consumer typically does not realize that the goal of a corporation is to make money for the owner. It isn’t to provide employment for people or to produce the world’s best flashlight. Producing the world’s best flashlight may be HOW the owner makes money but providing employment is way down the scale.
Someday we might talk about why you want a particular product to begin with.
If anyone is interested, here’s a link to a report that looks at the human rights aspects of Patagonia’s production practices. A ton of other companies are also listed for your perusal.
Regarding sizing I almost always wear a small in Patagonia jackets and fleeces (with the exception so far of needing an XS in their Retro-X fleeces), and I’m 5’6″ and about 140 lbs. with a 39″ chest and 32.5″ shirt-sleeve measurement. I think that the arms are often cut long on their more active-minded jackets so that when you reach overhead the sleeves won’t ride down your forearms and the waist will stay tucked into either your pack belt or climbing harness (should you be wearing either of those things over it). With all of that said I do find that the torso often fits a bit boxy on some of their jackets, this is good for layering and I don’t mind it but if you want something super slim I would probably look elsewhere.
I haven’t yet encountered any significant quality issues and I’ve had a few Patagonia pieces over the years, and I’ve taken them out on regular hiking and climbing trips.
I like Patagonia’s philosophy and return/repair policies. In some ways their initial quality has really gone down — and their sizing has gone up into the vanity territory. I used to be a medium but now am a small. If you stick to classics like standup shorts, boardshorts and simple fleeces you’re OK. Their “casual” clothing isn’t all that great, IMO.
This collection looks a little meh. Perhaps its the “updated” logo and drab colors.
@BlueTrain – If you live in VA, then you live in America, not China, no?
Moreover, I consider Washington State and China to be worlds apart when it comes to social, labor, and environmental standards and those are the basis for preferring goods that are made in America, by Americans (who come in non-white varieties, fyi) over goods made by anyone of any description in a country like China.
Bought a fleece jacket similar to the final picture at an alpine shop in Helena, Montana about 1980. Brick red with a blue chest pocket. My buddies had never heard of Patagonia. I don’t have the coat anymore but I still have a Chouinard ice hammer, much treasured, from the same shop.
Excellent photos Michael. The blacksmith shop images remind me of my grandfather. Sometime around 1909 he met Henry Ford and repaired his automobile when he was passing through town. Shortly afterwards Henry Ford asked him to become a partner for a Ford dealership. But I love the traditional Patagonia heritage, their style seems to sort of take own it’s own character. Reminds me to go buy some more of their stuff, ha. Thanks, Brian
Mr. Jiheison, you’re missing the point. I don’t make my living in either Washington state or China. What the working conditions in either place may be is irrelevant. At one time (you’ve probably heard this before), there were lots of factories, mostly mills, up in New England. They tended to move to the southern states. The effect on those who had been employed in those mills was the same as if the mills had gone to China. And naturally, production moved the the southern states for the same reason it was moved overseas (not necessarily China) later on. Not to stretch a point but it’s possible there are big differences between the North and the South (depending on what North and what South) regarding social, labor and environmental standards. These differences exist in all the scales up and down the line from international to just across the river, if you follow me.
So what about something made, say, in Germany, compared with something made in, say, South Carolina? Think about this carefully. It’s a trick question.
@BlueTrain — It is you who is missing the point. There is no question of what the working conditions “may be” in WA vs. China. They are better at the Filson factory in WA.
If you prefer to buy German-made goods explicitly because you support German societal priorities over those of the US, kudos to your for making a principled decision. I hope you tell everyone who cares to listen about your choice and why you made it.
If you want to pretend that it doesn’t matter where goods come from because blah-blah-18th-Century-New-England-blah-blah-the-American-South-is-backwards you are only kidding yourself.
Can you repeat the last paragraph? I don’t understand it.
Concerning working conditions generally, however, I have no idea under what conditions anybody else works, only myself and those in places where I have worked from the tobacco field on up.
The scale of the company has grown over the past four decades, but the mission and the core values remain intact,”
Really? This is hilarious. Unfortunately the mission and the core value is to make money. You’re fooling yourself if you think a “brand” cares about you. They care about making money and pleasing investors. Life doesn’t happen in brands. Life does not equal brands. Life is about people.
Brands are using you as much as you use them. Its just a label. It doesn’t make you any more of a man. How about we look inside to help identify ourselves for a change.
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