I am a walking Patagonia ad, (especially going to school in Syracuse) and though this post is not sponsored, my life might as well be. I wear their fleeces almost daily, have a sticker on my laptop and Hydroflask, and my winter coat is Patagonia.
Admittedly, the first time I wanted a Patagonia, it was for all the reasons you’re thinking this post is about. I was thirteen and one day seemingly the entire school came in wearing shep shirts and Synchilla fleeces. Preppy had hit my middle school like a ton of bricks, and I wanted to fit in.
I fell off that train for a few years, claiming it was silly to spend so much on a sweatshirt. But, as I learned more about conscious consumerism, the more I realized it was important to care about how it was my clothes got to me. I’m not delusional enough to think I can stop child labor or animal cruelty in the fashion industry, but I can make at least a little impact. Sometimes I still shop at places like Forever 21, but it’s like that starfish post every white mom on facebook likes to share about the man throwing individual starfish back into the ocean because it made an impact on that fish.
If a price tag of upwards of $1000 is not enough for you to be turned off Canada Goose jackets, maybe you’ll be swayed by how they get their jackets to be so warm. Canada Goose jackets source three major animal products: down, fur trim, and wool (the latter being unproblematic for the most part).
In terms of attaining down, I think a lot of people have rationalized it to the point where they think there’s this old farmer plucking individual feathers out of birds, and once they’re done they sort of run away like sheared sheep. In reality, even though some of the ethics allegations surrounding Canada Goose’s down sourcing is contested, birds have to be killed to stuff the jackets. To put in perspective the footprint this has, picture a goose’s underbelly, (where the down comes from) and then think about how big ONE of those coats are. Not only is that a lot of dead geese, but it is also a lot of carbon created from needing to farm them.
It get’s worse. The fur that lines the hoods of Canada Goose coats comes from coyote fur that is trapped in the wild. Depending on location, coyotes can be trapped for upwards of three days, leading some to strain muscles or even bite of limbs. This technically falls under Canada Goose’s “ethical” sourcing policy.
Compare this with brands like Patagonia, who have more fair trade certified items than any other brand, and uses a variety of sustainable fabrics and materials in their products like RECYCLED down, hemp, and reclaimed cotton. Similar to L.L. Bean, (one of my other winter favorites) they also offer a program to fix broken products called Worn Wear, which is a great way to stop the mindset promoted by the fast fashion industry that any broken item must be thrown out or replaced. Items beyond repair are recycled.
However you stay warm this winter, make sure you do so responsibly. An informed consumer can make an impact, no matter what big brands tell you.