The Patagonia Worn Wear College Tour came to Yale’s campus Monday, repairing around 50 items of clothing while teaching students and members of the New Haven community about reusing their garments.
Throughout the day, representatives from the company and its partners put on events such as clothing repairs, bike repairs and a clothing swap. The itinerary also included an evening panel discussion about sustainability with Rick Ridgeway, a vice president at Patagonia; Adam Werbach from Yerdle, a business that helps leading brands develop reuse programs; and Scott Briscoe from the National Outdoor Leadership School. Still, on a frigid March day, the Patagonia repair station and clothing swap were a hit among students.
“We’re trying to empower college students with the skill [of repairing] and understanding of their own gear, so that it is repairable, so that they can take care of it themselves and so they can have ownership over these things instead of just being consumers,” said Faye Christoforo, the co-director and campus coordinator of the environmental group Post-Landfill Action Network.
Christoforo said the point of the tour is to encourage college students to repair their clothing, adding that millennials have grown up in the “fast fashion” generation and would rather buy new clothing rather than fix worn wardrobe staples.
Yale was the sixth of 21 schools at which the tour will stop. The program began in South Carolina about three and a half weeks ago and will move across the country before ending in late April. According to Christoforo and others on the team, the tour has been a great success so far, particularly at Yale.
“The day has been amazing,” said Kern Ducote, one of the Patagonia staff members. “It’s been super, super busy. Probably the busiest stop of this tour.”
He added that the Patagonia store can usually handle 40 repairs in a day, but took on 50 repairs in two hours on Monday. At a certain point, he said the representatives had to stop accepting repairs because they can only be at each stop for a limited amount of time.
Austin Stubbs, a sewing repair tech for Patagonia, said the Yale turnout for the event was larger than expected. He had completed six repairs on clothing by 1 p.m., and people asked for a range of fixes including patching holes and darning jeans.
“The stoke has been so high at Yale,” he said. “Everybody seems to be really thrilled to support this idea and this mission.”
Three Yale students interviewed at the event expressed excitement. Joey Bosco ’20, for example, came to have a hole in his jacket repaired, and was able to do it for free.
Elizabeth Keller ’20 and Louisa Nordstrom ’20 didn’t bring garments to be repaired, but spent time looking at the used Patagonia gear for sale. Keller saw the event on Facebook and said she thought it sounded interesting. The only drawback she found was that a lot of the used clothes for sale were for men, though she speculated that it was due to the fact that she did not arrive until later in the afternoon. Otherwise, she said the event was great and that Patagonia impressed her.
“[The company] does such a good job with being a positive name brand,” Keller said, noting that the company also donated much of its Black Friday profits to charity.
The tour will be stopping next at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on March 10.