reflection #6

I had a good talk with Suzanne on Wednesday about the direction of my project. I’m currently in the process of revising my literary review which will also reflect changes made on prototype 2. Previously, my argument was trying to bring in too many factors as Sundi stated on one of my post. My previous reflections were on narrowing down what I can do with my subject, but now that I have one subject I’ll have to do better at condensing my sources into a meaningful pool of information.

My argument / angle will be: Patagonia differs from existing brand through its long history of environmentally sustainable practices which contrasts with modern fast fashion. I will clearly define “green marketing” and reference the instances within recent years and consolidate my sources to prove Patagonia’s effectiveness in influencing the industry. My timeline approach, as stated in my last prototype, is somewhat lackluster and I’m going to need to re-evaluate what I want from the site. One idea is an infinite scrolling site (with a navigation bar for easy jumps to each section) and add custom CSS in order to clean up the text. I’m continuing to work on CSS and watching tutorials on WordPress Plugins. I think our talk with John-Michael really made me want to do something a bit more animate with CSS.

Prototype (1) – Tony

For my first prototype, I am sticking with my timeline method for WordPress. I utilized a plug-in called Timeline Express which allows me to consolidate multiple “announcements” or posts onto a timeline which displays images and a brief description of the item. It will allow users to scroll down and more items will pop up which they can click “Read more” to take them to another page. I think this is a good beginning visualizer for how my project will work, however, I’m not extremely happy with the results. The timeline is similar to what I envisioned, but I wanted a horizontal scroller rather than vertical. The plug-in also only plans for current and future years and do not go back further than a certain year. Customizable functions are less than expected, so I don’t think I will be sticking with this plug-in. For the next prototype, I will be trying Timeline’s Knight Lab and attempt to use CSS to modify it.

Timeline Express’s “announcement” post set up. The date does not go back further than 2009 which is a major issue.
Timeline Express’s setting page which contains some useful settings pertaining to visibility and icon size.
Oversized title, undersized image. Centering is off.

Outreach #5

This week was another week of reanalyzing and realistically trying to realize my project (I didn’t plan the alliteration). The critique I had gotten last time was that my site would be almost too simplistic. Of course, now that my project has changed, it would make sense for the wireframe and media outreach to change as well. For my wireframe, I think that a much more detailed timeline with overlaying information is needed. The audience must get the general idea and the history before they can understand the movements that Patagonia is making currently. Audio-visual information is much more memorable than chunks of text so I want to incorporate videos into my site without it appearing too cluttered. I’m thinking of creating a timeline that follows a mountain outline (how difficult would that be?) to mirror Patagonia’s logo.

My media outreach plan is working better than I expected (and not from Reddit!). Just following a few wildlife corporation and nature photographers, I have already gained a few followers solely because I am following some people that they are also interested in. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more environmentally conscious subreddits (or perhaps r/DataIsBeautiful) in the near future.

Literature Review (Revised)

Tony Nguyen

Literature Review Revision

Green Movement in a Consumerist World

In a period of growing consumerism, Patagonia stands out amongst many other competitors within the fashion market through its dedicated mission for environmental conservation and waste reduction. Within recent years, Patagonia’s ubiquity among millennials coupled with its high prices has created a negative connotation for the brand with some associating Patagonia with juvenile fraternities and “finance-bros” (Flanigan). However, through my research, I have determined that Patagonia is much more than garments for the affluent; Patagonia is a brand that actively partakes in environmental causes and acts as an outlier among others who strive solely for profit.

In Michelle Labrague’s “Patagonia, A Case Study for Slow Thinking”, Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability can be tracked to its beginnings in the 1970s. Even in Patagonia’s early advertisements and catalog, the type of designs and diction used often pointed towards nature and a romanticized version of the outdoors (Labrague 178). Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, frequently used mountain imagery in his catalogs and emphasized the enjoyment of nature as a “contemplative” and “spiritual” activity rather than empty escapism (Labrague 179 – 180). Labrague ties Patagonia’s mission to its current place in the mainstream with “slow thinking.” Slow thinking is defined as a conceptual practice which focuses on sustainability and giving back to the environment. Patagonia exemplifies slow thinking in many of its initiatives such as Worn Wear, a program that repairs and recycles old Patagonia clothing, and 1% for the Planet or “Earth Tax”, a program where Patagonia gives 1% of its annual earnings to nonprofit grassroots organization. Because of its long history of advocacy and initiatives, Patagonia can be viewed as a frontrunner of slow thinking in fashion, a leader in ecological design and an influencer for future brands.

Recent sociological research from Dan-Christian Dabija’s “Enhancing Green Loyalty towards Apparel Retail Stores: A Cross-Generational Analysis on an Emerging Market” shows an increasing trend toward green-oriented fashion amongst young consumers. Green marketing is defined as a tactic in which a brand uses environmentally conscious initiatives to connect to consumers and generate profits. An example of this would be the aforementioned warranty on Patagonia products. However, many companies such as fast-fashion giants H&M and Zara utilize what I define as faux-green marketing, a shallow attempt to reach environmentalist consumers by adopting “sustainable initiatives.” Dabija claims that these “profit-seeking entities” implement green initiatives as a way to satisfy customer expectations rather than create a systemic change in their production to better the environment (3). These profit driven initiatives directly contrasts with Patagonia’s many sustainability campaigns that have existed since the company’s conception. Dabija defines and classifies the consumer demographics through sentiment analysis on millennials, Gen Xers, and Gen Yers which reveals that millennials are the most environmentally conscious group. Because of this shift in ecological awareness, Patagonia’s programs can considered especially influencing to other brands and have the most potential to make an impact on younger generations.

Mary-Clare Bosco’s “From Yosemite to a Global Market: How Patagonia, Inc. has Created an Environmentally Sustainable and Socially equitable Model of Supply-Chain Management” discusses Patagonia’s management model through the dissemination of green ideology in modern companies. Practices from corporate social responsibilities mimicking Patagonia contributed to this dissemination as businesses sought to improve employee conditions and the “society at large” (Bosco 17). Bosco argues that many companies create a facade of green initiatives, making minute internal changes that do not affect sustainability and leave their inefficient production method intact. Bosco also claims that Patagonia differs from these brands because of its original philosophies towards sustainability and continuation of eco-friendly production methods such as using recycled fibers, reducing CO emissions, and engineering less wasteful materials. Patagonia’s transparent model of operations also works toward creating a stronger relationship with the public community, creating opportunities to showcase production costs and mapping material sources.

Patagonia’s strongest and most controversial difference is its unabashed political views and commitment to environmental causes. In December of 2017, the Trump administration’s reduction of two national monuments was met with outrage from Patagonia as the brand quickly addressed the issue on its site and social media. David Gelle’s “Patagonia v. Trump” featured in The New York Times details Patagonia’s history and long political crusade for environmental protection. Gelle describes Patagonia’s lawsuit against the president as one of many political battles by the brand which also includes their fight against waste producing mining operations, damming, and fracking in the United States. In conclusion, Patagonia is defined by Neil Kornze, former director of the Bureau of Land Management, as “environmentalists who just happens to sell coats.”

My project will answer the question: How does Patagonia differ from other popular clothing brand in a consumerist society? With the articles included in this review as well as supplemental pieces, the project will showcase a history of Patagonia’s important works and moments. Through these moments, it will reveal how Patagonia has always been an important figure in sustainable clothing and its impact that has predated many newly developed green initiatives.

Works Cited

Bosco, Mary-Clare. “From Yosemite to a Global Market: How Patagonia, Inc. Has Created an Environmentally Sustainable and Socially Equitable Model of Supply-Chain Management.” Pomona Senior Theses, Jan. 2017, https://scholarship.claremont.edu/pomona_theses/178.

Dabija, Dan-Cristian. “Enhancing Green Loyalty towards Apparel Retail Stores: A Cross-Generational Analysis on an Emerging Market.” Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, vol. 4, no. 1, Mar. 2018, p. 8. Springer Link, doi:10.1186/s40852-018-0090-7.

Flanigan, Jake. “Why Are All These Business Bros Wearing the Same Vest?.” Esquire, 9 July 2018. Esquire.com, https://www.esquire.com/style/mens-fashion/a22089261/midtown-uniform-vest-business-style/

Gelles, David. “Patagonia v. Trump.” The New York Times, 5 May 2018. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/05/business/patagonia-trump-bears-ears.html.

Labrague, Michelle. “Patagonia, A Case Study in the Historical Development of Slow Thinking.” Journal of Design History, vol. 30, no. 2, May 2017, pp. 175–91. academic.oup.com, doi:10.1093/jdh/epw050.

Grouping #4

Over the past week, I have used Google Scholar a lot to find specific secondary articles for my project on Patagonia. Because of their transparency and open message about their ideals, I was able to find a number of articles related directly to Patagonia and scholars who have used Patagonia’s mission in relation to wider sociological approaches. I think that the mapping exercises that we have been doing in class has really opened my eyes to how my sources relate to each other. As I want my project to be a sort of timeline of how Patagonia’s green movement has solidified their spot in the fashion industry over the years, I think it is important to get multiple perspective.

I was able to divide my sources into: primary interviews directly with head directors of Patagonia, newspaper articles, scholarly articles that discuss the symbolism and history of Patagonia, and analysis articles which highlights Patagonia’s connection to broader ideas such as brand loyalty, consumerism, and impact on green fashion. I think I would like to use the historical aspect as a framework for the project to allow the audience to learn more about the brand before getting into their environmental and political endeavors.

Annotated Bibliography #2

Primary Sources

Beer, Jeff. “Exclusive: ‘Patagonia Is in Business to Save Our Home Planet.”.” Fast Company, Fast Company, 13 Dec. 2018, www.fastcompany.com/90280950/exclusive-patagonia-is-in-business-to-save-our-home-planet.

  • Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, changes the company’s mission statement to “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.” The change is a direct response to “climate crisis” and is a result of scientific reports projecting massive societal and economical impact due to climate change. Patagonia’s focus narrows to three priorities: “agriculture, politics, and protected lands.” These priorities translate into “regenerative agriculture”, political endorsements, and donating to conservations in order to establish new protected lands.

DeLeon, Jian. “History of Patagonia – Building a Brand That Lasts.” Highsnobiety, Highsnobiety, 25 Sept. 2018, www.highsnobiety.com/p/patagonia-brand-history-highsnobiety-book/.

  • Patagonia was birthed from grassroots beginnings and its founder, Yvon, sought to create synthetic alternative fabrics through “sustainable methods of productions”. Beyond fabrics, Patagonia has been a pioneer in brand transparency, raising “awareness and advocacy for environmental issues.” Through the brand’s advocacy for the outdoors, outspoken politics, and anti-consumerist campaigns, Patagonia has held a consistent brand vision which has not only affected the green movement but also influenced its consumers and other brands to follow its methods.

Engel, Allison. “Inside Patagonia’s Operation to Keep Clothing out of Landfills.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 Aug. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/business/inside-patagonias-operation-to-keep-you-from-buying-new-gear/2018/08/31/d3d1fab4-ac8c-11e8-b1da-ff7faa680710_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ac93646d4f57.

  • Patagonia’s “recycling and repair program”, Worn Wear, has been operating since 2005 to help reduce clothing consumption. With up to “600 items a week”, their renovation center is devoted fixing Patagonia garments no matter the age, “no questions asked.” Their efforts have also spread globally through Worn Wear trailers which visit various countries in order to help repair clothing. Through this process, Patagonia recycles and upcycles materials in order to reduce waste.

Secondary Sources

Dabija, Dan-Cristian. “Enhancing Green Loyalty towards Apparel Retail Stores: A Cross-Generational Analysis on an Emerging Market.” Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, vol. 4, no. 1, Mar. 2018, p. 8. Springer Link, doi:10.1186/s40852-018-0090-7.

  • The article is composed of a literature analysis and methodology discussing how retailers approach environmentalism and sustainable practices. The literature analysis discusses the problems of trying to be sustainable while also trying to satisfy the demands of consumers. It points towards issues of costs of production and low profitability. The analysis evaluates the sentiments of a wide range of age groups in order to discover their loyalty and feelings towards “green” brands. The surveys reveal that the youngest consumer care most about green movements, Gen Xers care less, and Baby Boomers care only about brands with clear connections to their mission.

Labrague, Michelle. “Patagonia, A Case Study in the Historical Development of Slow Thinking.” Journal of Design History, vol. 30, no. 2, May 2017, pp. 175–91. academic.oup.com, doi:10.1093/jdh/epw050.

  • This article discusses Patagonia’s relationship with “Slow Thinking”, a form of design and way of life which fuses together environmentalism and practicality after the mid-20th century. Labrague details the history and symbolism behind Patagonia’s logo and leads into Patagonia’s mission to create durable, technical clothing that is also sustainable. The analysis of Patagonia’s catalog reveals that ecological values are Patagonia’s priority and that slow thinking remains vital across various disciplines as it continues to bring up environmental debates in design and commerce.

Tertiary Sources

Secondary Source Reports #2

Source 4: Labrague, Michelle. “Patagonia, A Case Study in the Historical Development of Slow Thinking.” Journal of Design History, vol. 30, no. 2, May 2017, pp. 175–91. academic.oup.com, doi:10.1093/jdh/epw050.

Thesis 4: “Slow design’s combining of design thinking and practice with activism and environmental concerns has roots in these previous developments. Design researcher Alistair Fuad-Luke has stated that ‘slow acts as a way of reframing eco and sustainable design’ within current design debates. Therefore, slow marks shifting values and meanings of sustainability and expands already existing histories. This article builds on Fuad-Luke’s argument by using slow as a framework for sustainability. Slow cultural practices are underpinned by an ethical outlook, which opens them to further exploration. (176)”

Restatement: As slow thinking shifts environmentalism and increases ways of thinking about sustainability, Patagonia’s catalogue is a prime example of how slow design can create conversations about the relationship between green thinking and commercialism.

Structure 4: The article is divided into three sections: analysis of Patagonia’s catalogue in relation to slow thinking, Patagonia’s relationship with fashion, and Patagonia’s design process as an ideological distribution network (177).

In the first section, Labrague dives into the history behind the brand’s logo and relates it to “deep green” movement, tying together the brand’s identity with slow thinking ideology as they expose their consumer to the beauty of nature. In the second, she states, “durability is prized and fashion is positioned as an entity separate from Patagonia performance-wear. (183)” Patagonia detaches itself from the fashion world by placing its garments’ utilitarianism above all and works to create a perfect product. The third section notes Patagonia’s asceticism and dedication to their ideology of reducing environmental impacts. It “betrays” deep green thinking by allow itself to coexist with nature rather than bending to nature’s will (187).

Strategies 4: How I viewed the three categories was: story, relation to modern examples, and ideologies. I enjoyed learning the history of Patagonia as well as the history in symbols behind their logo. This seems like a powerful hook that appeals to many people. The transition into “how does this relate to fashion” and design definitely would not have been as smooth without the previous section. I think I’d want to lead off my project with some interesting information about the brand before diving into their works and effects. This would allow the audience to get a quick grasp of Patagonia’s values.

Source 5: Dabija, Dan-Cristian. “Enhancing Green Loyalty towards Apparel Retail Stores: A Cross-Generational Analysis on an Emerging Market.” Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, vol. 4, no. 1, Mar. 2018, p. 8. Springer Link, doi:10.1186/s40852-018-0090-7.

Thesis 5:

“In this context, consistent integration of good practices related to environmental protection and the preservation of resources with market-targeting and development strategies for the implementation of environmental protection measures, activities and actions within daily operations has become a pressing matter for modern companies. (2)”

In current times, environmentalism and sustainability practices are sought after qualities by consumers which forces companies to account for these issues in daily operations.

Structure 5:

The article is divided into a literature review and method analysis. In its lit. review, the piece talks about problem of wanting to be environmentally friendly and satisfying demand from consumers. Other issues raised are costs of production and reduction of financial income. It points towards several examples of fashion brands that have introduced green initiatives and analysis that shows that modern consumers tie brand loyalty with sustainability. They utilized thousands of surveys in order to conclude that the youngest generation of consumer care most about the green movement, Gen Xers less, and Baby Boomers only caring most about brands with clear missions tied to their practices.

Strategies 5:

  1. I enjoyed their use of generational theory in addressing how different generational groups of consumers approach the green movement.
  2. Their narrow scope on the market of Romania is an interesting approach.