Over the break, I was able to get feedback from my girlfriend and friends back home on the site. Their feedback mostly aligned with what the class, the instructors, and Zun thought. Overall, they enjoyed the clean look, efficient menu bar, and parallax scrolling, but felt that it was lacking in visual content. I fixed this by adding more information into the Timeline, adding images to provide context to my content, and altering existing text to get my message across more clearly.
I had intended to get a lot more done over the week of Easter Break including stronger social media outreach and text revision, but family issues prevented me from doing so. As all of my projects are piled into this week, I will be revising my site and my content throughout this time and have a presentable project by Verna Case.
update: Hi Suzanne and Sundi. I apologize for the lateness of this post, but I’ve experienced family issues over the past few weeks and I hope that it will be okay.
Aesthetically, I took note of what Zun said in class about the Patagonia-ness of my site. I decided to move away from imagery that would lead the audience to think that I am an affiliate of Patagonia. My new hero image is now a collage that shows the duality of Patagonia: its mainstream demographic versus its environmentally conscious side.
My timeline is now complete with the brand’s key moments. I’ve rewritten my content to remove passive voice and promotional speech for the brand. My newest section “Connotations” explores more of the mainstream views of the brand and how it can damage its philanthropic aspects.
Images are added to break up the monotony of text and provide context to what I am referring to. My only missing pieces are citations and an about page which I will be getting done by this weekend.
This might be my most informal reflection. Sorry guys. The past week and next week will be revising the content to my site, adding sources, and providing 1-2 more sections to finish up the project. To answer Suzanne’s question on my last reflection (“Did Zun’s question have any effect on you?”), I think it did and I’ll look for ways to incorporate my role as fashion activist and enthusiast into the project.
I own one pair of Patagonia shorts. I have a fleece jacket coming in that I plan on re-selling (it’s a side gig and it’s besides the point… or is it?) Zun’s question really had me thinking about my role in all this. I talk about how Patagonia is perceived as a brand full of posers: wall-street finance bros, upper-middle class suburban moms, and fleece wearing frat bros. I talk about how the brand is more than that and that it is dedicated to the environment and is made for hikers, adventurers, and explorers.
But that’s not the majority demographic. I own a pair of shorts and I go hiking maybe 3 times a year. I’m not an outdoorsman. I doubt the majority of kids even on this campus wearing Patagonia goes climbing, biking, or do environmentally conscious actions every other day. I buy and resell clothes as a side job. Without this demographic of suburban “posers”, I wouldn’t be able to flip that fleece jacket for a profit (vintage Patagonia fleece is SO IN right now for whatever reason). Am I a poser for making this project even though I am only marginally more environmentally conscious in regards to fashion? Or does my awareness of Patagonia’s mission and overall outlook negate this?
This week has been incredibly productive for me thanks to social media feedback and class reviews. I scrapped my minimalist site and went for a more modern approach. I removed the TimeLine Express plug-in because it was incredibly clunky, unattractive, limiting, and would have required a lot of CSS work to fix. I am incredibly happy with how Knight Lab’s Timeline worked out, although I have not finished the timeline yet. It’s next on the checklist for this week! The embedding feature and external spreadsheet is a wonderful element to the site as it doesn’t require a plug-in or use up space on WordPress.
More information recently came out on Patagonia’s stance against corporations without charity initiatives which I think is good source material for my argument. I was wondering if it was okay that I had so many news outlet-based sources as a lot of Patagonia’s major moves within the past several years are not noted in academic sources.
After adding some new plugins, changing my theme, and playing with CSS, my site has a much more completed look. I’m currently using a theme called Altitude Pro which enables custom widgets and parallax scrolling.
The site uses infinite scrolling as studies have shown that users prefer scrolling to clicking through multiple pages. My home page is a simple title with links leading to the next two area, a timeline history of Patagonia’s achievements and the “about” section. On the top, there are links which immediately scroll you to their respective sections.
My newly improved timeline is made using Knight Lab’s timeline tool. I’m able to edit its dates, contents, and titles through a Google spreadsheet. Typically, the tool is embedded on a page, although, I was able to embed it onto the widget area.
The next few sections will be the core content areas with a works cited section that I have not set up yet. I’m considering adding a ‘works cited’ to the top toolbar and link it to a separate page rather than clutter my main page. In terms of content, the two points I want to focus on are Patagonia’s environmental initiatives and the paradox of the brand. Can a pro-sustainability company be profitable? I am planning on having at least one or two more sections discussing Patagonia’s politics and their difference amongst other brands while referencing their modern connotations in the media.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.