In 2011, Patagonia took an unapologetic stand against untrammeled Black Friday consumerism with an ad that had the phrase, “Don’t Buy This Jacket.”
Splashed across the pages of the New York Times — and on the holiest of retail’s high holy days, no less — the plea to consumers was for them to consider the environmental cost of the brand’s bestselling R2 fleece before buying it or any other garment. It was bold, unexpected, and even blasphemous.
But it was also a harbinger of things to come from the unabashedly pro-planet, anti-materialistic outdoor clothing and equipment purveyor, which has in the ensuing years reinvented shopping’s busiest day into a vehicle for climate awareness and philanthropy. Since 2016, it has marshaled Black Friday to raise millions of dollars for grassroots groups fighting for cleaner air, water, and soil.
“We really believe that Black Friday, as a concept, is really unhealthy to our health and global health,” Jenna Johnson, head of Patagonia, tells InStyle. “The idea of consuming for the sake of consuming is completely opposite of where we need to go as a society in order to rein in our carbon footprint and be able to make a positive impact on this immense climate issue that we’re dealing with.”