Patagonia is not just an outdoor brand, Patagonia is a philosophy, an ideal, and considers itself an “activist company”.
From a perception standpoint, the brand founded by climber Yvon Chouinard in 1973, is perhaps one of America’s most valued and esteemed brands, not only for the quality of its products but also for its political and environmental stances.
However, the company is also recognized for its innovative approach to the world of advertising and marketing.
Patagonia understood that its consumers were actually part, and felt part, of a community that the company itself had helped build, as well as the strong brand identity, which was as important as if not more important than the product itself.
It was Chouinard himself who thought of something original to solidify Patagonia’s image even more, and the idea of the catalog came along.
A series of stunning photographs and captions inspired by writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Jack London had the same space-50 percent of the editorial content-reserved for pictures and product descriptions, here’s the news.
Great outdoor photographers such as Corey Rich, John Russell, and Galen Rowell have been among those featured in the catalog’s images, while writer and ultramarathon runner Craig Halloway has written for Patagonia catalogs for as many as 35 years.
But not only that. Some of the photos and stories published in Patagonia catalogs were ones that customers themselves experienced and then shared with the brand, prompting other consumers to do the same and go on outdoor adventures. Sometimes it happened that many of the photos chosen did not even feature Patagonia products.
“We were the first to use real people, and captions saying who and where they were”, Chouinard declared in an interview withThe New Yorker.
To further emphasize the impact that Patagonia catalogs have had on fashion-related marketing, a retrospective titled Unexpected: 30 Years of Patagonia Catalog Photography, a book encompassing 30 years of images and stories that have made the history of the brand and fashion-related marketing, was produced in 2010.