Patagonia is not just an outdoor brand, Patagonia is a philosophy, an ideal, and sees itself as a “militant enterprise”.
From a perception point of view, the brand founded by the mountaineer Yvon Chouinard in 1973, is perhaps one of the most beloved and esteemed American brands, not only for the quality of its products, but also for its political and environmental positions.
However, the company is also recognized for its innovative approach to the world of advertising and marketing.
Patagonia understood that its consumers were in fact part of, and felt part of, a community that the company itself had helped to build, as well as the strong brand identity, which was as important if not more important than the product itself.
It was Chouinard himself who thought of something original to further solidify the image of Patagonia, and the idea of catalog came with.
A series of stunning photographs and captions inspired by writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Jack London had the same space – 50% editorial content – reserved for product images and descriptions, here’s the news.
Great outdoor photographers such as Corey Rich, John Russelland Galen Rowell were among those featured in catalog images, while writer and ultramarathon runner Craig Halloway written for the Patagonia catalogs for 35 years.
But not only. Some of the photos and stories published in Patagonia catalogs were ones that customers themselves experienced and then shared with the brand, inspiring other consumers to do the same and go on an outdoor adventure. Sometimes 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 said in an interview withThe New Yorker.
To further highlight the impact of Patagonia catalogs on fashion-related marketing, a retrospective titled Unexpected: 30 years of catalog photography in Patagoniaa book bringing together 30 years of images and stories that have made the history of the brand and of fashion-related marketing, was produced in 2010.