The adventure of the Patagonia brand is closely linked to the story of Yvon Chouinard, a passionate climber who throughout his childhood never stopped exploring the most mythical cliffs of the United States. It is 1953 and Yvon Chouinard is only 14 years old at the time. Very quickly the material of the time found its limits. The soft steel pitons, which can only be used once, are not at all suitable for use on the giant walls of the Yosemite. Yvon Chouinard then began to manufacture reusable hard steel pitons by hand. Very quickly word of mouth started to take effect and his equipment was a resounding success. He is then forced to upgrade his production tool and gradually switches to more and more sophisticated machines. In 1965, he joined forces with Tom Frost, an aeronautical engineer, to mass produce quality equipment with a refined design. The company Chouinard Equipment was then created. But in 1970, with a rapidly expanding climbing practice, Yvon Chouinard became aware that the intensive use of hard steel pitons quickly damaged the most popular cliffs in the United States.
Continuation of the adventure of the clothing brand Patagonia:
The company then completely changes its production line and relies on aluminium wedges that can be easily inserted and removed without being hammered into the rock. The success is dazzling as the jammers sell faster than what the Chouinard Equipment plant can provide.
The 1970s was also the time of the revolution in outdoor sportswear, which was still mostly made of cotton, a material that was not very breathable and which froze when wet. In 1972, Chouinard Equipment was renamed Patagonia and after a long period of research and development, the brand launched the first synthetic warm undergarment based on polypropylene in 1980 and then some time later a revolutionary soft fleece: Synchilla. In 1985, Patagonia again innovated and replaced its polypropylene fibre with Capilene treated polyester, a material that is more resistant to machine wear and tear and wicks moisture away perfectly.
The early 1980s also marked a major turning point for Patagonia, which launched colourful and flashy clothing on the market far from the green and brown standards of the time. Success was immediate and Patagonia became a fashionable brand with one of the most spectacular growth rates in the United States.
The spirit of Patagonia is then relaxed. The company supporting all outdoor activities of its employees, whether during the working day by promoting running and surfing or for the organisation of ski or climbing outings.
But it was at the end of the 1980s that Patagonia positioned itself in favour of the environment with concrete measures such as the payment of 1% of its turnover to militant environmental associations via the 1% for the Planet movement. At the same time, the American brand is developing recycled polyester for the production of its entire Synchilla fleece range. Since then, Patagonia has continued to innovate to preserve nature and in 1996, organic cotton became the company's standard. Other eco-responsible materials are also emerging, such as hemp, natural down, recycled nylon and recycled wool.
Today, Patagonia remains a brand committed to protecting the environment. Its high-quality technical products, available in various ranges, are suitable for both everyday use and for high altitude expeditions.
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