CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: YVON CHOUINARD; FENCE ALONG THE FALL RIVER; INSIDE CHOUINARD’S FLY BOX; CHOUINARD AND YOUNG FRIEND FISHING; VIEW OF THE TETONS FROM GOAT MOUNTAIN RANCH, ASHTON, IDAHO
A few weeks ago, I was invited by Patagonia on a trip to Idaho for a couple of days to learn how to flyfish. I jumped at the opportunity, having wanted to try the sport ever since seeing Brad Pitt in “A River Runs Through It”, and guessing a major swag bag was in store. I was told the founder of the company, Yvon Chouinard, who was writing a book called “Simple Fly Fishing”, would be there and that we would be learning a new technique of flyfishing called Tenkara. What I didn’t know was that “YC”, as he is called, would be hanging out with us the entire time and be our teacher.
Yvon Chouinard is a legend in the outdoor industry and sport world, and a noted environmentalist. His accomplishments as a rock climber, surfer, kayaker, falconer and fly fisherman are impressive, and his contributions to those sports are recognized worldwide. Patagonia is considered one of, if not the, most successful outdoor brands. Their integration and promotion of environmentalism as essential component of good business practice is a founding tenet of the company and of particular focus at present. A recent Patagonia ad in the New York Times read “It’s Fashion Week, when the design world turns its attention to what’s new. We’d like to point out something better: what lasts. While we’re proud of the quality and performance of Patagonia clothes, every new thing we make – everything anyone makes – costs nature more than we now know how to repay.” This ad launched their “Worn Wear” blog, featuring vintage Patagonia clothes, their owners and adventures, in addition to used-clothing sections in several of their stores. The campaign is part of their Common Threads Partnership to reduce consumption and encourage repair and recycling. Ironcially, the more Patagonia tells people not to buy new products, the more people buy. Read More