Patagonia and eBay partner on latest Common Threads Initiative movement.

Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative is part of a growing mantra not only from this eco-friendly company to Reduce, Repair, and Recycle, but a long-term concept that more and more young people are also encapsulating by buying vintage/thrift instead of new. As we pointed out in our Summer and Fall Youth Culture Studies, which include sections on fashion buying patterns, the growth of vintage/thrift is part of shifting spending patterns, values, and economic circumstances that are forcing significant changes in the way companies (not just apparel) do business (for more information about this, contact us about our Studies and consulting).

Unlike most brands that need to tackle growth and answer to investors’ expectations of growth, Patagonia’s tradition of don’t buy what you don’t need flies in the face of corporate financial structures. But there’s a bigger picture.
The Common Threads Initiative, which is collecting people to “pledge” to this type of lifestyle, is gaining momentum and has reached 5,000 people out of a goal of getting 50,000 (and of course more in the future). Similar to a Kickstarter program of sorts, instead of raising money for a project, it’s raising awareness about changing buying habits, thinking long-term about our planet, and instilling a sense of responsibility.

Patagonia down bomber jacket for $10.99.

Growth of secondary market trends is on the rise, especially when you consider that an entire generation of teens has now gone through the past 4 years in a climate of economic hardship. In addition, as our research shows, they are the most environmentally aware youth demographic ever in the history of the world. They grew up with recycling and name things like “get off fossil fuels and dependence on oil” within their top 3 things the United States should change about the environment (see our Eco and Humanitarian “Green” Report).

According to Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s VP of Environmental Initiatives, humans use 7 times the natural resources the planet can replace. “Repair what’s broken, resell what you’re not using.” Their platforms reside on a partnership with eBay, and Basically, people can send can send in their used Patagonia goods, which can then be posted for re-sale at significantly discounted prices on a dedicated eBay storefront.

We checked it out. The inventory is pretty vast, and cheap. A couple of highlights include a Patagonia Nanuq black down bomber jacket in a men’s medium for only $10.99. There’s also a Patagonia Refugio 28L backpack/computer bag for $5.50.

Overall, it’s a well-planned program that’s just one example of where things are headed.

Bamboo car by Kenneth Cobonpue.

Bamboo Cars
While the concept of bamboo bikes has been around and growing successfully in various niche locations, bamboo cars haven’t fared as well, for many reasons. However a new car by designer Kenneth Cobonpue and German product designer Albercht Birkner is turning heads. Not only is it sleek and functional, it biomimics the shape of a leaf on each side and lasts for 5 years, which is the average lifespan of a car today before most people replace them.

As Cobonpue says, “This project attempts to unveil the future of green vehicles using woven skins from organic fibers mated to composite materials and powered by green technology.”

Made of bamboo, rattan, and steel and created in about 10 days, it brings to the forefront the concept that cars could actually be made locally. And harvested locally -wherever bamboo is grown. The idea of taking out the “industrial means of production” as TreeHugger reports is part of a growing movement of manufacturing locally and changing the “Ford model” of massive manufacturing.