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Patagonia Shifts to Fair Trade Certified Swimwear

Patagonia is taking a more sustainable approach to its swim and surf apparel.

This spring, the outdoor clothing retailer is making its entire line of bikinis and board shorts Fair Trade Certified. The Fair Trade Certified label ensures that workers are compensated fairly, as it is part of Patagonia’s mission to foster a more transparent supply chain.

“The factories we rely on aren’t just full of machines; they’re also full of people with families, histories and futures that have been overlooked by the industry for far too long,” Patagonia surf activist Dave Rastovich said. “Fair Trade extends a sense of value, acknowledgment and respect to members of the human family who are often pushed to the margins.”

For every garment made at a Fair Trade Certified factory, Patagonia pays workers a premium that they can use to support their living standards and local communities. Fair Trade Certified factories are also required to follow Fair Trade USA’s environmental responsibility and safe working condition standards.

Partnering with Fair Trade USA enables Patagonia to improve worker’s lives and others that are impacted by the apparel industry. Premiums from Patagonia’s Fair Trade orders have been used to fund vouchers for medicine and support child-care programs. Workers at a Fair Trade Certified factory in California were given the opportunity to vote for a dividend that was equivalent to a week’s pay, which wouldn’t be possible at some other apparel manufacturing facilities.

With the Fair Trade Certification, Patagonia’s swim and surf collection sets the stage for a more circular apparel industry.

The line, which includes 48 different men’s, women’s and children’s styles, incorporates recycled nylon and recycled polyester fabrics, while the women’s bikinis are printed with an eco-friendly laser process.