Luxury brands are often thought of as brands that are more exclusive, have high-quality products, and usually have a higher price tag.
Although the term luxury is often used for categories like cars and watches, some outdoor brands have been called luxury before, but what about Patagonia?
Unfortunately, there are several other defining characteristics of luxury brands that Patagonia does not embody including rarity and exclusiveness.
Let’s take a deeper look into the differences between luxury brands and why Patagonia doesn’t quite fit the bill.
Patagonia as a Luxury Brand
Patagonia is considered a top-tier outdoor and athletic clothing brand however, it does not meet the criteria to be considered a luxury brand. Luxury brands are classified as very expensive and non-essential.
Patagonia is expensive but not at the level of luxury brands and Patagonia clothes are essential in that they are practical and thus, not luxurious.
Why Isn’t Patagonia Considered a Luxury Brand?
Some examples of luxury brands are Chanel, Porsche, and Tiffany. Patagonia does not fit into this category primarily because of its practicality. Buyers do not regularly purchase Chanel jackets because they are designed to keep them warm while doing a specific activity.
While any mountain climber or outdoorsy adventurer knows that Patagonia is the holy grail for high-quality, practical clothing. Patagonia products are designed to serve a specific purpose that many people need.
That’s not to say there aren’t other, less expensive brands that will keep a climber warm; however, Patagonia is one of the best.
Why Does Patagonia Cost More Than Other Brands?
Some may think Patagonia is a luxury brand because of the price tags on its clothing. Their jackets are known to cost a bit more so people often wonder if they’re actually worth it.
The price of the products does make Patagonia somewhat exclusive. However, the price is not comparable to luxury brand prices.
For instance, using our Chanel comparison, a Chanel jacket will cost over a couple of thousand dollars while a Patagonia jacket will cost around $300. Though $300 is by no standard, cheap, it is a fraction of the cost of jackets by luxury brands.
How High-Quality Are Patagonia Products?
One reason Patagonia is expensive is because of the company’s commitments to using sustainable materials and providing high-quality, durable clothing. What separates a jacket sold at Target from one by Patagonia is largely the quality of materials.
Patagonia strives to use more natural products than synthetic. For instance, a Murano wool sweater will outlive a Polyester sweater by decades. It will also feel far more comfortable and keep you much warmer. However, these materials come at a cost.
Are Patagonia Products Rare?
Another key criterion for luxury brands is that the products are somewhat rare which impacts the cost and makes them exclusive.
Many luxury brands such as Burberry even go so far as to burn the stock of unsold items at the end of the season as a way of limiting their circulation in the second-hand market or needing to drop their price to sell them. This concept is completely contradictory to Patagonia’s ethos of sustainability.
There are only 70 Patagonia stores in the world which is not very many when compared to other brands and Patagonia runs limited designs each season.
If you go into any Patagonia store, you will not see endless racks of various styles and sizes. Patagonia limits the excess and produces just what it thinks it will sell.
This, however, is not necessarily done to be exclusive but rather to avoid unnecessary waste.
The second-hand market for Patagonia is also huge as the products last for so long. This is not characteristic of luxury brands.
Who Wears Patagonia Gear?
Since Patagonia is one of the most popular outdoor brands in North America, you’ll find a huge mix of people that shop at Patagonia and enjoy wearing its products.
I’ve talked to a lot of hikers that continue to buy from Patagonia because of how comfortable and durable the gear is. Others appreciate and support the company because of its environmental policies and support of the outdoor community.
Unlike some other brands, Patagonia doesn’t seem to be that trendy, meaning people will wear it just because of the name. A lot of customers have been buying their products for years so it wouldn’t matter where they stand in terms of popularity.
Yes, Patagonia is an expensive brand and is definitely considered top tier. However, Patagonia is not considered a luxury brand. The price of Patagonia products, the fact that they aren’t rare by design nor are they unnecessary are the primary reasons they do not fall into the Luxury brand category. Though not luxury, they are, however, a great brand.