James Savage and on the left, some of his favourite Synchilla fleeces.
When a garment is purchased second hand it is almost impossible not to think about all the lives it has lived before. In the case of gear - the adventures it has been on. How many continents has this Better Sweater Fleece seen? How many cold nights has this Fitzroy Down Jacket endured? How many peaks did this pair of Strider Pro shorts tag before they were finally retired?
When garments are made to last and really put to the test, the stories that come from them have no bounds, the only limitation is our imagination. Enter James Savage, vintage Patagonia fanatic.
James brought a few carefully selected items from his vintage Patagonia stash into the store for us all to have a look at. A beautiful, curated collection of old Capilene, rare bright fleece colour ways and a vest apparently well sought after on the Japanese vintage Patagonia scene.
James bought his first Patagonia piece from their store in Manly, Australia. A blue and turquoise, retro inspired, Synchilla snap-t Fleece. Hooked on the brand, but unable to get it in South Africa at the time, he started looking to the second hand market and eventually it became a hobby. The sourcing spots vary, from specialised vintage outdoor instagram pages to DePop in the UK, second hand clothing pickers in Joburg and of course, good ol’ Gumtree.
The sought after vest in question.
Vintage Patagonia Capilene, made in France.
James’s list of “look out for’s” are particularly intriguing. This wish list includes some iconic old school Patagonia pieces like the sport-specific wading jacket with chest pockets, an original fishing vest, the classic rugby jersey, Stand-Up Shorts and a Retro-X jacket in tequila gold. (The colour names are always great)
Learning what to look out for on the collector’s market, James naturally educated himself on Patagonia’s business practices and Yvon Chouinard’s philosophies. Much of this has inspired the way James and his partner, Cristina, run their business, where they manufacture and sell beautiful wetsuits and swimwear made from regenerated and eco-friendly materials. They’ve put effort into sourcing a sustainable supply chain, ensuring that their product is made to last and have introduced a repair program to help people better care for their purchases.
A very special vibrant fleece, complete with an old school logo zipper.
Every Patagonia item has a insert where you can find out when and where it was made.
When asking James if he ever imagines the people who wore the clothes he’s collected and what they were doing in them, his answers ranged from icy mountain excursions with friends, to people working hard in their gear and using it for purpose. This can often be seen in the way the materials wear and age, like how fleeces tend to thin the fabric at the elbows.
That’s what makes these items special.
The potential of what can be done in them, the stories we will wear.
And then perhaps even someone after us.
And after them.
In the same way it’s nice to imagine the adventures a piece of clothing has lived and those you will have in your new clothing item. The possibilities, the unknown, the people you will meet in it. That’s what makes these items special. The potential of what can be done in them, the stories we will wear. And then perhaps even someone after us. And after them.
Assorted Original Synchilla from James's collection, including pants!
Do you have a story about your favourite piece of gear?
Please send it to us - we’d love to hear it.
This story is inspired by Patagonia’s Worn Wear program.
The best thing we can do for the planet is cutting down our consumption by keeping the gear we already own, in play for longer, by trading it in as worn wear or fixing what can be fixed.
If you don’t know how to fix it yourself, bring any Patagonia item (or other brand we stock) into the Gone. store and we’ll fix it for you.
Check out our Trade In & Repairs page to see how it works.
Support James and Cristina's local small business Atlas Label
Some of James's wish list items
Patagonia Fall 2001 Retro-X Jacket in Tequila Gold.
Patagonia 1979 Stand Up Shorts that feature Chouinard Equipment buttons.
Patagonia 1970's Vintage rugby shirt.
Patagonia 1980’s Vintage Kayak/ Rafting Jacket.
Future Patagonia Collector's Items
Mens Synchilla Snap-T P/O
Womens Skyforest Parka
Mens Classic Retro-X Jacket
Womens Recycled Wool Crewneck Sweater