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Fashion Mogul Owner Of North Face Donated His Fortune To Save Patagonia

Por: Gaby FL19 de octubre de 2021

Businessman Douglas Tompkins recognized that fashion offers more than what is needed, he decided to undertake a vital task to save Patagonia.

It is to some extent understandable that, once an exorbitant fortune is made, there is no more desire for material things. This is exactly what happened to Douglas Tompkins, the owner of North Face, who recognized the excess of the fashion industry and decided to use his wealth for a vital task: save Patagonia.

Some say that it is at the end of life when we find the true meaning of it. We stop worrying about trivial things and begin to appreciate what is important. Something like this happened with Tompkins, a tycoon who died at the age of 72. During his last years as a businessman, he rediscovered the true meaning of life.

Tompkins' life was different from many famous heirs. Born in Ohio and accustomed to going out to explore nature, this entrepreneur found an opportunity to develop a successful business that offered the ideal garments to go out to the mountains or to travel through the snow.

At just 23 years old, young Douglas Tompkins decided to start his winter clothing business. A variety of sleeping bags, backpacks, and camping gear were some of Tompkins' first items.

Then, in 1966, North Face was officially launched; the clothing company that provided every adventurous explorer with the right supplies to explore nature. However, Doug's true purpose was not to create an immense fortune, but rather to bring people closer to those extreme landscapes.

North Face, a millionaire hobby that ended up saving Patagonia

As time went by, Tompkins ended up losing interest in selling clothes. It had been known for years that his true passions were nature, becoming an activist, and enjoying the wonders of this vast planet.

This is how, through his different experiences as an explorer, he got to know Patagonia. This distant enchanting place that hides huge glaciers and jagged mountains would become Tompkins' true passion. He decided it was there where he wanted to spend the rest of his days.

His love for Patagonia also inspired Deep Ecology, a foundation devoted to the conservation of natural resources. Soon after came the Conservation Land Trust, an NGO that protects Patagonian wilderness, and a series of nature projects funded by North Face profits.

Among the hundreds of ecological efforts made by North Face's owner is the purchase of 2,000 hectares (4942 acres approximately) in South America, which remain safe from environmental impact.

Little by little, the North Face empire was transformed into natural investments. Millions of dollars were donated to lands, seas, and vegetation. Somehow, Tompkins knew the damage that fashion companies caused to the planet and was convinced that he wanted to ‘heal his part.’

“We must all be environmentalists, we all live on a planet that is in danger. Entrepreneurs will also be affected by climate change. It is not smart to win a euro when we are falling into the abyss."

Today, Tompkins is no longer here to keep up with his conservation efforts. Still, North Face continues contributing to saving Patagonia. The legacy of this activist businessman resonated around the world, and his actions continue to inspire.

Text courtesy of Ecoosfera
Photos by Jeff Johnson
Translated by Gaby Flores

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