Industry is ready for next step towards sustainability
The images of how cruelly down feathers can be collected, shared among others by PETA activists through social media, did not fail to shock. Animal cruelty involved in plucking feathers from live animals caused a change in thinking among many consumers, and also among many brands involved. Since then, efforts have been taken to set up new standards and controls. Italian thermal insulation experts at Thermore, who have specialised in thermal insulation, have gone one step further and eliminated the animal from the equation altogether, while at the same time taking on plastic waste. They have created a new 100 per cent recycled synthetic down product: Ecodown. Barbara Russ spoke to Thermore about the development of their innovation that uses postconsumer PET-plastic bottles as the sole resource for their product.
What was the biggest challenge in creating Ecodown?
At Thermore, we believe that durability, warmth and softness are key features that cannot be compromised with: insulated jackets must be warm and comfortable, and they are worn intensively and washed several times during their lifetime. Therefore, the first priority for us was being able to guarantee the same level of performance that all our products provide. This was especially challenging with recycled fibres from PET bottles, because of the different nature of the original chip used.
What is the biggest difference between Ecodown and other synthetic down products?
To choose Thermore Ecodown is first of all a choice of conscience: sustainability is at its core. Though, like all other products of the company, it also has a full technological content, the highest quality and the guarantee of the best possible insulation. Besides, it does not require special quilting restrictions or fabrics-and can be washed and/or dry cleaned with confidence. This high level of durability results in exceptional, long-term warmth over the life of a garment.
How does Ecodown perform compared to natural down?
Down is a great insulator. However, it has several limitations: down-proof fabrics must be used, quilting is necessary and a specific garment design is required. Thermore Ecodown provides a much higher comfort level, as it can be used with any fabric and no special quiltings or constructions are required.
What is the price point compared to natural down?
Although a jacket insulated with Ecodown is most likely cheaper than a down jacket, we don't market the product as a cheap alternative to down, but rather as a sustainable, durable alternative. Why would you bother animals when you can have a better overall performance with a sustainable product?
How is the market reacting to it so far?
Ecodown is receiving an overwhelming acceptance in the industry, setting the new standard for sustainable down alternatives. Active sportswear and fashion brands are actively testing and sampling the product. The reception is even better than our highest expectations. This makes us realise that the industry in general is now ready for a further step towards sustainability.
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