Monday, March 24, 2014

Outdoor Retailer-Trends Fall 2014-Sustainable/Ethical Sourcing Initiatives

Outdoor Retailer, SLC

Cradle to cradle -documenting garment's lifestyle…from start (seed, petrochemicals) to finish (landfill, repurposed)…is more than just a buncha talking points in the outdoor industry. It is a way of doing business…ensuring continuity---of the outdoors. AFTER ALL.

AND alongside the food/cosmetics/beauty industries, apparel ingredients that are being scrutinized by consumers, worldwide ---apparel is meaningfully becoming part of that awareness and concern of what goes into and on their bodies...

For Instance...

IMO: A lot of wearers -including the guys we hike with-would be/are shocked as to how the keep it warm things they attire themselves with-in this instance down/feather insulation- gets sourced/processed/sold…particularly when it bears environmentally aware company label tags dedicated (and advertised)- to keeping it green. Frankly, we were too.

Cruel free/ethical practices are seriously in the mission mix- in 2014. And it should be…even if the impetus to act is further spurned on by animal rights organizations like Four Paws---who reveal unsavory practices from deceiving suppliers.


We've been covering Canada Goose -an outerwear clothing company founded in a Toronto warehouse over a half a century ago…for several years-and its growth as a coveted piece of attire has been explosive the past seasons.

Completely 100% made in Canada, Canada Goose arctic-worthy, protective separates have always been made with insulating feathers/down from Feather Industries Canada Ltd. -who in turn acquire down-that is as by-products of the waterfowl- poultry meat industry-from approved farms they visit---and who never use live plucking…

PATAGONIA-in more ways that any other outdoor company we can think of-epitomizes the sustainable/green ethos. Their unforgettable $20,000 (at least) full page ad in the NY Times-declaring "Don't Buy This Jacket" (Common Threads Initiative) prior to the annual Black Friday/Cyber Monday madness (November 2011)---and why---citing the environmental toll taken- to conjure up the partially recycled poly textile, R2 jacket- takes- was another real game changer in the entire retail world reality.
image source:ibtimes
So---on that scale- this company's pledge to insure that all its Fall 2014 apparel with down insulation- will be from 100% traceable-ethically sourced vendors, 3rd party verified-adhering to the Patagonia Traceable Down Standard --- sets the bar for all companies-big and small to follow. And started a discussion.

Treated down has gotten a lot of buzz lately---as well as synthetic down blends.

A new label for us-BERGHAUS®---deploys its Hydroloft®-a proprietary treated durable water repellent finished down insulation-"down without the downsides"---that repels moisture, enhances breathability -moisture vapor evaporation, dries 50% faster than 'regular' down- and retains insulating warmth in wet conditions…in many different weighted outerwear items. In fab colors too.

Berghaus-Hydroloft® when wet-still lofty

regular down-when wet

Berghaus specifically states on its website that its down is NOT sourced from live plucked or force fed birds.  This down---is also certified using third party International Down and Feather Laboratory Europe (IDFL)… an EDFA - certified laboratory and a member of the EDFA Technical Committee. 
---Pertex® Quantum-down area -Petex® Microlight-Hydroloft® areas-in targeted zones-stretch and insulation, Hydrodown™ 90/10 goose down panels for most warmth, 850 fill, Hydroloft™ Elite Pro-moisture wicking warmth. YKK zips-center 2 way+on internal& handwarmer packets

Twilight Blue/Dusk

Ulevetanna Hybrid Down Jacket-women's version-Evening Blue
stuff sack, drawcord hem, stretch binding at cuffs
Ramche Hyper Down-super lightweight-Royal Blue-Hydrodown™90/10goose down 850 fill, Pertex® Quantum GL-3 warmth zones-featherweight-packable

ILAM Down Jacket-middle weight-Big Orange

Ramche Down Jacket-intense blue-women's version too. Pertex® Quantum-highly wind resistant/repellent-Hydrodown™ 90/10 goose down -850 fill -3 zone baffle warmth where needed more (or less). Serious insulation-packable

PRIMALOFT® rebranded it's company and performance offerings---and a big winner at the latest OR-was it's blend of high loft, weather tested down (70%)  blended with its compressible, ultra-fine Primaloft® fibers=Primaloft® Gold Dow Blend -reportedly retaining 94% warmth when wet(!!!) fluoro- carbon free, bluesign® cert. treated. 
For Fall 2014-find this insulation in a slew of labels-including Sherpa, Adidas (Terrex Swift-a latter post), Helly Hansen...and pictured below-Black Diamond (women's here---guy selections too).

Women's Hot Forge Hoody-Black Diamond-equivalent 750 fill Primaloft® Gold

Similar to Berghaus' down supply-Primaloft® vows to source from socially responsible sources…as certified by the IDFL. We were told DownLite is a provider-and that company in turn is a member of the American Down and Feather Council-which states on its website that members are required to source only from vendors who gather down/feathers in accordance with animal welfare laws and... "Members also require their suppliers to certify that they have not used or condoned any illegal harvesting practices for down and feathers."

Allied Feather & Down is the largest supplier of down to the outdoor recreation market. It has made visible efforts lately---as stated in it's pledge ---to have third party verifying-Control Union Certifications - ensure its products are obtained via traceable and ethical standards (no live plucking or force feeding of geese from gosling to finished product)…a development that is super important --- not relying on suppliers assurances.

Another sign-up..with the recent initiative-intiated by The North Face-is now owned by the global non-profit Textile ExchangeResponsible Down Standard-that "will allow outdoor industry brands to audit and ensure the ethical treatment of all animals in its down supply chain and validate all claims through an established chain of custody process." 

The added checks are a good thing for the industry as a whole-as Allied dominates---and the additionally obtained sustainable  bluesign® certification…are IMO-must have- from labels in outdoor apparel. We wish in the fashion industry too…where going green-is more often than not - a secondary afterthought…and cruel free is not even a consideration for so many companies-including influential labels. 

On The Other Hand-skip the down altogether-there are some super toasty synthetics on the market-like Polartec®'s SF-tested Alpha® and Patagonia's Nano-Air™Jackets…

This past freezing cold winter-we wore a Merrel synthetic filled long coat we got three years ago ---no longer sold :( so much we actually trashed it---weekly washes required with a white coat in an urban environment…however not compromising the super toasty warmth factor one bit. We have no body heat-so that's saying something---we def. had choices in our closet.