With the continued rise of veganism, more and more brands are starting to move away from using goose or duck down in their insulated jackets and are instead turning to alternatives.
Synthetics have been the main alternative for the last two decades, however, with the many problems associated with plastic production, environmentally conscientious outdoor enthusiasts are now becoming increasingly reluctant to turn to this form of insulation. Granted, the likes of PrimaLoft and Polartec might offer fills made from recycled materials, but this still hasn’t quite solved their dilemma.
Now, U.S. fashion brand Pangaia think they might have come up with a solution.
They’ve released a new unique form of insulation called FLWRDWN, the result of 10 years of extensive scientific research. This fully biodegradable material uses natural wildflowers, a biopolymer and an aerogel for durability and supposedly looks and feels like normal down. In an interview with U.S. fashion magazine Vogue, Pangaia’s CEO says that the fibres have the “same thermal properties as down, and the same natural fluffiness”.
All of the flowers used, they say, are sourced from areas which contribute to habitat restoration as part of a regenerative agriculture process that brings about the reduction of greenhouse gas production (12 tons of CO2 per hectare of plant material apparently).
FLWRDWN is one of a number of innovative technologies from Pangaia. Their t-shirts, for instance, are made using a natural fibre derived from seaweed and come treated with a peppermint oil which supposedly has an antibacterial effect to keep the garment fresher for longer.
Whether this new insulation really can match the performance of down remains to be seen. It’s easy to be sceptical when even after decades of research, synthetics still have never quite been able to offer a like-for-like match. We’re currently waiting on a sample from Pangaia to test out and will keep you posted.