The US clothing brand Pangaia has launched a puffer coat, the filling of which is made of flowers, to offer a cruel alternative to duck or goose down.
The filling, called Flower below, has been developed in over 10 years of research and development and combines wildflowers with an airgel and a biopolymer to create a durable thermal insulation material.
This is contained in a quilted sleeve made from recycled polyester, which is reproduced in classic black, white or navy.
“We use a type of wildflower that is easy to find and has a special fiber quality,” said Dr. Amanda Parkes, Pangaia’s chief innovation officer.
“The flowers that we use are grown but not exactly grown because the process also involves restoring and maintaining the ecosystem,” she continued.
“These regenerative farming practices help conserve groundwater because no external irrigation is required. By restoring the habitat, they also help maintain a local species of butterfly.”
After crushing, the flowers are combined with the biopolymer made from vegetable waste and with a patented airgel system – a kind of porous, solid foam.
“This makes the down jacket’s microstructure water-repellent and increases thermal insulation. The airgel used is non-toxic and ultra-light,” Parkes told Dezeen.
It is crucial that the version of Pangaia, in contrast to fossil-based substitutes such as polyester and rayon, which the manufacturers usually use for vegan winter jackets, is also biodegradable.
“All three elements in its composition will degrade without the need for a specific post-treatment process or pretreatment,” Parkes said. “Specific enzymes or bacteria can be added to speed up the process, but this is not necessary.”
Pangaia is a materials research company for direct consumer contact that was previously established a collection of basics These include T-shirts, sweatpants and hoodies made from algae fibers and vegetable dyes from food waste.
Spiber designs the first commercially available jacket made of emulated spider silk for The North Face
“The future of creating a sustainable industry requires the use of existing natural materials such as agricultural waste that are complemented by scientific and technological processes,” said Parkes.
“We want to turn a completely new material library into commercial reality.”
Elsewhere, manufacturers have focused on making the outer shell of the outerwear biodegradable rather than filling it, as with the synthetic spider silk jacket that Spiber designed for The North Face Japan.
London-based start-up Vollebak has now developed a jacket that uses graphene to store and dissipate the wearer’s body heat.
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