In the cold and chilly months, everyone loves to stay warm with a nice down jacket. The truth is, many of us love how they feel, the insulation they provide, and the many different styles they come in. However, do you really know how down jackets are made?
If you may be wondering what a down jacket is and how it’s made, in this article, we’d discuss the process for you to learn how they make it to your closet and what they really are. Through such, we hope that you'll appreciate your down jacket more.
What Is a Down Jacket?
Down jackets are soft, insulated jackets that are made to keep the warmth inside the jacket. These insulating properties are often the result of using either duck or geese feathers. As such, the down jacket is not only extremely comfortable and warm but also fluffy and thick. The features result in multiple air pockets that allow warm air to be trapped within the jacket, resulting in a warm and fluffy interior.
Some down jackets include synthetic material, but we’ll get into that later as we need to understand some basic ideas for us to understand how down jackets are made.
1. Down Fill Power
The term “down fill power” refers to the ability of the material to be compressed down by weight. It’s then measured by the ability of the material to bounce back and fill back up; hence the term down jacket.
The fill power ranges from medium, good, very good, to excellent. You’ll find that the most popular down jackets usually use a mixture of 80% down and 20% feathers. The issue is, most people believe that a down jacket is made merely from feathers. However, that’s an untrue statement. Instead, the secret to this jacket being so fluffy is the use of what is called goose plumage.
Plumage is a type of feather, but not the ones you see on the goose or duck. Instead, it’s found underneath the feathers. It's an undercoating to the birds that creates insulation and protects them from water and cold, and this layer is often what keeps them alive and retains their body temperature in the cold. Plumage is soft, fluffy, and doesn’t have the large quilts that are found in other feathers.
Why Use Plumage?
Plumage is waterproof, insulating, and breathable—all qualities that you’d look for in a jacket. The ability to repel water makes it ideal for the fall and winter months since the snow will trickle down and melt on the jacket due to your body heat. The down feathers will then repel the water, keeping you dry no matter what the outside environment throws.
The insulating properties keep our body heat near our body and don’t allow the heat to escape. Lastly, it’s very breathable. Unlike other forms of material, plumage can retain heat while also allowing our body to get rid of unwanted moisture.
How Are Down Jackets Made?
Generally, the process of how down jackets are made is very similar to other jackets on the market, and the only difference is the included feathers, which we discussed above.
The process is that, first, companies will take a waterproof material or fabric and use it as the outside layer of the jacket. Then, they will pack in a suitable ratio of both down feathers and normal feathers, giving the jacket that wonderful fluffy feeling.
After which, they will sew it all up and add on any accessories such as zippers, buttons, and pockets. Lastly, they focus on the design of the jacket and will put finishing touches onto it.
Are There Cruelty-Free Down Jackets?
If you’re worried about cruelty on animals, especially since feathers are used, then you’ll be happy to know that there are also versions that are made from synthetic materials. While they don’t offer the same insulation or qualities that natural down jackets provide, they still provide you with enough warmth to keep you warm in cold weather.
A cruelty-free down jacket is made with synthetic polyester fibers that are arranged in varying sizes that allow the jacket to retain the quality that down feathers give. This mimics the down clusters but provides you with even more bounce and softness. It’s also extremely water repellent, which means you won’t have to worry about your jacket getting wet.
Down jackets are incredibly comfortable and insulating—the perfect complement to a cold day. While down jackets are pricey, they still are the best type of coat to keep you warm in the fall and winter seasons. They provide you with constant heat, warmth, and a soft interior.
While some may be bothered by the process, synthetic down jackets are just as effective as real down jackets; thus, being a cruelty-free option. No matter which one you choose, they’re both effective forms of outerwear.