ALLIED Feather & Down, global leaders in the responsible sourcing and sustainable processing of down insulation, introduces a new high-performance, environmentally-friendly home laundry solution for down products. Launching to the U.S. and European markets at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Denver and ISPO in Munich, ALLIED’s Down Wash will be available to retailers and direct to consumers via its website as well as through partner brand websites.
ALLIED Feather & Down will be the first non-chemical company in the outdoor industry to launch a home laundry solution for down. ALLIED is taking the same eco-conscious chemical management and robust sourcing practices that they use every day to wash millions of pounds of down, and using it to formulate a unique laundry detergent for home use.
“With our knowledge of down backed by 30 years perfecting an environmentally responsible, industry leading washing and processing method, we thought we could do the same for finished goods and for the down consumer,” said Daniel Uretsky, President of ALLIED Feather & Down. “Down is both incredibly complex and can also be mishandled quite easily by using the wrong detergents. We knew that with our knowledge of the material and our relationships with our bluesign partners, we could bring something to the market that performed better for down products than currently existed.”
For the first time ever, ALLIED Feather & Down is taking its palm-oil free detergent that is tried and tested on tons of down every day in multiple facilities around the world, and bottling a special version formulated for use in consumer- and commercial-grade washing machines. The quest to bring this important product to consumers is what led ALLIED to seek and achieve Palm Oil Free Certification from the POFCAP – the first International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark and Certification Program in the world. This also makes ALLIED only the fourth U.S. company to achieve this level of certification and sustainability.
Current research has shown a great deal of misunderstanding around down insulation, cold-weather insulation in general, and especially, how to care for the down product so essential to the outdoor, fashion and bedding industries.
A recent survey revealed that while 70% of respondents own at least one down product, more than half of them thought the items should not be washed. A third of respondents said they don’t wash their down products because they don’t know how; and another 20 percent believed they don’t have the proper machine or products to do so.
Surprisingly enough “down care” ranked twice as high as “animal welfare” among the reasons people may choose not purchase a down insulated product. Lastly, 62 percent of respondents said they would consider adding a down-specific detergent at time of purchase if it were readily available. These are just a few of the statistics that determined the viability for ALLIED Down Wash.
Down Wash will launch in specialty retail outlets globally and online in 400ml bottles, initially priced at $9.99USD.
“As we do with all our sourcing, in looking deep into the supply chain, we realized there was an overwhelming reliance on palm oil derivatives for almost all laundry detergents. We had to go back to our chemical partners and reformulate everything with an alternative to the palm oil,” said Uretsky. “It was not as easy as it would seem, but finally we found a solution that has now carried over into the detergents we use in all our production facilities globally.”
Having worked with processing the highest quality down for more than 30 years, Allied realized there was a need for better care, education and products. The family knew it could provide a solution that was superior for the down and still work well for the textiles composing the shell of the jacket or sleeping bag. They found that some products work great on the textiles, and not as well on the down. The final result is a product that will help maintain the fill power of the down and still work well to launder the textiles, all without harsh or harmful chemicals or derivatives.
ALLIED wanted to make sure it could use alternate materials as part of its overall environmental stewardship platform. In conjunction with strict water recycling processes, Down Wash was developed to ensure it was environmentally friendly and free of any palm oil derivatives, with bluesign approved components. Most laundry detergents use palm oil as a necessary surfactant under one of their thousands of derivative’s names, and many are incredibly harsh and will destroy the down that ALLIED worked so hard to process to last a lifetime.
Importantly, Down Wash comes as part of a larger ALLIED Feather & Down educational campaign. This consumer-focused outreach will include tours of partner brands’ stores and key specialty retailers. Even more care information is provided on each lot page on the newly relaunched TrackMyDown.com — the leading source for down education and traceability in the world, adding a consumer facing tool alongside the now widely accepted Responsible Down Standard that ALLIED unveiled with The North Face in 2014. ALLIED is also providing brands and consumers with the most up-to-date methodology for cleaning down products and aftercare.
A down cluster is composed of the same type of proteins as human hair. When we wash our hair, we don’t want to use harsh soaps that will strip it, but we want to make sure it is clean. Cleaning down is the exact same principle.
Cleaning down is a very precise and gentle cleaning process. When processing the raw material in ALLIED factories (the most modern and advanced in the world), it needs to be cleaned thoroughly, but still allow a very precise amount of fat and oils to remain.
“We know that down products have a longer life than their synthetic counterparts. It may seem counterintuitive to a company who wants to continually sell more down, but it is also part of our global sustainability initiative, that if we can help keep your down products performing better, longer, we help to remove a lot of potential waste. While textile waste accounts for an appalling volume in our global landfills, we feel it is our duty,” says Uretsky. “In the end, if we help more people consider an all-natural, biodegradable, non-petroleum based insulation, and can help extend those products’ life cycles, we are not only helping ALLIED brand partners be more successful, but helping the planet as well.”