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Outerwear Brands Tackle Sustainability With Eco-Friendly Parkas

As the fashion industry works to meet consumer demand for sustainable products, companies have rolled out a wealth of recycled, organic and vegan apparel and footwear.

Outerwear has proved no exception to this trend, with recycled and eco puffer coat arrivals jumping a massive 761 percent last fall compared to the prior-year period, according to retail market intelligence platform Edited.

As 2021 begins to roll along, outerwear brands have begun debuting even more sustainable entries, this time within the parka category.

Outerwear and knitwear brand Shackleton unveiled its Antarctic Protector Parka last week, describing it as the “the world’s first expedition-grade parka engineered from 100 percent recycled fabrics.” Recycled and repurposed post-consumer plastic bottles make up the parka’s fully waterproof shell. Meanwhile, Responsible Down Standard-certified 95/5 800-fill goose down provides insulation down to minus 13 degrees. Only 100 units of the parka will be produced.

Shackleton developed the Antarctic Protector Parka as part of a wider partnership with the nongovernmental organization Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE). Its mission, according to head of international projects Rory Moore, is to protect more than 1.5 million square miles of ocean. “Without this protection, this pristine habitat and the thousands of species that rely on it are at grave risk,” he said in a statement. Shackleton plans to donate 100 pounds ($136) to BLUE for every jacket sold.

The brand created its Antarctic Protector Parka specifically for BLUE field operatives working in Antarctica’s coastal zones, areas it said “combine some of the wettest, windiest and coldest conditions anywhere in the world.”

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“These notorious conditions set the standard for which all our apparel is developed to perform,” Martin Brooks, co-founder of Shackleton, said in a statement. “We design and engineer expedition-grade apparel for people living and working in the most extreme environments. For Antarctica’s coast, that means seam-sealed waterproofing of minimum 20,000 H/H and insulation to minus 25 [degrees Celsius, minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit].”

Canada Goose launched a sustainable parka of its own on Jan. 7, the Standard Expedition Parka. Unveiled last year with its sustainability and values-based initiative platform Humanature, the coat is 100 percent responsibly sourced, the brand said.

Canada Goose's sustainable Standard Expedition Parka generates 30 percent less carbon
The Standard Expedition Parka Canada Goose

The new parka replaces Canada Goose’s legacy Arctic Tech for Recycled Organic Artic Tech fabric. The new material, it said, is a blend of recycled polyester and organic cotton. The piece’s waterproof outer shell is made with 100 percent recycled nylon designed to protect from high winds, rain and snow.

The Standard is also the brand’s first parka to feature reclaimed fur on its adjustable hood. In its 2019 sustainability report, Canada Goose committed to ending the purchasing of new fur as of 2022.

The coat is inspired by Canada Goose’s iconic Expedition Parka. Comparatively, however, the Standard Expedition Parka generates 30 percent less carbon and utilizes 65 percent less water. Its greige color, it added, is a result of limited chemical use with the undyed fabrics. Even materials used in the window and in-store displays at brand stores are sustainable and recyclable. Additionally, Canada Goose said it has offset the carbon emissions generated from the life cycle assessment of the parka.

The Standard Expedition Parka, available for men and women for $1,850, is a regular fit and hits at mid-thigh. Classic Canada Goose features remain, including interior backpack straps, nine exterior and interior pockets and side seam zippers.