From the Alps to Everest, Millet Mountain Group has been helping climbers reach their peak performance since 1950.
Synonymous with mountain sports like hiking and skiing, Millet began with a humble canvas bag. Today, it offers a full range of high-quality outerwear and footwear that acclaimed mountaineers reach for time and again. So, when it came time to design new products for climbing enthusiasts, Millet turned to Polartec.
“Polartec has an important R&D department and they offer new technologies with interesting appearance. They do a lot with breathability and sustainability, and clearly it is the best way to improve comfort during active sports,” said Alex Bres, product manager and designer for Millet, adding the brand’s new Power Fill insulation was of particular interest to his team. “We decided to go with Power Fill because warmth is the DNA of Polartec. They are the authority in this area.”
Polartec’s new Power Fill insulation is constructed from a soft, pliable matrix of hollow fibers made of an industry-leading 80 percent post-consumer recycled polyester fibers. A unique melt process binds the fibers, allowing the finished product to be more durable and lighter weight than insulations that require a stabilizer to hold up during construction.
“We’ve engineered Power Fill to eliminate the need for a scrim, and we ended up with insulation fill that is on a roll that can be spread, cut and transferred into garments. This helps reduce waste and lower costs for our customers,” said Karen Whittier, product manager for insulation at Polartec.
To satisfy a range of needs, Power Fill is offered in six different weights from 60 grams to 200 grams. Depending on the garment—or even the placement within a single garment—designers are able to mix and match weights to create the ideal combination of movement and warmth.
The decision to choose Power Fill helped Millet land a coveted ISPO award this year in the mid-layer outdoor category for its Elevation Airloft Hoodie. The lightweight jacket combines a matte, stretch polyamide fabric on the upper section for movement with a shiny and strong polyamide quilted fabric on the lower section to boost breathability. Inside, Millet used an 80-gram Power Fill insulation. Together, these components provide everything a climber would need when facing the elements.
While Power Fill is a high performance, premium product, Whittier said Polartec is focusing on keeping pricing competitive. “Fill insulation is a competitive category. Being able to offer Polartec quality and sustainability leadership at the right price is an exciting option for our partners.”
And consumers are willing to pay for quality, according to Bres.
“Consumers are able to pay a higher price if the quality is there,” he said. “For a brand like Millet, the consumer looks at the best performance in terms of lightness and resistance, durability and design.”
Bres said consumers have come to understand that quality is in the DNA of the Millet brand. Similarly, he said, Polartec resonates at retail. “For the consumer, Polartec is very well recognized for their thermal and base layer fabrics.”
In addition to performance, increasingly shoppers are seeking out products that are good for the planet, Bres said. And it’s an ethos the company takes seriously.
“The green story is very important for Millet,” he said. “More and more consumers want to buy recycled, bio and green products, made not far from where they live. It is really important for us that Polartec has, like Millet, this responsible strategy.”
Millet walks the walk with a 10-point sustainability initiative that governs how it sources materials, uses chemicals and produces goods. It’s all in recognition that for some, spending time outdoors is an invaluable experience.
“Nature is the last luxury in our world,” Bres said.