PrimaLoft Black Insulation ThermoPlume, a synthetic insulation fiber, provides outerwear with the same aesthetic and warming capabilities of 550 fill power down—but without the negative environmental footprint.
The global high-performance insulation company introduced Black ThermoPlume at the 2017 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market expo. The blowable synthetic insulation, which is used by several industry leaders, including U.K.-based outerwear brand Montane and provides better compression, water repellency and functionality than the conventional down that’s on the market.
The Black ThermoPlume technology is pioneering a new movement in insulation that enables consumers to enjoy outdoor activities—including hiking and winter sports—without sacrificing breathability, durability, comfort and eco-conscious values.
Black ThermoPlume vs. down
Down made with goose feathers is primarily used by outdoor retailers for a few reasons, including its ability to keep wearers comfortable, facilitate water protection and retain body heat.
Black ThermoPlume can provide the same look, feel and functional capabilities of down through a unique production process. It’s manufactured with small tufts of fiber that together form a loose fill insulation and replicate natural goose down. Black ThermoPlume’s unique sail shape enables it to be blown using conventional down-blowing equipment, making it easy, and cost effective, for brands already producing down to incorporate the new material.
Montane is using Black ThermoPlume in two of its Autumn/Winter coats this season—Icarus and the Phoenix, which each retail at $190. Features of the jacket, which mimics its down counterparts, include water resistance, packability, a lightweight composition, superior softness and the same warmth as 550 fill down. The jacket’s outer layer is Pertex Quantum Eco—a water repellent and windproof outer, while its inner fabric is PEAQ Synthetic ECO lining that is breathable and highly comfortable for human skin.
David Newey, director of global marketing at PrimaLoft, said fashion brands are working to combine style and functionality with their products—and turning away from down to explore other insulation options—including Black ThermoPlume.
“Fashion is a big part of our business as well,” Newey said. “You are seeing that convergence of fashion and function.” He added, “A huge differentiator between down and PrimaLoft is the durability and care.”
[Read more on synthetic fibers: Lessons Learned From Silkworms Could Improve Future Synthetic Material Production]
Black ThermoPlume vs. sustainability
Sustainability is another plus Black ThermoPlume provides.
The apparel industry has made a shift in how down is sourced, recognizing that sourcing the material could come at the expense of inhumane and unsustainable practices. That’s why many companies are continuing to turn to more sustainable options and synthetic alternatives to ramp up the functional capabilities of their apparel.
As brands, designers and retailers continue to pursue down alternatives sustainability and price protection will be top of mind.
With down in high demand and low supply, pricing could fluctuate and cause brands to pursue other alternatives to cut material sourcing costs, which positions Black ThermoPlume to help address the pricing problem.
“From a manufacturing standpoint it’s no different and it offers brands price protection,” Newey said. “There’s no price volatility with our products.”