Sustainable Apparel, The Greatest Gift of All


A love affair... 

In 1984, barely twenty years old, I was studying abroad in Perugia and Rome. Much to my surprise, I noticed the appearance of the mink coat as soon as the temperatures dipped below about 50F. You see, I was from North of the Alps, where a strong activism for animal rights had emerged - think Brigitte Bardot traveling to Newfoundland in 1977. To my knowledge, very few people were still wearing fur.

Soon the fur coat in the Italian piazza was joined by something even more eye-catching and unusual: the Puffer Coat or as the Italians call it: Il Piumino!

The trendsetters among the urban youth wore these down-filled coats made by Moncler or Fila, originally intended for the mountaineering community. To me, these young Italians looked desirably cool and rebellious and they were toasty warm in their down-filled quilted jackets. I fell in love.

Today, this love affair continues. However, there was a brief moment when I saw my romance being jeopardized by my personal commitment to animal rights – down is a by-product of meat production, mostly geese and duck, and can involve inhumane treatment and controversial practices during production. Due to its higher warmth to weight ratio than its petroleum-based synthetic fill counterpart, down is more desirable.

This ethical conundrum is solved when choosing a garment from a manufacturer/designer using down sourced responsibly. Over the past few years, several designers have come up with a solution: Sustainable down. Guarantees like RDS (Responsible Down Standard) and TDS (Traceable Down Standard) have emerged.

Nau International, Inc., a Portland, Oregon-based company uses recycled, or as they call it: ‘up-cycled’ down in their garments. Instead of ending up in a landfill or the incinerator, old down and feather bedding gets collected, sorted, sterilized; broken and damaged feathers are sorted out and the clean result, good-as-new down, is used in their garments.

Here is a link to one of four YouTube videos documenting the story of Nau’s sustainable down.

Clementines is a #1 fan of the sustainable performance apparel by Nau. It is designed to protect its wearer from the elements in the most stylish of ways. You can find Nau garments at Clementines all winter long, now at 40% off!

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