Down - the soft, quill-less feathers closest to the chest of geese and ducks - has recently made headlines due to revelations that birds are sometimes plucked alive to make fillers for winter jackets.
Despite the existence of a Responsible Down Standard, the down supply chain can be so murky and difficult to trace that there is no true guarantee that down didn't come from a live-plucked bird.
Vegan alternatives to down
Cruelty-free alternatives to down have ranged from polyester to tree fibers – but perhaps the most creative solution to date comes from PANGAIA, an eco-fashion label that counts Pharrell Williams among its fans – last year, Williams teamed up with the brand to encourage its fans to get involved with a beach clean in California.
This winter, the label is launching a limited-edition puffer jacket design with a unique vegan insulation made from dried wildflowers, which offers the warmth of down alongside a more lightweight feel.
The puffer jackets, which are available in red or black, also incorporate the use of recycled plastic bottles.
Commitment to ethics
With an interest in sustainable and durable materials, PANGAIA is committed to ethical production practices and exploring new ways to create fashion with a minimal impact on the environment.
Its new range of trousers and hoodies are crafted using recycled materials, and its t-shirts incorporate a peppermint oil treatment that makes it possible to wear the garment up to 10 times before the first wash to save on water.
To help save the world's oceans from the overwhelming pollution that is currently threatening them, PANGAIA will also donate part of the proceeds to 5 Gyres, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering action around the world to keep the seas clean and fight plastic pollution.