Canadian outerwear brand Quartz Co. has launched a new vegan down jacket insulated with milkweed, aka the food of monarch butterfly caterpillars.
The new jackets – made in collaboration with Altitude Sports and the Monark Cooperative – are durable, functional, breathable, and available in parka styles.
According to Quartz Co., cultivating milkweed, “silk of America,” contributes to the survival of the monarch butterfly, which feeds exclusively on the plant while in the larval stage. The crop is harvested in Canada after the creatures have migrated south, and is then transformed by Monark into a warm, plant-based insulator.
“The thermal capacity of this insulation is excellent,” notes Altitude Sports on its website. “Only a small amount is required to insulate a winter parka, allowing for very light products. The fibre also retains heat when compressed, in the crease of your arm for example.”
Although the new jacket range from Quartz Co. is vegan, the brand is not completely cruelty-free, and, like its rivals Canada Goose, uses real fur in a number of designs.
Canada Goose has come under fire for this use of coyote fur in its jackets, with animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) targeting the company’s stores with anti-fur posters and billboards in a number of cities. Brands who use fur contribute to the unacceptable suffering and slaughter of many animals, maintains PETA.
The animal rights group has also called out Canada Goose for its use of goose feathers as down jacket insulation. Because, as Quartz Co. has proven, warm plant-based jackets with ethical lining and animal-free insulation are possible.
Outerwear brand The North Face has also shown that animals are not needed to make a jacket warm and cozy. With the release of its ThermoBall Eco range, which uses synthetic insulation made from recycled plastic bottles, it also demonstrated how jacket brands can help the environment through their designs.
“Reiterate, renew, evolve,” the brand said at the time of Thermoball Eco’s release. “We are always searching for bright and inventive new ways to make our iconic products with more sustainable materials while maintaining the quality and performance you expect from The North Face.”
The vegan “down” jackets are available from both Quartz Co. and Altitude Sports.
Image Credit: Quartz Co.
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