Driven by innovations such as 3D printing, the fashion industry is currently undergoing a major shakeup. There’s been a noticeable push to give consumers more control over the clothing they wear — letting them customize and personalize their garments both before and after purchase. It’s no surprise then, to see that same trend carried over into more performance focused garments such as NuDown’s new range.
Rather than using traditional insulating materials such as natural down or synthetic insulation, NuDown garments feature inflatable air chambers, designed to be filled with Argon gas to capture and store body heat. The advantages to such an approach over more traditional insulation materials are numerous. Firstly, unlike down from animals, the NuDown jackets won’t lose their insulating properties in wet weather. Secondly, the jackets have a superior warmth-to-weight ratio in comparison to similar premium products using traditional down. The jackets also offer a suitable alternative for those who prefer to avoid animal products.
By far the most intriguing feature of this new approach, however, is that the wearer can pump up the garment for extra insulation should the weather become colder, or release the gas if it’s becoming too warm. It’s an approach that will appeal to ultra-light explorers as it reduces the need to for extra layers, as well as offering a more convenient way to regulate temperature quickly without having to stop.
The NuDown Fall 2015 collection includes six technical outerwear styles — 3 for men and 3 for women — with the men’s range available in 7 colorways, while the women’s will be available in 9. Prices will vary between USD 400 to USD 600, and a pack of 3 Argon refill canisters will cost consumers USD 20.
As garment manufacturers continue to innovate to create opportunities for consumers to customize the fit, design, or performance of an item, what lessons could other industries learn from the example being set?