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The toasty chests of puffer jacket owners can swell further with pride as the unofficial uniform of hikers, power walkers and parents committed to morning school drop-offs zips up for the fight against climate change.

Outdoor clothing giant Kathmandu has launched the BioDown jacket, a biodegradable version of its most iconic product, as more fashion brands take responsibility for their designs beyond the cash register and online checkout.

Australian model Jarrod Scott wearing the BioDown biodegradable puffer jacket from Kathmandu.Credit:Jason South

“Puffer jackets is our highest selling category, so they provide the best opportunity for us to make a difference,” says Reuben Casey, Kathmandu chief executive. “We consciously chose to craft a beautiful product in a style that we are known for.”

Thanks to an additive introduced in the manufacturing process, the jackets’ components complete the biodegradation process within three to five years, including the zipper, if they end up in suitable landfill.

“A zipper has to meet durability standards, requires more engineering than fabric and so was the most difficult aspect of turning this dream jacket into reality,” Casey says.

The BioDown jacket was launched in Melbourne, where smaller brands such as Hew, Arnsdorf and A.Bch have been catering to growing interest in clothing constructed from biodegradable materials. An installation at Fed Square by sustainability advocate Joost Baker, containing 6000 kilograms of landfill clothing sourced from garment recycling program Upparel, provided the backdrop for Kathmandu executives and leading Australian male model Jarrod Scott.

Kathmandu chief executive Reuben Casey with Jarrod Scott, wearing the BioDown biodegradable puffer jacker in a pop-up installation by Joost Baker made using clothing destined for landfill.

Kathmandu chief executive Reuben Casey with Jarrod Scott, wearing the BioDown biodegradable puffer jacker in a pop-up installation by Joost Baker made using clothing destined for landfill.Credit:Jason South

“Every 10 minutes 6000 kilograms of textile waste ends up in Australian landfills,” Casey says. “Creating the BioDown Jacket is one way that we are helping to tackle this societal issue. By creating a very durable jacket we hope that recycling infrastructure has been established to deal with end of life product when it comes time to dispose of the jacket. If it hasn’t, we know that it will biodegrade over three to five years.”

Sydney-based fashion label bassike, which has eight stores nationally and is stocked by David Jones, Net-a-porter and Goop, has been focusing on sustainability since launching in 2006. Last month the organic cotton jersey used in more than 60 per cent of the units produced by bassike was certified 100 per cent carbon-neutral under the Climate Active Standard, “and its end products are biodegradable,” says co-founder Deborah Sams.



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