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There are records of down being traded as an insulation as far back as the early 1600s. And long before that, the down and feather waste of birds used for food was utilized to create warm and comfortable bedding. 

The modern down supply chain has historically been extremely opaque, consisting of a network of brokers who aggregated material from slaughterhouse groups and sold on an open market with almost no visibility to the farms the birds were raised on. 

More than 30 years ago, ALLIED was founded as an insulation company working directly with farms and slaughterhouse groups. As the outdoor industry was growing rapidly through the early 1980s, the need for a high-quality down fill — different than what was available at the time — became apparent. By working directly with farms around the world, ALLIED was able to control quality and provide these growing brands complete traceability and transparency long before it was considered an important issue – all with a new unparalleled performance that led directly to new types of down jackets. 

In 2012, ALLIED used this intimate knowledge throughout a supply chain many thought impossible to trace, and started work with The North Face to build what would become the Responsible Down Standard. Gifted to the Textile Exchange so that it could be utilized by the industry as a whole, this standard has now become one of the largest and most ubiquitous animal welfare standards in the textile and outdoor industries. 

ALLIED continues to change the industry by uncovering new supply chains, offering unique material and bringing traceability and education directly to the consumer for the first time. 

A new way to source direct over 30 years still remains a bit of a novelty. Much of the global down supply chain is still quite opaque, though the changes ALLIED has helped to introduce back then has changed the down industry forever.

While the industry-wide animal welfare standards are incredibly important to bring a level of assurance to consumers that the down inside a garment, pillow, comforter or sleeping bag has been sourced responsibly, there is a lot more complexity to down insulation than just where or how it was sourced. And even though the standards also ensure traceability, there is no real way through those alone for the consumer to really understand where the down inside their jacket came from – or what makes it unique..

For us, the standards are simply an insurance policy to now communicate some of the intricacies of the material to the end user. For far too long, the synthetic industry and animal welfare activists have been able to attack down and spread misinformation without the customer having any sort of outlet to learn more about the performance and sustainability value of responsibly sourced material. 

That’s why, in 2015, alongside the release of the first RDS certified products, ALLIED launched TrackMyDown.com. The site allows the consumer to use the lot number on the jacket to learn more about all the important elements of the down inside their jacket – from source to cleanliness to complete content analysis – educating the consumer on what fill power is, why cleanliness and processing are so important to performance,  and how these might reflect on the quality of the product in front of them.

In 2019, ALLIED engaged Nobal Technologies, a cutting edge retail smart mirror tech firm to work on a new concept to develop a retail engagement, education and traceability tool. 

ALLIED had developed a way to  optically tag down that could be read by a hand-held reader through the garment itself, without altering the quality of the material or sacrificing the finished product. This program was developed and piloted as a quality control product for a large partner brand to ensure the material they were expecting did, in fact, end up in their garments. With all the work being done in certifications, it’s not uncommon for that to fall apart at the manufacturing level – either through sheer accident, lack of thoroughly cleaning equipment between runs or something more nefarious. 

Taking consumer traceability and education to the next level, ALLIED engaged Nobal Technologies for the development of a smart mirror able to read the down inside a garment with an integrated reader that interacts with this proprietary treatment on the down. This allows the retail customer to interact with the down inside the jacket to learn more about the quality of the down, see where and how it was sourced and even tie into existing retail point of sales devices and inventory management systems allows the user to see similar products and even make purchases directly from the mirror itself. 

Working with an animal by-product, it has always been important to ALLIED that the welfare of all birds throughout the supply chains used were being raised according to best practices of animal husbandry to ensure that all ALLIED down was ethically and responsibly sourced. 

Long before any real discussion of animal welfare within the down supply chain, ALLIED was auditing supply chains with third party auditing bodies and implementing the strongest and most transparent traceability initiatives in the industry. And even when many down suppliers continue to supply “certified” down alongside that which comes from force fed birds, ALLIED made the commitment to not source from these supply chains at all and to ensure all birds within the ALLIED supply chain were treated in accordance with Brambell’s five freedoms of animal welfare.

Freedom fromHunger and Thirst. 
Discomfort
Pain, Injury or Disease
Fear and Distress
Freedom toExpress Normal Behavior

We face very real challenges in parts of the supply chain with force feeding for the Foie Gras industry and live-plucking practices that can exist on the parent farms. This is why, even though ALLIED had been doing independent robust audits, we worked with The North Face and Control Union to help develop the Responsible Down Standard; gifted to Textile Exchange to be used by the industry as a whole upon completion in 2014. 

ALLIED continues to lead the industry by certifying 100% of our supply chain and working with many large brands and international fashion houses to build even more robust supply chain certifications and initiatives. 

In 2013, ALLIED set out with The North Face and Control Union to build a much-needed industry-wide standard. With as much auditing that was already being conducted throughout the ALLIED supply chain, there still was not a singular industry standard with the appropriate stakeholders from which to audit against. 

The RDS has the largest brands and global animal welfare groups as important contributing stakeholders and certifies that all birds come from farms that abide by the five freedoms of animal welfare throughout all aspects of their lives – including travel. The RDS also requires a level of traceability for those certified brands and is built upon the content claim standard. That ensures that any RDS labeled product has been audited and certified throughout the entire supply chain – from farms through manufacturing. 

In order to ensure that best practices from a sourcing and animal welfare perspective continue to move forward, ALLIED regularly works with Fier Voten (Four Paws) to understand some of the issues they see in the industry and how we can develop a strategy to rectify on an industry-wide level. 

We never simply rely on any standard, we make sure we audit all supply chains ourselves and relationships like this are invaluable to not only make sure best practices are being followed, but also constantly reconsidered to best protect the welfare of these animals. 

“ALLIED has shown true leadership and has proven that regardless of a suppliers’ size, if they want to be cruelty-free they can. We call on all suppliers to follow ALLIED’s example and fully exclude down feathers from force-fed or live-plucked animals from their supply.

FOUR PAWS has called for prohibiting parallel production at the supplier level since the inception of those standards. We applaud ALLIED Feather and Down for being the first major processor to concur and understand the importance of such a measure,” – Melanie Lary, Four Paws

Down is amongst the most sustainable ingredients in the textile industry from a raw material perspective. But how it is processed can have a tremendous impact on not only the quality of the insulation, but that insulation’s impact on the environment. A lot of time and money can be saved by using harsh chemicals and bleach to produce a “clean” down, but at what cost? ALLIED differentiates itself from those cheaper down supply chains by making sure that every detergent used is not only safe for the environment, but also palm oil free. 

ALLIED also has a robust water recycling and treatment system to ensure that all water used in the processing of the down can be reused and done so that also reduces the amount of detergent needed in a typical processing. 

ALLIED was the first down supplier to achieve bluesign® system partner status and continues to work with bluesign® in addition to Oeko-Tex so all down from ALLIED is both an official bluesign® approved and Oeko-Tex 100 certified ingredient. 

ALLIED also works with the HIGG index and closely monitors all carbon emissions in all facilities. Our annual sustainability report can be accessed at the top of the page.

As stewards, ALLIED has partnered with Protect Our Winters and other important organizations to help change the way we, as a community at large, change the way we think about the things we use and how we impact the planet looking towards a cleaner, brighter future.

Working closely with LCA groups and energy consultants, ALLIED has built a roadmap looking toward a carbon neutral future. Too many companies rely on simple offsets to claim carbon neutrality, but we look to adopt a reduce – reuse – then offset approach. 

With new innovations launched in 2021, we have already reduced processing emissions by more than 30% and continue to look at further efficiencies in an already low impact material.

ALLIED has an aggressive plan to provide the first carbon neutral down insulation to all partners by Fall 2023 and work toward carbon neutrality on a company-wide scale through our reduce – reuse – then offset platform in the following years. 

ALLIED is able to provide just about any combination of specifications of conventionally sourced down. We regularly work closely with our partner brands to identify the exact specifications for their desired use. There are limitations on species for fill power and sourcing due to regional animal welfare concerns, but we have always found a solution for every partner.

Almost all duck down sourced by ALLIED comes from China as many of the duck farms throughout Europe engage in force feeding for the production of Foie Gras.

  • Origin: China / Europe
  • Fill Power: 550 – 1000+
  • Down content: 75% – 95%
  • Dark spot: 3% – 0.03%
  • Supply Chain: mostly industrial
  • Origin: China / Europe
  • Fill Power: 550 – 1000+
  • Down content: 75% – 95%
  • Dark spot: NA
  • Supply Chain: mostly collector
  • Origin: China
  • Fill Power: 550 – 800
  • Down content: 75% – 90%
  • Dark spot: 3% – 0.03%
  • Supply Chain: mostly industrial
  • Origin: China
  • Fill Power: 550 – 800
  • Down content: 75% – 90%
  • Dark spot: NA
  • Supply Chain: industrial and collector
  • Origin: Iceland / Scandinavia / Russia
  • Fill Power: NA
  • Down content: tk%
  • Dark spot: NA
  • Supply Chain: collected from nests of migrated birds

In the past 39 years, textile waste in landfills has increased by over 800%.

On average, consumers throw away 80 pounds of textile waste per year, and almost 95% of this waste that ends up in landfills could have been reused or recycled.

Furthermore, diverting just one year of textile waste into a recycling program is the equivalent of taking 7.3 million cars and their emissions off the road.

Virgin down remains an important part of the circular economy, and one of the most sustainable insulations on the planet and is naturally biodegradable. But in looking at ways we can be more proactive in our environmental stewardship practices with our partners, textile waste was one area we felt we could expand upon and build circularity for all our partners.

By working with global recycling centers and developing our own recycling programs, ALLIED now takes old bedding products, apparel and sleeping bags – otherwise destined for the landfill – and is able to reuse the material inside while sending the textiles and trims into their own separate repurposing and recycling streams.

The removed down is cleaned through our DURWASH process the same as conventional material and undergoes rigorous separation processes to create the highest performing recycled down available today.

ALLIED’s RENU:Performance Recycled Down is an insulation with a positive impact on the environment with ALLIED helping to recycle over 1 million pounds of textile waste annually. That’s equivalent to taking over 260 vehicles off the road every year. 

RENU:600 Recycled Down

RENU:700 Performance Recycled Down

RENU: 750+ Ultra High Performance Recycled Down

FEATURES

Available in Gray or White
Retains Durability and Loft just as well as virgin material under extended use
Tests over 1000mm turbidity making it not only the cleanest recycled down on the market

As textiles push the limits of light weight, dark spots become an increasingly important  issue. 

With a conservative estimation of around 1000 down clusters per gram, even down sourced and traditionally separated to 99.9% white still has the potential to contain at least 1 dark spot per gram.

In a lightweight jacket, this could mean as many as 150 dark spots. 

There remain very limited sources of pure white down (and even those are not completely free of dark spots) so ALLIED has worked with innovative machinists to develop a computerized sorting process that mechanically separates down cluster by cluster, picking out any dark spots. What is left is a pure white down with virtually no dark spots.

All UltraWHT down is processed in the same way as all ALLIED down in our proprietary DuraWash process and sourced from certified farms for animal welfare.

ExpeDRY is ALLIED’s new innovative and disruptive ultra dry down featuring FUZE® technology for a chemical free alternative to hydrophobic-treated down.

ExpeDRY works through a permanent and chemical-free bonding of non- toxic gold particles to the down cluster which aid in the evaporation of water molecules, causing the down to dry faster and stay dry in high humidity and extreme conditions. 

Evaporation is caused through the vibration of the water molecule, which usually happens through the application of heat. The gold particles in the ExpeDRY treatment attached to the down cluster generate a similar “excitement” in the water molecules – without added heat – causing them to vibrate and ultimately speeding up the process of evaporation.

This helps to create a drier insulative chamber as the rate of increased evaporation is greater than the absorption rate of down in almost every real world situation. It also helps with moisture from within such as sweat in high energy activities which could ultimately lead to a more regulated warmth.

ExpeDRY is the future of performance and sustainability for all insulations. 

Features

high performing water resistant alternative for real world situations 
chemical free
permanent
non-toxic and safe for environment
keeps insulation chamber dry under extreme humidity
helps to reduce the build up of mold and fungus
decreases carbon footprint while increasing performance

For products that might require extreme performance in unusual conditions, ALLIED pioneered water resistant down treatments.

The one Achilles heel that down is known for is its ability to perform when submitted to extreme moisture. It is not often that an insulation comes into such extreme contact with water, but even excessive amounts of humidity can wet-out the down, reducing the fill power and losing the ability to retain warmth.

ALLIED’s HyperDRY Water Resistant Down remains among the highest performing, and stands as the benchmark for sustainability in fluorocarbon free hydrophobic down treatments.

The compound in the HyperDRY treatment works the same way as traditional DWR chemicals by building carbon-hydrogen chains on the down cluster to decrease the surface tension, which ultimately causes water to bead and roll off. The difference is that the HyperDRY compound is completely flourocarbon Free

Working closely with our chemical partners, we were able to develop a hydrophobic treatment that could not only provide performance without fluorocarbons, but also allow us to process material more sustainably. Competitors’ treatments rely on additional wash cycles applying the chemistry in a bath, which uses a tremendous amount of water and chemicals. We are able to process our material outside of our processing water supply so we can use far less chemistry, reduce run-off to basically zero and keep from contaminating our water so we can continue to recycle what is used.

FEATURES

30-40Xmore hydrophobic than untreated down
25%less water used in treating than conventional methods
95%compound adhesion compared to ~60% in conventional methods
5Xless chemistry required to achieve the same performance

It’s about time your insulation works as hard as you do. 

Most insulations can be greatly affected by sudden shifts in the external environment — either overheating when the temperature rises or taking time to warm in sudden drops of temperature.

 “Active” insulations have recently become highly sought after, but most “active” insulations on the market do not perform based on the conditions of the exertion and environment, but are technically “static” insulations meant for active experiences.

Adding infrared reflectivity to the down cluster helps create an insulation that is actively changing in tune with both the wearer and the environment. In our newly developed ThermaDown 02+, as we expend energy from our bodies, it is reflected and returned; and as the external environment changes, excess energy can be reflected to keep from overheating quickly.

Down already has a significantly wider comfort range than synthetic alternatives. ThermaDownO2+ utilizes this range of comfort and down’s ability to warm with minimal weight and combines it with a patent pending technology that coats the down with tiny reflective platelets to provide a full-spectrum infrared reflectivity.

We are essentially combining the efficiency of natural down with the benefits of a space blanket.

As heat from the body is reflected off the platelets, it is converted into energy in an infrared spectrum. This energy interacts with our vascular system and helps us feel warmer and brings more oxygen to our muscles through increased microcirculation. This is why metallic space blankets are so effective for trauma situations. Infrared blankets are also used to help increase circulation in diabetic patients.

ThermaDown allows for greater warmth with less weight, increased thermoregulation, and potential faster recovery through the reflection of energy in this infrared spectrum, creating a truly active insulation that works as hard as you do.

FEATURES

IR Infrared Active Insulation that assists with thermoregulation
Full Spectrum unique patent-pending Full Spectrum Infrared Treatment
+Warmth helps reflect energy to provide additional warmth
O2+ potentially increases microcirculation for improved recovery

There are times, during long extended stays in cold damp environments, where it is not always an option to keep all your gear dry. In these conditions of constant humidity, it does not take long for fungus, mold and bacteria to build upon damaging the down and reducing its ability to loft. 

Losing loft like this will see a rapid reduction in warmth just when you need it the most. And when fungus and mold set in, it is extremely hard to clean away. 

BioDown works to solve this long-standing problem by incorporating anti-bacterial agents, and is 99.9% effective in inhibiting the growth of mold and bacteria. This will extend the performance of your down through long wet expeditions and significantly increase the overall life of the product.

ALLIED has developed its own unique down processing method that helps distinguish ALLIED down from any other available. 

The method was developed as a way to provide industry leading quality with reduced impact on the environment. It allows ALLIED to use specialized environmentally friendly palm-oil free detergents and recycle water at all facilities worldwide. 

Raw materials come if and testing is done to identify the amount of detergent each lot will need. The process is complex and contain multiple washes, rinses and runs through magnets to remove any and all impurities. No excess detergent is uses, all water is recycled and much of our energy already comes from renewable sources. It’s why we say that ALLIED down is the best insulation on AND FOR the planet. 

F X Down™ is a unique, hybrid fill that successfully bridges the gap between down and synthetic products. Allied Feather & down has worked tirelessly to create synthetic fibers that are capable of working successfully with our award winning down. After developing these fibers that possessed the right attributes for blending, we married the two in our proprietary machinery creating a fill that acts and feels more like down while still performing in the wash.

ALLIED’S F X Down™ is completely customizable and built to the exacting specifications of our partners. However, in our testing for warmth, wash durability, compressibility and water resistance, we recommend the following blends.

70 / 30700 Fill Power Goose Down + ALLIED Thermaltech Fiber
70 / 30700 Fill Power Duck Down + ALLIED Thermaltech Fiber
65 / 35600 Fill Power Duck Down + ALLIED Thermaltech Fiber
60 / 40550 Fill Power Duck Down + ALLIED Thermaltech Fiber

Working with strategic technology partners, ALLIED has developed an innovative and robust traceability treatment applied directly to the material itself that catapults the world’s oldest insulation into the next century.

Understanding both the need for guaranteed traceability, as well as considering the interactive future of retail, OptiX™ creates assurances through manufacturing and allows brands to create engaging down experiences for their consumers. Impossible to fake, it is the only insulation that is able to verify the traceability and authenticity of a product through the material itself. 

OptiX™ works by small readers reading the reflected color of the unique natural and non-toxic treatment applied to the down during processing. The technology can detect as low as single digit percent blending for a confidence that partner brands and consumers alike that the material expected in each and every product is exactly what it should be. 

ALLIED has also used our Optix technology to create an engaging and immersive retail experience with the iMirror powered by Nobal Technologies. Readers built into the mirror can read the down inside and give any customer trying a down jacket on in front of the mirror all the information they might want to explore about the down inside the garment. 

Zero Degrees North is ALLIED Feather + Down product and design laboratory. 

With an eye towards those innovative products, design and art, it is a place to call out and even sell what we consider some of our best partner pieces and those collaborations and collections we have been a part of as we constantly rethink how down can be used. 

ALLIED works closely with our partner’s product development teams to not only ensure the best possible material is being used for the needs of every individual product line, but to also rethink how down can be used in innovative new products.

Contact ALLIED to discuss having your products featured in our غN Design and Product Lab. 

In 2019, ALLIED Feather + Down started Into The Cold as a media platform to express voices and representations of large parts of the industry and ideas that, in our opinions, were not being heard. We have worked with a wide variety of ambassadors to feature unique art, editorial fashion shoots, photo essays and stories – all with a unique point of view. 

We have looked at the horrific beauty of climate change, what it means to stop suddenly in an era of speed, how to rethink the concept of the “outdoors” and reimagined how down can be worn – all including our partners and their products. 

We are always seeking partners and brands – big and emerging to work with on rethinking traditional norms and attitudes. 

Contact us to inquire about becoming a contributing partner to Into The Cold print and online. 

Excuse the white-out while we complete construction of our info room.

Welcome to AF+D’s brand resources. Please help us protect our brand by presenting your work in the most appropriate way. Follow these guidelines and only use approved brand assets from this site. Any logos or images found elsewhere on the web are not approved for use.

Here you’ll find:

  • Brand Guidelines and Assets
  • Brand Permissions
  • Marketing or advertising
  • Print Packaging

One of the best attributes of down is its durability and longevity. In a world of fast fashion, your down jacket is one item in your closet that can last a lifetime. All that is needed is proper care – of which the information around down care can be misleading at best and destructive at worst. 

It is a lot easier to care for your down product than many people think. All it takes is the proper detergent and a little patience. Clean down is able to retain more warmth, has better loft, better compression, will look and feel better, and leads a longer functioning life cycle of the product. Taking proper care and regularly cleaning your down will keep it performing as well as – if not better than – the day you bought it.

Washing down is not unlike washing our hair. 

The down cluster itself is a Beta Keratin protein, and as such, much of the same care is needed with down as we take with that hair on our head. Too much oil or dirt or any other foreign substance, and it goes flat and clumpy. Soap or chemicals that are too harsh can strip it of the oils we need for it to be bouncy and resilient, making it brittle.

And like our hair, the down cluster contains essential fats and oils that are necessary to retain resiliency and loft. When we process material at ALLIED, we look to retain a very precise amount of these, while achieving an extremely clean product. This is why the composition of the detergent itself is extremely important. Harsh chemicals and overprocessing can cause irreparable damage. 

Think of our ALLIED DOWN WASH  as a shampoo for your down jacket. 

Additives like bleach or other harsh chemicals in most laundry detergents might be able to get your product clean quickly, but can strip the down of those fats and oils necessary for the performance and durability of the product. 

You would never use your hand soap for your hair, so why would you use a regular detergent for your down?

It is actually quite easy to clean your down product.

The two biggest things you can do to damage the down inside a garment is to use harsh detergents, and to not dry completely. While we always suggest following the recommended washing instructions on the garment, the following is generally the best way to wash your down product.

It is critical to start with a detergent specifically created for down products, like our ALLIED DOWN WASH, which can be purchased here.

If possible, pre-rinse products without detergent

This helps to saturate the items allowing the detergent to penetrate the fabrics more effectively and get to the down clusters to clean them thoroughly.
Wash on low temperature

There is a greater likelihood that the fabrics will require a lower temperature than the down itself. This also saves energy when it is not needed.
Following wash, run an additional rinse without detergent

This will ensure that all detergent was completely rinsed out of the down and the product. Leaving residual detergent on the down may cause a reduction in fill power.
Tumble dry on low temperature until completely dry with clean tennis balls or a clean shoe.

If you think the item is dry, it is worth running one last dry cycle. Many people assume it is dry by the feel of the textile, but the down inside remains slightly damp. This may take several cycles. It is not possible to over-dry in a home laundry machine, and is always better to err on the side of dry with down insulation.

It may be obvious, but do not bleach or iron your down filled products.

We also generally recommend against dry cleaning, but if that is necessary because of certain trims on the item, it is recommended to use an eco-friendly dry cleaner who has experience with down filled products.

After 30 years of processing some of the highest performing and cleanest down in the world, we have worked with our bluesign system chemical partner to develop a home laundry detergent to get the down inside your products as clean as the day it left our facilities. And we have done all this without using palm oil derivatives and with detergents that are completely safe for the environment. When you are using the world’s most eco-friendly insulation, equal care should be taken with the products used to clean it.

There are other “down washes” on the market, and we have found that most of them do a good job at cleaning the garment and protecting the down. They do this by using very little active ingredient to keep from stripping the fats and oils. These all come from chemical companies that may understand the chemistry behind cleaning fabrics, but don’t have the experience and knowledge of cleaning down that we do. Down, as a natural material, can quickly grow mold, bacteria and other allergens if not properly cleaned. It can also be stripped of its natural resiliency and insulating characteristics if cleaned too harshly. It was our goal to create the best detergent for the cleaning of the down itself. This required a lot of work to reformulate our renowned production detergent for home use. The goal was to create a detergent with a high concentration of an active ingredient that attacked the dirt, mold and grime down can collect after use. If you purchase a down-specific detergent, you expect it to actually clean the down, not just the face fabric.

We have also worked with our friends at Juniper Ridge, who have foraged and locally distilled an essential oil from our California backyard to provide a slight scent that reminds you of waking up in a forest near the ocean’s edge. The ingredients are responsibly foraged and hand distilled here in California.

Contact us for wholesale purchases.

The shape and composition of the down cluster is the key to its unparalleled warmth to weight. 

Different from a feather, the down cluster has thousands of filaments radiating from a central point, and each of these filaments have barbs, much like the branches of a fir tree. These barbs connect with the barbs and filaments of the nearby clusters, creating a structural web of insulating air.

the cluster
Down cluster

The natural brilliance of the down cluster is that it is able to fill a volume with very little material and incredibly low weight. 

approximate total plumage
Down vs feather

Each filament is just a fraction of the width of a human hair, and it is estimated that there are as many as 30 miles of these filaments in just one gram of down. 

GGD-800-crl-elect
Macro of down fibers

While widely misunderstood, there are small differences between the down clusters of the duck and goose. The goose down cluster tends to have longer filaments, a different barb shape and a unique fat and oil composition. This all makes the larger goose down cluster slightly more compressible and resilient when it comes to jackets or sleeping bags that need to provide as much warmth as possible with minimal weight. Both insulate in the same way and more often than not it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two.

cluster protein model
Protein Molecular Composition

The down cluster is composed of a protein — beta keratin — which is very similar to our human hair. Like our hair, it has fat and oils that give it bounce and resiliency. But again like our hair, proper processing, care and handling are needed to ensure durability, which can long outlive any garment. 

As a by-product of the food industry, all down is sourced from domesticated birds with the exception of Eider down. 

The species of goose found in the supply chain is Anser Anser f. Domestica which is a domesticated descendant of the Greylag Goose. Occasionally there may be other related regional species found in the rural supply chain. 

fowl comparison
Goose Duck Size Comparison

For duck, the most common is Anas Boschas Domestica, descended from the Mallard. Other species throughout the supply chain include descendants of Muscovy ducks. It is important to note that in most cases, ALLIED will not source from Muscovy ducks due to the difficulty in keeping them in captivity and the animal welfare issues that can arise from farming this breed. 

There are slight differences between the quality of the species and regions in which they are raised. However, most of the marketing around quality stems from a time when most material was aggregated and now we find a lot more overlap in quality from Duck to Goose and from China to Europe. 

In the industrial Chinese supply chain, there is a desire for a more tender meat, and due to that demand  both duck and geese are younger when they go to be processed for food than their European counterparts. The average age of ducks are 8-11 weeks and geese are slightly older at 10 – 16 weeks. 

Graphic of region and age

In Europe, the preference is for a gamier tasting meat and there the birds are processed at older ages — 11 – 14 weeks for duck and 18-24 for geese. 

The older birds will tend to grow more mature and larger down clusters, and when material was aggregated and simply sold as duck or goose down from these regions, a qualitative assumption was made that European goose was superior in quality to Chinese duck. And while in general that still is the case in terms of warmth to weight, we now can offer 800 fill power duck down from China that rivals goose down from Europe. 

Sourcing from the collector part of the supply chain offer even older birds and larger down clusters. Many of these regions with collector sourcing also tends to be colder than industrial farms and thus, produce an extremely high quality down.

There is also a slight difference in both how the shape of the cluster itself and the fat and oil content between species. Goose tend to produce down that has longer fibers which makes it generally more compressible for a given fill power. The fat and oil composition of the goose also gives it a slightly more durable nature when considered over several years. 

For more on the supply chain, click here.

The extreme warmth-to-weight ratio that can be achieved by down is due to the size of insulating air pockets created. This is referred to as loft, and measured as “Fill Power”. 

cluster comparison
Cluster size difference 

Fill Power is simply a measurement of the volume created by a given amount of down — in most cases, measured in 30 grams per cubic inch. The higher the fill power, the greater warmth to weight that material has. Down has an extremely linear warmth curve and can be used in many ways. In theory, one could use half as much 1000 fill power down as one would need of 500 fill power to create a product of the same warmth but extreme compressibility. But there are also times where fabrics or designs might require a smaller down cluster to provide loft. 

Most down is measured according to the US/IDFB method. This standard has proven to provide the most reliable and provide the most consistent results. Other global / regional standards may produce different fill powers due to small changes in methodology. Until very recently, the two biggest standards – the US/IDFB and the EU – both gave far different results for the same lot of down. The EU standard at the time relied on a method of conditioning that was never as consistent as the US steam method. So while the fill power would always test “higher” under the US standard, the lack of consistency between tests for the preferred conditioning recently allowed for the EU adoption of the steam method – making the US and EU fill power results much closer than previously.

There are three basic steps to testing fill power: 

  1. Down is stored and conditioned prior to testing. This allows the down to fully expand following what can be months of tightly packed storage. Different standards provide for different conditioning methods. The most consistent is the steam method where the down is steamed to allow it to loft. This is the method used by the US/IDFB. Other methods require different conditioning such as heating in an oven. The EU standard now allows for several different conditioning methods – including steam – which makes it much closer to the US than it was prior. 
  1. Most methods now use 30g of down loaded into a cylinder, the diameter of which is determined by the individual method. Most testing cylinders are now very close in size providing more universal results than in years past. These periodic adaptations of other standards is also why the US/IDFB is measured in competing metrics – cubic inches / 30 grams. 
  1. The cylinder has a lid slowly lowered onto the down and measurements are taken to quantify the total volume achievable by the down. Normally, 3 tests are done and the average is taken to provide the final fill power. 
Fill Power Testing

For more specific differences between the different measuring standards, please see the following documents from the IDFL in the links below. 

Down is a by-product of the food industry, and as such, most down comes from those countries that eat the most duck and geese. That’s why approximately 75% of the world’s down comes from China with the heavy majority of the rest coming from Central and Eastern Europe. This supply chain is one that has been around for hundreds of years and still has not changed much over the generations. 

AERIAL OF CHINESE AF+D FARM
AERIAL OF CHINESE AF+D FARM

There are generally three different modules of the supply chain with each providing their own benefits and complexities – industrial, collector and parent farms. We estimate that the collector and industrial supply chains are fairly evenly split with the parent farms only representing 3-8% of the total global down supply.

AF+D REGIONS OF COLLECTION
AF+D REGIONS OF COLLECTION

Industrial Farms

Due to the age of the duck and goose supply chain, and the fact that many farms have been owned and operated by generations of the same family, the use of the word “industrial” in this supply chain refers almost solely to relative scale. While these farms have larger contracts with slaughterhouse groups and produce far more birds than the other farms in the supply chain, these farms are generally not at the industrial level and overcrowding seen in other poultry supply chains in other parts of the world. The norm on these farms is a location on large bodies of water with birds roaming free. Many times, larger goose farms act as a secondary use to the land. We have seen many farms on orchards with the fruit trees providing natural shade for the birds and the birds supplying fertilization – creating a surprising circularity.

Traceability within the industrial supply chain is far easier than the collector-based module, but this is where one has to be careful from an animal welfare perspective. In many parts of Europe, force feeding is the norm. You’ll probably never see French duck down from ALLIED for this reason. 

The Parent Farms

Within the industrial supply chain are farms where mother geese and ducks are raised to lay eggs for trade. These parent farms represent approximately 3-8% of the global supply chain. At the end of their cycle after 4-6 years, they become part of the food supply chain. 

Collector based 

This supply chain is a maze of collectors that gather material from micro farms sometimes as small as a single household raising birds to feed their family. Collectors travel from house to house within a village collecting all the waste products left out to be picked up – the down and feather from the birds being one. The village collectors will then usually aggregate material with a larger village collector who then transports to a regional collector where material is further aggregated and ultimately purchased and shipped from there.

These small farms and households raising down to simply feed their families have almost no risk to animal welfare (if the birds are harmed, they don’t eat), but can be incredibly hard to trace due to their small size and rural nature.

We have been able to add traceability in this supply chain by opening offices in these rural parts of the world where this supply chain resides that teach the collector communities how to read and write so the proper paperwork can always accompany the collection of the material. 

The collector based supply chain is important as it not only has almost zero risk of animal welfare issues, but provides some of the highest quality of material as the birds are much older and produce a large and strong down cluster.

Where each particular quality comes from

White goose down tends to almost exclusively be collected from the industrial supply chain. The European White Goose Down we source comes from Hungary, Romania, and Moldova. In most cases, the final lot of down is blended from various sources – much like wine – to build an insulation with the exact properties needed for this product. These regions tend to be much colder than others and the birds live slightly longer producing an extremely high quality, luxurious down. These regions are also known for a particular sub-species that provides an extremely white feather and down. Since ALLIED does not use any bleaches when processing, it is important that our White Goose Down comes from such sources.

ALLIED’S Chinese White Goose Down mainly comes from the provinces of Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Liaoning, Handong, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Guangxi and Sichuan. White Goose Down at a higher fill power can be a fairly high risk for live plucking since it can come from the parent farms – though that only occurs within a small part of the supply chain. Even though live plucking is rare, we are still very careful within this supply chain and have identified those regions having the best transparency through parent farms to ensure that no material ALLIED procures comes from birds that have been live-plucked at any time in their lives

The nature of the Grey Goose supply chain is such that most of this material comes from smaller collector-based farms. These birds tend to be much older than those found in an industrial supply chain and therefore provide extremely high quality down.

Our European Grey Down usually comes from Hungary, Romania, and Moldova while the grey goose in China most often comes from the provinces of Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Liaoning, Handong, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Guangxi and Sichuan.

White duck down is predominantly sourced from the industrialized supply chain.

Most of ALLIED’s duck down will come from China as much of the European duck – white and grey – are used for the production of Foie Gras. In China, We work with farms in Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Liaoning, Handong, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Guangxi and Sichuan to not only ensure the animal welfare and traceability, but overall chemical management and environmental impact. It makes no sense to us at ALLIED to source what could effectively be the most sustainable insulation on the planet from farms engaged in harmful environmental practices.

Grey duck is often found as part of the smaller farm and collector supply chain throughout the world. Looking closely at the collector based supply chain for duck has allowed ALLIED to expand its high quality duck down offerings significantly. In years past, it was almost impossible to source duck down consistently above 700 fill power. Now, by uncovering new and unique supply chains in rural parts of China, we can regularly provide 800 fill power duck down.

Even though the down we collect would otherwise be waste from the poultry industry, we feel it is our responsibility to also account for the welfare of the birds. There are two particular animal welfare issues that are endemic to our industry. The first is the horrific practice of live plucking, and the other is collecting material from birds that have been force fed for the Foie Gras industry. 

Live Plucking

The most egregious and shocking practice is the collection of material through the live plucking of the birds. Down is not unlike the undercoat of a dog which older birds will periodically shed or molt. This material, in the past, was collected by hand and referred to “hand collected” down. The down naturally shed by the birds can be extremely high quality with extremely large strong clusters. 

As certain farmers realized the value of this material, it degenerated into a practice where the down is picked from the birds, feathers and all, whether they are naturally shedding or not. This is extremely harmful to the birds and a practice we have always abhorred. 

Most birds in the industrial farms go to processing for food at between 6-8 weeks for Duck in China and 12-16 for Goose (both are slightly older in Europe). In the vast majority of the supply chain, there is no possibility for live plucking since the birds are so young at time of processing. Live plucking only has the possibility to happen on parent farms where the birds are allowed to live for several years. But even at that, there has only ever been evidence of this happening at White Goose Farms. So considering the global supply chain, it is 1/4 of a small percent of the total farms that is even at risk. It has been estimated that only 1-2% of the down supply chain is at risk for this practice. And the material collected will always test at 800 fill power or above. Because this is the higher value down, anything that is not white goose down above 800 fill power isn’t even at risk for this practice.

Force Feeding

The other practice we, at ALLIED, have long made a commitment to not source is from birds that have been force fed for the foie gras industry. At the end of their lives, these birds are forced to gorge on a diet of corn which makes their livers extremely fatty. Again, this is an exaggeration of a naturally occurring process whereby birds in the wild will overeat in anticipation of a long journey as they migrate. The practice of forcing the birds to feed, however, has become a practice that covers most duck supply chains through central Europe. ALLIED has made the commitment to never procure from farms that engage in this practice at any point throughout the year. 

Aside from those two unique issues we deal with, we continue to work with farms to improve the lives of the birds and constantly reconsidering what  “best practices” mean to animal husbandry.

Animal welfare shouldn’t only consider those issues of live plucking or force feeding. It is important that we, as an industry, help to move all animal welfare practices forward within this poultry supply chain and rethink what best practices for us mean. 

Working with animal welfare groups, auditing bodies and brands, we realize that any claims to animal welfare need to consider Brambel’s Five Freedom of Animal Welfare and not just solely, but in addition to, the two main issues we face as an industry. The RDS and subsequent standards now follow this model ensuring robust positive treatment of all animals in the down supply chain.

Brambel’s Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare. 

All animal welfare standards and certifications use Brambel’s Five Freedoms as a baseline toward the positive treatment of animals and consists of the following elements. 

This means ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.

This requires providing an appropriate environment including appropriate shelter and comfortable resting area.

Rapid diagnosis and necessary treatment must be in place to keep animals healthy

It is important that animals have the ability to express themselves as they would normally. This means that they should have sufficient space, proper facilities and be in the company of the animal’s own kind. For the down supply chain specifically, this means that the birds should have access to large enough bodies of water to swim freely.

Any conditions or treatment of the animals should not cause animals undue stress or unnatural fear.

“ALLIED has shown true leadership and has proven that regardless of a suppliers’ size, if they want to be cruelty-free they can. We call on all suppliers to follow ALLIED’s example and fully exclude down feathers from force-fed or live-plucked animals from their supply.

FOUR PAWS has called for prohibiting parallel production at the supplier level since the inception of those standards. We applaud ALLIED Feather and Down for being the first major processor to concur and understand the importance of such a measure,” – Melanie Lary, Four Paws

In 2014, the Responsible Down Standard, developed by The North Face and ALLIED, was published and gifted to Textile Exchange for use by the entire down industry. It’s robust requirements and auditing immediately set it up as one of the most significant animal welfare standards in the entire textile industry. Soon thereafter, other standards were launched and some that had existed prior were re-written to become much stronger. 

There are other small standards, but none with the scope and scale of the RDS. ALLIED does, however, work with brands to develop robust sourcing stories that exceed any existing certification. 

The Responsible Down Standard

Developed by ALLIED alongside The North Face and Control Union and gifted to Textile Exchange in 2014, the Responsible Down Standard stands as the most robust scalable animal welfare standard for down. It ensures that all material is traceable and sourced from farms audited to all Five Freedoms of animal welfare and prohibits the collection of material from  live plucked or force fed birds. No certified farm is allowed to engage in these practices whether down is sourced from those birds or not.

The RDS is based on the Content Claim Standard which means that all points of the supply chain – from hatchling farms through product manufacturing and distribution – require certification in order to label any product with the RDS logo. 

Click on the downloads to learn more about the labeling guidelines and current standard requirements and visit responsibledown.org for additional information and assets.

At ALLIED, we have always said that not all down is created equal. And what allows down to become such an incredible insulation lies in how the material was processed. Down can be sourced from some of the best – and even certified – farms, but how it is further processed is the difference between cheap down and feathers and a high quality, technical, sustainable and durable insulation. 

Lab Shake Testing
LAB SHAKE TESTING

Down is comprised of beta-keratin, which is a protein extremely similar to our human hair. When down is processed, it needs to be treated in a way that provides the necessary cleanliness, but while still retaining a precise amount of the natural fat and oil so that it retains its resiliency so it can take years of extreme compression and still loft back to its full potential to provide warmth and comfort. There is a lot of cheaper down sourced in the market that might even come with RDS certification, but that has been processed with harsh chemicals, bleach and dried extremely fast. While this may save a small percentage in cost, the insulation may provide clean test results and even look good in the garment right away. But after just a little use, this harsh processing will have taken its toll and the product will quickly start to lose its loft as the now brittle clusters quickly degrade into fiber. 

WASH PROCESSING

This type of processing is also usually accompanied by the use of harsh chemicals that have extremely detrimental impacts on their local environments. The current down standards do not incorporate any form of chemical management so it is important to not only know where your down came from, but how it has been processed. 

ALLIED has developed a proprietary processing method called DURAWASH which has long led the industry in sustainable processing and stands as the benchmark of cleanliness as tested by an independent third party laboratory. The DURAWASH processing is incredibly complex and consists of no less than 13 stages that includes constantly being run through magnets to pick up any impurities, unique drying chambers that ensure we do not overheat the down, vortices that help to reduce additional residue and filter out the finest clusters and proprietary dedusting bins to ensure only the purest down is shipped. The DURAWASH process also incorporates a complex water filtration system to ensure we are able to recycle all the water we use. Part of this filtration is a purification which helps soften all water so minimal detergents can be used. The detergents ALLIED uses have been developed with our long time bluesign® chemical partner to precisely clean the down with no harm to the environment. 

AF+D DOWN PROCESSING

In 2018, ALLIED was only the fourth company in the US to earn Palm Oil Free Certification.

Cleanliness, alongside fill power, is another important qualitative measurement currently used for down and measured through turbidity and oxygen tests. Clean down is incredibly important in that most people that have experienced an allergic reaction to down products are not reacting to the down itself, but dust and other allergens that can be present in unclean down. Clean down will also perform the best, realizing its warmth to weight potential. 

Turbidity

Turbidity testing measures the amount of “dirt” that remains on the down after washing. A given amount down is submerged in a predetermined amount of distilled water and agitated according to the standards protocol. The down is strained out and the water is transferred to a large tube with a marker inside. The turbidity represents the volume of water present that still allows for a clear reading of the mark. If the mark can not be read through more than 200mm of water, it would represent quite dirty material still and have significantly cloudy water present. But if the water is clear and the mark can still be read after 1000mm of water is filled in the cylinder, it would represent extremely clean material. 

Any measurement beyond 500mm is considered hypoallergenic. ALLIED material almost always registers beyond 1000mm where the testing stops.

Oxygen

Following the turbidity testing, the water used for that test is then subjected to oxygen testing in which it is determined how much organic matter remains in that water. Measurements are in 1.6 unit increments because that represents the volume of a droplet of agent used to determine the result. The more drops of the agent required to clear the liquid, the more organic matter is present. Anything under 10 is considered acceptable by the industry, but ALLIED material is almost always at 1.6. 

It’s important to note, however, that it still does not take into account fat and oil content which means one can use harsh chemicals to get the down very clean initially, but do so by stripping the fat and oil from the down cluster resulting in a “clean” down, but one that will break down very quickly. There is a reason ALLIED’s DuraWASH process involves so many steps and why we have extremely precise measurements for fat and oil we need to maintain in order to offer a high quality and long lasting insulation.

ALLIED Feather + Down have accredited down and feather testing laboratories in our facilities in Los Angeles and Hangzhou, China. The technicians are amongst the most experienced in the world with at least 20 years of down and feather testing with our primary technicians in California. 

Having accredited testing labs at our main facilities helps maintain the quality and cleanliness our partners have come to expect. Every raw material lot is tested for quality, content and banned substances that can occasionally be found in material collected from some regions (most often the result of a contaminated water supply). And at shipping, every production lot is further tested to ensure the highest quality material is being shipped for our partner brands. 

Our internal labs all provide the down and feather tests. 

Nomenclature and labeling are perhaps the most confusing communications around down. For labeling purposes, down is specified primarily through cluster % and then usually followed by fill power for marketing purposes. Species is usually specified for goose and left as simply “down” for duck down or a down blend that does not fit the requirements to be labeled as goose down. 

Different countries and regions also have differing requirements ranging from minimum % of species to passable fat and oil to fiber or feather content allowable. 

CLUSTER v. FIBER v. RESIDUE COMPARISON

Cluster Ratio + Content Analysis

The cluster ratio you normally see is a percentage of down cluster to everything else. Normally, for ease of communication, this “other” is represented as feather. But in reality, a 90 / 10 down, for example, will actually have very little “feather” in it. Using a Montane lot and looking at the TrackMyDown.com report for lot number 13150315388, you can see in this 90 / 10 lot, we see 95.6% down cluster, 2.0% down fiber, 0.8% feather fiber, 1.5% waterfowl, 0.0% landfowl, 0.0% quill and 0.0% residue.

To explain the different elements, the content analysis is broken down as follows:

These are complete down clusters

Broken pieces of down. It is normal for the cluster to shed some of its tendrils… these are considered “fiber.”

These are small pieces that do not constitute a complete feather but are identifiable as coming from a feather and not a down cluster.

These are the small “feathers” that are identifiable as coming from waterfowl.

These would be small feathers identifiable as not coming from waterfowl. As a by-product of the food industry with a lot of overlap

These would be identified as larger sharp quills from feathers. It is extremely rare if not impossible to find any volume of quill in an ALLIED lot of down.

This is reserved for tiny broken pieces or flakes where the source is not able to be identified.

Labeling Requirements / Restrictions

There are many different region and country-specific requirements for appropriate labeling. The US standard, in general, is the most difficult requiring at least 95% goose for labeling as goose down (where in Europe as example, that could be as low as 85%). There are also limitations certain regions place on the different elements above. China, for example, limits the amount of feather that can be present.

For further comparisons and different standards and requirements, see the downloads below.

It is critically important to understand the best way to handle and store down. Too much humidity during storage of the bulk material can accelerate the growth of mold and cause significant and sometimes irreparable damage. Additionally, down needs to breath so we bag in breathable bags. This necessitates storage off the floor in order to keep it both clean and protected from foreign elements that could eventually find their way into the filled products. 

In 1987, a small family company was formed with the vision to provide the highest quality, innovative and responsibly sourced down to outdoor and apparel brands. To this day we’re still a family-run operation, and what started in a 12,000 square foot warehouse, has grown to over 1 million square feet with facilities in the US, China, Vietnam and opening soon in Europe.

From the beginning, ALLIED sought a new way of doing things. Thirty years ago, the down supply chain was a network of brokers with very little connection to the source. This practice still exists in many supply chains today. When Steve Uretsky founded ALLIED, he knew there was a better way to source and process what was then a generic ingredient. Strong relationships were formed directly with hatcheries and farms to ensure consistency with quality, price, and traceability. Washing processes were rethought leading to a method that would become more sustainable while setting new benchmarks for cleanliness. 

Working directly with the source has allowed ALLIED to develop industry-wide standards and leading traceability programs and tools, while also offering our partners an unparalleled level of support while working directly with animal welfare organizations. We are proud to have helped develop the Responsible Down Standard which has become one of the largest animal welfare standards in the entire textile industry. Our unique sustainable processing methods also allow us to recycle over 65 million gallons of water annually and led to ALLIED becoming the first down supplier to achieve the prestigious bluesign® system partner status in 2010. All down from ALLIED is now a bluesign® approved ingredient– one of the few non-textile based ingredients to have that status.

To this day we are still a family-run operation, and our goal has always been to make our customers and partners feel part of our family. Working with brands of every size, our sourcing practices, quality, innovations and consumer education tools such as TrackMyDown.com® offer every partner the tools and content to bring added value to every product using ALLIED down.

ALLIED will always continue to look forward, and look how down is purchased, used and marketed to new consumers. Through the three pillars of our brand – Quality, Innovation and Sustainability – ALLIED has and will continue to set the standard for quality insulations found inside the finest luxury and most technical outdoor brands worldwide.

Steve Uretsky

Steve Uretsky founded ALLIED in 1987 after many years in the down industry. At a young age, eschewing an education in medicine, Steve chose to go to work for a feather and down company, where he learned about the finer qualities of down and the immensely complicated supply chain. At the time, the down industry was a maze of middlemen and collectors.

When it was time to venture out on his own, he knew there was a better way to source – and with that, ALLIED was born. Steve remains a critical part of ALLIED, and those early ideas about dealing directly with the sources have helped build ALLIED as the premier supplier of responsibly sourced down worldwide.

To this day, ALLIED also uses a unique processing method based on the environmentally sound plan Steve implemented 30 years ago – even then ALLIED was ahead of the industry on “green” issues – which helps the brand also remain the leader in sustainability.

“I’m so incredibly proud that my daughter and two sons have followed me in this endeavor and continue to champion ALLIED’s commitments to social and environmental responsibility. They’re a big part of the reason these issues were so important to me even way back then, and I know they’ll continue to do what’s best for future generations as well.”

Daniel Uretsky

AAfter earning his law degree from Georgetown, and working four years as a litigator, Daniel returned to join the family business in 2010 as General Counsel. In his years at ALLIED, Daniel’s business-savvy and socially conscious leadership has helped ALLIED expand its already prestigious partner base, which now reads as a veritable who’s who in the outdoor and home fashion industries.

And now as President, he has piloted a wide range of sustainability efforts and advocated for animal welfare initiatives in house and across the industry – even spearheading what haves become the industry’s largest animal welfare standards like the RDS and TDS, etc.

He also sits on many working-group boards to ensure the entire industry is engaged in best responsible practices even if it means going against the grain.

“What I’m most proud of since coming back to the family business is that we’ve continued driving outstanding market growth simultaneously with these social imperatives. We’ve proven that major business can be highly successful not only while incorporating social responsibility, but because of it.”

Jon Uretsky

As with Daniel, Jonathan began his career outside the family business, working as an analyst at a Global Hedge Fund after receiving a Master’s Degree in Accounting. But he too soon returned, and since joining ALLIED, Jonathan has focused on operations and production throughout their multifaceted platform.

He has been instrumental in overseeing ALLIED’s vast certification efforts, and works closely with farms, hatcheries and collectors throughout the global supply chain, ensuring ALLIED is always at the source of the supply.

His work has led the brand to continue seeking and uncovering new supply chains offering higher quality, warmer, responsibly sourced down than was thought possible even just the season prior. He’s even active on social media so colleagues can to follow and learn from him as he documents his supply chain visits.

“Like all of us in the Uretsky family, I’m most of proud of our commitment to the environment and sustainability – especially that our efforts and successes have also helped inspire continuous advancements in animal welfare throughout the industry. But what’s most exciting for me right now are our outstanding recycled down product, and in the near future…waterless down production!”

It is critically important to understand the best way to handle and store down. Too much humidity during storage of the bulk material can accelerate the growth of mold and cause significant and sometimes irreparable damage. Additionally, down needs to breath so we bag in breathable bags. This necessitates storage off the floor in order to keep it both clean and protected from foreign elements that could eventually find their way into the filled products.

ALLIED offers our partners global production options and unequaled diversity through ownership and operation of production facilities on three continents. Our global footprint not only allows us to be more diversified in times of crisis, but allows us to also reduce our overall environmental impact by saving on shipping and transportation. 

In addition to the down production capabilities in Anhui (China), Hangzhou (China), Hanoi (Vietnam), Kamyk (Czech Republic), Montreal (Canada) and our US headquarters just east of downtown Los Angeles, we also have sourcing offices throughout China and Europe as well as supply chain partners in Hungary and sales offices in Seoul, Korea and Tokyo, Japan. 

ALLIED also maintains full service bedding manufacturing facilities in Los Angeles, North Carolina, Montreal and Hangzhou through ALLIED Home.  

  • Corporate Headquarters
  • Down Processing
  • Down Recycling
  • Corporate Headquarters
  • Global Research and Development
  • Complete Testing Facility
  • Bedding Production
  • Bedding Production
  • Down Processing
  • Bedding Production
  • Down Processing
  • Bedding Production
  • Down Recycling
  • Bedding Production
  • Down Processing
  • Complete Testing Facility
  • Bedding Production
  • Down Processing
  • Down Recycling
  • Down Processing
  • Sales and marketing office for Korea domestic market
  • Sales and marketing office for Japanese brands

One of the best attributes of down is its durability and longevity. In a world of fast fashion, your down jacket is one item in your closet that can last a lifetime. All that is needed is proper care – of which the information around down care can be misleading at best and destructive at worst.

It is a lot easier to care for your down product than many people think. All that it takes is the proper detergent and a little patience. Clean down is able to retain more warmth, has better loft, better compression, will look and feel better, and leads a longer functioning life cycle. Taking proper care and regularly cleaning your down will keep it performing as well as the day you bought it.

Washing down is not unlike washing our hair.

And like our hair, the down cluster itself is a Beta Keratin protein.

As such, much of the same care is needed with down as we take with that hair on our head. Too much oil or dirt or any other foreign substance, and it goes flat and clumpy. Soap or chemicals that are too harsh can strip it of the oils we need for it to be bouncy and resilient, making it brittle.

And like our hair, the down cluster contains essential fats and oils that are necessary to retain resiliency and loft. When we process material at ALLIED, we look to retain a very precise amount of these, while achieving an extremely clean product. This is why the composition of the detergent itself is extremely important. Harsh chemicals and overprocessing can cause these proteins to become brittle and damaged.

Think of our ALLIED DOWN WASH as a shampoo for your down jacket.

One of the best attributes of down is its durability and longevity.

 

Additives like bleach or other harsh chemicals in most laundry detergents might be able to get your product clean quickly, but can strip the down of those fats and oils necessary for the performance and durability of the product.

You would never use your hand soap for your hair, so why would you use a regular detergent for your down?

ALLIED is proud to have 50% female ownership and provides a diverse and inclusive work environment worldwide. We stand against racism in any form and work with local communities where our factories are located to provide work programs where we can, free bedding to shelters and when Covid took hold, free reusable masks to local fire departments and the homeless community. 

ALLIED Feather + Down has also made a commitment to global human rights by requiring affidavits signed by all vendors that no material in any ALLIED supply chain is directly or indirectly associated to the Xinjiang region or anywhere else that human rights are violated. 

It is actually quite easy to clean your down product.

 

The two biggest things you can do to damage the down inside a garment is to use harsh detergents, and to not dry completely. While we always suggest following the recommended washing instructions on the garment, the following is generally the best way to wash your down&nbspproduct.

It is critical to start with a detergent specifically created for down products, like our ALLIED DOWN WASH.

step 1 PRE-RINSE

If possible, pre-rinse products without detergent

This helps to saturate the items allowing the detergent to penetrate the fabrics more effectively and get to the down clusters to clean them thoroughly.

step 2 LOW TEMP WASH

Wash on low temperature

There is a greater likelihood that the fabrics will require a lower temperature than the down itself. This also saves energy when it is not needed.

step 3 ADDITIONAL RINSE

Following wash, run an additional rinse without detergent

This will ensure that all detergent was completely rinsed out of the down and the product. Leaving residual detergent on the down may cause a reduction in fill power.

step 4 TUMBLE DRY

Tumble dry on low temperature until completely dry with clean tennis balls or a clean shoe.

If you think the item is dry, it is worth running one last dry cycle. Many people assume it is dry by the feel of the textile, but the down inside remains slightly damp. This may take several cycles. It is not possible to over-dry in a home laundry machine, and is always better to err on the side of dry with down insulation.

It may be obvious, but do not bleach or iron your down filled products.

We also generally recommend against dry cleaning, but if that is necessary because of certain trims on the item, it is recommended to use an eco-friendly dry cleaner who has experience with down filled products.

From the DIY backpacker to The North Face, ALLIED is proud to work with partners both small and large and consider each equally important. Every one of ALLIED’s customers is considered a partnership – which is why we offer tools like TrackMyDown and other assets free of charge. We work together to provide the best pricing and quality and try to help advise on best timing as it can change season to season and even brand to brand. 

And as a family owned business, we still rely on the hand shake deals with no complicated contracts as a barrier to entry. When material is committed to, we buy, so in the rare case of a natural disaster or bird flu, the material needed is secured and locked in. Even in the largest periods of the bird flu or Covid-19, not a single partner has ever been shorted material that was committed.

View some of our partners here

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ALLIED-DOWN-WASH

After 30 years of processing some of the highest performing and cleanest down in the world, we have worked with our bluesign system chemical partner to develop a home laundry detergent to get the down inside your products as clean as the day it left our facilities. And we have done all this without using palm oil derivatives and with detergents that are completely safe for the environment. When you are using the world’s most eco-friendly insulation, equal care should be taken with the products used to clean it.

There are other “down washes” on the market, and we have found that most of them do a good job at cleaning the garment and protecting the down. They do this by using very little active ingredient to keep from stripping the fats and oils. These all come from chemical companies that may understand the chemistry behind cleaning fabrics, but don’t have the experience and knowledge of cleaning down that we do. Down, as a natural material, can quickly grow mold, bacteria and other allergens if not properly cleaned. It can also be stripped of its natural resiliency and insulating characteristics if cleaned too harshly. It was our goal to create the best detergent for the cleaning of the down itself. This required a lot of work to reformulate our renowned production detergent for home use. The goal was to create a detergent with a high concentration of an active ingredient that attacked the dirt, mold and grime down can collect after use. If you purchase a down-specific detergent, you expect it to actually clean the down, not just the face fabric.

We have also worked with our friends at Juniper Ridge, who have foraged and locally distilled an essential oil from our California backyard to provide a slight scent that reminds you of waking up in a forest near the ocean’s edge. The ingredients are responsibly foraged and hand distilled here in California.

Contact us for for wholesale purchases.

From inception, ALLIED has stood as a leader in the industry setting important industry benchmarks, working towards developing the largest animal welfare standard in the industry and has received numerous awards from both the industry and our partner brands. 

  • 1987 – ALLIED Feather + Down was started by Steve Uretsky as an insulation-focused brand. At the time, the growing outdoor market was serviced by bedding companies. Steve understood early the potential needs of down outerwear was different than the material used for comforters and pillows. ALLIED remains an insulation brand first and foremost. 
  • 2008 – ALLIED becomes first down supplier to regularly audit farms for animal welfare requiring signed certificates by all supply chain vendors. 
  • 2010 – ALLIED becomes first down supplier to receive prestigious bluesign system partner status. 
  • 2010 – ALLIED works with Sierra Designs to develop DriDown, the first Water Resistant Down. 
  • 2011 – ALLIED is the first supplier to enlist third party auditors to start building a certifiable supply chain for animal welfare. 
  • 2013 – ALLIED begins pilot of the Responsible Down Standard alongside The North Face and Control Union. 
  • 2014 – the RDS is gifted to the Textile Exchange in order to be used by anyone within the industry to better animal welfare practices across the globe. 
  • 2014 – ALLIED is awarded TNF / VF Corp supplier of the year. 
  • 2015 – ALLIED launches TrackMyDown so end users can learn more about the down inside their products. 
  • 2015 – ALLIED is once again awarded TNF / VF Corp. supplier of the year. 
  • 2015 – ALLIED wins prestigious ISPO Innovation Awards for portfolio of innovative down insulations. 
  • 2016 – ALLIED honored as part of the Nike Premium Supplier Program
  • 2017 – ALLIED announces 100% global supply chain certified to robust third party animal welfare standards. 
  • 2017 – ALLIED again honored honored as part of  the Nike Premium Supplier Program
  • 2018 – ALLIED, TNF and Control Union recipients of the 2018 “Together We are a Force” award in the sustainability category for the creation of The Responsible Down Standard. 
  • 2018 – ALLIED again honored honored as part of  the Nike Premium Supplier Program
  • 2019 – ALLIED wins coveted ISPO Gold Award for TrackMyDown in the sustainability category. 
  • 2020 – ALLIED wins Outdoor Retailer Innovation award for Optix iMirror project. 
  • 2021 – Redesign of TrackMyDown wins coveted German Design Council Award.

Unlike many of our competitors, ALLIED Feather + Down is first and foremost an insulation brand providing the highest quality and most sustainable insulation to technical and luxury outdoor and fashion brands. Most of the competition are bedding companies simply selling the same material used for duvets for use in outerwear. 

For ALLIED it is not one-size-fits-all. The quality of down needed for outerwear differs significantly in overall quality than that used for bedding. Bedding which requires a lot more material and uses much heavier fabric can have higher feather contents and does not need to be separated as thoroughly as the material going into a technical parka. 

To this day, ALLIED remains unique in that a majority of sales come through insulation. And we have leveraged our intimate and technical knowledge of down through two distinct bedding divisions in ALLIED Home and ALLIED Hospitality. 

ALLIED Home uses the same quality down going into the most luxurious and technical garments to fill retail bedding found in all major home goods retailers. ALLIED Home also employs ALLIED’s approach to quality, performance and sustainability, manufacturing in the US, Canada and out of our own facilities in China. 

ALLIED Hospitality utilizes the resources of ALLIED Home to craft luxurious and sustainable bedding for some of the finest hotels and resorts worldwide.