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