Why we fill our winter coats with Isosoft to keep you warm.
We’ve spoken in our magazine already about Econyl, which is one of the most prominent features of our minimalist jackets and bags. However, as the weather gets colder, we thought it would be relevant to talk about why we chose Isosoft as our insulation material and the benefits of synthetic insulation vs down.
A very close look at a soft down feather, with filaments growing in every direction.
To understand what Isosoft is and why we use it, it’s important to first understand how down insulation works.
Down is made from the under-layer of the feathers of waterbirds, which protect them from the cold. Unlike their top layer of feathers, made of filaments all growing in the same direction, the down layer is made up of feathers made up of filaments growing in all directions. It is much more voluminous than regular feathers and contains more air. The reason it is so warm is that all of those little pockets of air retain heat. It should also be noted here that down does not only consist of the fluffy underlayer of feathers - it most often contains at least 10% regular feathers and 90% down feathers.
The problem with down is that feathers do not stand up to moisture. Once down gets wet in any way, wether because it is dipped in water, put into a washing machine, or simply exposed to the moisture that comes from your body as you move through the winter, it loses all of its warmth retention capacities. Once a down feather gets wet, it collapses. When wet down is compressed, those warm bags of air disappear and lose their efficiency forever (it is possible to bring them back to a certain degree, but they will never be the same). In nature, waterbirds like ducks and geese are able to protect their down layer with their top layer of feathers and the regrowth of that fluffy layer happens all year round. Obviously, in your duvet or your winter coat, there is no regrowth happening. Today down is often sprayed with something called a DWR coating, which essentially makes the feathers partially water resistant, however there is no way of making them water proof.
Synthetic Insulation before being further processed into the sheets we use in our outerwear (see below).
Now - What is Isosoft?
Isosoft is an insulating material that is made from polyester and is designed to mimic the properties of down. Just like a down feather, it is made of very fine fibers in micro-spherical shapes designed to create those pockets of warm air. These fibers are separated by “air interlayers” which is what helps it keep it’s shape (in a similar way that memory foam always returns to its original shape). To prevent fibers from moving around, Isosoft is lined with a polymer coating, which allows for longer wear and resistance and also makes it easier to use with other types of fabric. It has a high air permeability and plasticity, that is, the ability to quickly restore the shape even after prolonged compression, it is hypoallergenic, and it does not droop after exposure to moisture or after being washed (it also doesn’t need to be drycleaned). It’s resistance to moisture is one of the reasons that Isosoft is an ideal insulator for winter coats used in places like Montreal, where all of our products are made, that are very humid. This insulation is guaranteed to keep warm down to -30°C you warm, and since it is much less bulky than traditional down, it is still very lightweight and can be used in very sleek and fitted designs without sacrificing utility.
There is a recycled version of this material available.
Recycled Isosoft does exist. It is made with recycled post consumer waste (specifically, recycled plastic bottles). It is also possible for this material to be recycled into a “recycled version” of itself. We went through rigorous testing of this material as insulation for our parkas (we actually tested EVERY type of insulation available to us, including one from Quebec that was plant based), and the unfortunate reality is that this recycled material is not as warm or as effective as it’s original version. In order for our pieces to be truly sustainable and made for life, they need to have the ability to withstand the elements and, most importantly, keep you really warm. On top of that, we offer a Second Life program here at BEDI which allows anyone with a BEDI coat at any point in time to bring their used piece back in any condition in exchange for credit towards another BEDI piece. We then either restore the coat and resell it at a reduced pricepoint, or we dispose of and recycle the materials appropriately. That way, none of our products need ever end up in a landfill.
Rolls of Isosoft before getting sewn into our winter coats.
The main difference between Isosoft and Other Synthetic Insulation
At BEDI, we are committed to supporting healthy and safe working environments for everyone along every step of our production line. Isosoft is made in Belgium and guarantees this for their employees as well as being much closer for us to access. They are constantly keeping investing into research and development, and their values are very much aligned with ours, especially since they produce their product in Europe and we make everything here in Montreal, Canada.
We spent two years in the research and development phase of the jackets to ensure we were making the highest quality winter coats on the market without sacrificing design or sustainability. They are tested every day on the streets of Montreal, but if you are still not convinced, here is a review from one of our customers who brought their BEDI Parka to Nunavik:
The KIRSI Women’s ¾ Parka in Econyl
Perfect for Nunavik (North Qc)
“I bout this before a trip to the great north of Quebec. I am very satisfied - no cold air got in, even at -25°C”
To find out more about our innovative and sustainable practices at BEDI, or to shop our minimalist outerwear, click here to take a look at the homepage of our website. Any more questions about our production process? We believe in full transparency, so drop us a line and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Our Women’s Kirsi Parka in Graphite