Today, the Boston-based technical apparel brand Ministry of Supply launches “Great Auk Outfitters,” in the name of engineering a more ethical, environmentally responsible luxury brand.
While vegan winter jacket alternatives exist from the likes of Matt & Nat, Nanushka and Ganni, Great Auk Outfitters positions itself against Canada Goose and Moncler in terms of performance.
“Our jackets perform just as well without any animal products,” said Geraldo Aldarondo, cofounder of Great Auk Outfitters. Aldarondo cofounded the brand with Brian Kennedy, with Ministry of Supply acting as an incubator.
Great Auk Outfitters will launch with a hero product — a winter parka that is free of fur and down — that instead uses recycled materials (nylon and polyester). The Downless Parka is produced by Bluesign-certified garment manufacturers, which also produce arctic expedition gear and Olympic uniforms.
Its touted to be a “fully sustainable jacket that can withstand extreme temperatures, without any animal products,” and it does so with an insulation combining recycled polyester (which acts like feathers) and NASA-invented Aerogel (that mimics lofty down).
The waterproof shell is created from 100 percent recycled nylon, and the insulation is comprised of 52 percent post-consumer recycled polyester and 48 percent polyester with Aerogel. The lining is made of S.Cafe — a 100 percent recycled polyester infused with odor absorbing coffee extracts.
In salute to the flightless bird that went extinct despite hundreds of years of protected status, the brand even plans to source more alternative materials, such as recycled fishing nets.
“Our goal is to deliver high-performing luxury garments that don’t force consumers to compromise on the issues that matter most. Right now, we’re focused on outerwear, and looking to roll out new iterations and designing a women’s style. In the future, we’d like to look at other product categories, bringing our ethical luxury point of view to more pieces,” Aldarondo said.
The team tested the Downless Parka in the wild on a trip to Iceland subjecting it to 88 mph winds and below-freezing temperatures. It has a clothes thermal insulation (Clo) of 4.5 and will keep the wearer insulated from 10ºF to -10ºF (-13ºC to -23ºC).
As for its parent brand, Ministry of Supply isn’t steering from its technical strengths either, as the brand has tapped 3-D knitting machine and heat-mapping mirrors in store.
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