nau-down-womensPortland-based clothier Nau is one of the first brands to integrate a next-step in sustainable down production.

Beginning with a sustainable vision, Nau worked closely with a number of partners over the course of several years to bring recycled down to life.

In France, a vendor gathers down from reclaimed (post-consumer) down duvets and pillows, sorts it, and sends it out for processing. During this breakdown process, an internal quality check is performed and the down insulation is divided into nine categories. The raw material is put through a sorting machine and the top quality down from this process is collected, labeled and shipped to the cleaning facility.


A family owned vendor near Budapest, Hungary uses a high quality process to clean, rejuvenate and sort the down to be repurposed into outerwear insulation. Small samples are taken from each bag to ensure the product matches the high quality standards. Upon meeting requirements, the raw materials is sorted, washed and sterilized. The same cleaning process applies to both virgin and recycled down. The down is sterilized in a specialized drying system at 135-degrees C. At the end of the process, samples are taken again to ensure the cleaned product meets all standards.




All approved product is packaged and then shipped to design factories to produce final garments. The resulting 650-fill power blend of goose and duck down maintains the same weight, quality and insulation properties as virgin down sourced directly from waterfowl.

“The recycled down process both begins and ends with design,” the brand said.

Since launching in 2009, Nau has sought to deliver products that meet three main standards: style, performance and sustainability. Its recycled down insulation will be introduced in six new outerwear pieces for Fall/Winter 2015, including the Copenhagen Down Trench for men and women, the Blazing Down Jacket for men, and the Cocoon Down Trench, Allee Down Pullover and Down Hoody Jacket for women.


Learn about other cutting-edge materials in SGB’s What’s In Your Jacket?

Photos courtesy of Nau