Puffer jackets. They’re practical, sporty, stylish – and best of all they keep you warm. But are you aware of the cruelty often involved with stuffing them? In most cases, the staple jackets are stuffed with down –feathers found closest to a bird’s skin. Feathers are often plucked when the bird is alive, causing skin injuries, until they grow back and can be plucked again.
To combat this, Uniqlo has launched The Down Recycling Project – an effort to recycle down and feathers you already own into new garments. All of the down and feather in this range comes from 620,000 down jackets collected from customers so far. Garments are given new life as winter staples that are both comfortable and kind to the environment.
But Toast Society – an Adelaide-based outerwear label – is going one step further. It uses vegan down to fill its bright, pastel-coloured coats. Vegan down is a cruelty-free alternative to goose or duck feather down. It’s made from 100 per cent polyester and will keep you dry and warm, even in wet conditions.
Toast’s designs are inspired by the fun, rule-breaking street fashion of Tokyo. “We love the playful approach to colour – the layered looks; voluminous bold, statement pieces; and bright colourful make-up,” says Georgie Babyska, who is a co-founder of the label with her sister Alex. Toast also offers cropped cuts, statement collars and jackets with oversized pockets and hoods.
Launching one collection a year, Toast focuses on durable fabrics and designs that won’t date. Garments are designed in Adelaide, but produced in a factory offshore. This year’s Orbit collection is all about colour.
“Yellow, in particular, was a must for us this season,” Alex says. “It’s energising, bright and enlightening. If we can’t always enjoy the outdoors and the sun, we thought, ‘Why not wear it?’” The polyester outer-shell is available in buttery-soft gloss and metallic finishes in colours such as teal, khaki, raspberry, sea mist, cinnamon, ivory and black. They’re water-repellent and wind resistant.
“We wanted to offer more adaptable and seasonless styles,” says Georgie. “The Elara bolero jackets, and Cali hoodies are the perfect transeasonal pieces.” With a cropped silhouette, the Elara bolero can sit above a pair of jeans or add layers to a longline knit dress. And you can unzip the Cali hoodies in the warmer weather to expose your back and shoulders.
And its name? “Toast represents the feeling you get wearing our puffers,” Alex says. “Warm, comforting, a staple. It’s also easy to say, spell, remember – and most importantly – who doesn’t love toast?”