As the leaves turn red, outdoor seating is folded away, and you trade your Birkenstocks™ for your boots, ‘tis the season to wrap yourself up in your favourite winter coat.

Whether you wear it once a year to go hiking or everyday to commute to work, we all have a cold weather staple. The PHIPPS choice is the doudoune- a sleeping-bag-like (of course), sometimes-shapeless, but utterly cozy mass of quilted down that keeps us warm and dry.

The doudoune saw the light of day back in 1937, when American outdoorsman Eddie Bauer turned a near-death experience into a revolutionary garment. While on a fishing trip, Bauer resisted succumbing to hypothermia by patching together waterproof material and feathers, thus creating a jacket he dubbed the ‘Skyliner’.

Many modern alternatives found on the market use plastic, leather, and feathers- but these materials can be harmful to the environments they come from and eventually return to, be those hazardous chemicals or unsustainable, or even unethical animal farming practices.
Our doudoune is made of a material as innovative as the down jacket itself- Piñatex®. Invented by Dr. Carmen Hijosa, an ethical entrepreneur with a passion for sustainability and circular economy, the raw material is made of fibre from the waste leaves of the pineapple plant.

As the basic components of Piñatex® are a by-roduct of existing pineapple harvest, it needs no additional resources or labour to produce. The Piñatex® website describes their process as the following:

“After pineapple harvest, the suitable plant leaves which are left behind are collected in bundles and the long fibres are extracted using semi-automatic machines. The fibres are washed then dried naturally by the sun, or during the rainy season in drying ovens. The dry fibres go through a purification process to remove any impurities which results in a fluff-like material. This fluff-like pineapple leaf fibre gets mixed with a corn based polylactic acid and undergoes a mechanical process to create Piñafelt, a non-woven mesh which forms the base of all Piñatex collections. The rolls of Piñafelt are then shipped by boat from the Philippines to Spain or Italy for specialised finishing.”

Piñatex® is used in the fashion industry, but also in the manufacture of accessories and upholstery. It is one of the many remarkable creations of the textile industry to combat environmentally harmful practices. If you would like to learn more about the other materials we use in our collections, please read our “Sustainability: the How, the Who, and the What” story.