There’s a review of the Nau Allee ($300) jacket in this post but first I have to go someplace none of ever want to.
The down in our jackets and sleeping bags comes about as a byproduct of the food industry. Geese and ducks are raised on farms and slaughtered for their meat; the sleeve of a down jacket is filled.
And that’s the ethical way down makes its way into your jacket (or sleeping bag, comforter, gloves, etc).
The unethical way?
Live geese are forcibly restrained and live-plucked several times each year to contribute down throughout their lives. Others are force-fed to increase their meat production, their down collected post-humously. The really unlucky bastards are the ones who get live-plucked up to six times each year while being force-fed and then slaughtered for their engorged livers.
Buying products with the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) seal-of-approval or down products filled with recycled down all help to reduce this scourge on animal rights. Recycled down takes the standards of sustainable down production to the next level.
Recycled down is the stuffing inside the Nau Allee.
Instead of buying down that was sustainably and ethically harvested from deceased birds, Nau works with vendors in Europe that gather down from reclaimed down duvets and pillows.
The down is (supposedly) processed to remove the head grease and dead skin cells of strangers, rejuvenated and then sorted. Recycled down also (supposedly) maintains the same weight, quality and insulation properties as virgin down.
This concludes the lesson on Recycled Down 101. What do I think of the Nau Allee?
What I like
It’s ethical; no birds were killed to fill it. Yes, the birds were killed to fill something else long before but none died for this jacket.
It’s chic and unique; definitely a nice down piece to wear on cool days for civilized activities like work, coffee shops, hanging out at trailheads after bike rides.
What I don’t like
It’s just not form-fitting enough to repurpose your body heat as a heat source.
It’s literally a 650-fill down smock. You will have to beef up on the baselayers to stay warm with this jacket on cold days.
I love this jacket. I love the look, the feel, the ethical filling inside. But I’ll be honest. I think the $300 price tag is steep for a down jacket that is strictly for urban or après activity use. Acquiring recycled down is more labor-intensive and has more steps in the process so I get that it will ultimately cost the consumer more. Recycled down, after all, is sustainable down on steroids.
Still, it won’t offer much protection from the frightful Minnesota wind chills of December, January and February. If it had some kind of a cinch or a drawcord at the waist, it would really improve this jacket’s use-value. If you live in a more moderate climate this probably won’t be an issue.
That being said I’ve been wearing it on errands around town and for travel and I get a ton of complements on it.
I also get a warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing that the down inside came from a French duvet. Yes, yes. I know that it originally came from a goose but a goose didn’t die because its down was needed for this jacket.
At least that’s what I tell myself each night. Ha!