Allied Feather and Down | Optix Smart iMirror Set To Change The Way We Buy Down Jackets

Thanks to advancements in technology, buying down jackets in-store is about to get a bit more sci-fi

We live in an age of fake news, a time in our collective history where it can often feel nigh on impossible to know where truth begins, fiction ends, and reality itself even exists. The need for transparency is there but this noble goal can so often get drowned out by various slogans promising us this, that, and the other. And this is as true in the outdoor gear industry as it is in, say, politics.

Step forward Allied Feather & Down then who, with the help of the Optix’s Smart iMirror technology, look set to revolutionise the way we buy our jackets. They might not be able to do anything about Trump and the rest just yet but they are primed and ready to dramatically change the way consumers buy down. The future, as they say, is here.

“The future, as they say, is here”

A lack of transparency in the supply chain, a hurdle for so many, could be a thing of the past with the new Optix Smart iMirror – an immersive retail experiential tool with the ability to read and verify down inside garments. What this means, in short, is that you’ll be able to walk into a shop, try on a coat, think “hey this coat looks real good on me but I’m worried about where the down comes from”, scan said coat against the smart iMirror and then get served up a full breakdown of the down’s origin story.

It’s essentially the progressive next step of the ISPO Gold-Winning idea, and has the traceability and education platform very much at its heart. The hope, and thinking behind it all, is that it will significantly elevate the commodity of down on an ethical level by ensuring that animal welfare and environmental standards are met. It also, of course, means consumers can see whether all the guff, and marketing spiel, about performance-preserving handling and treatment is the real deal or a load of baloney.

In addition to down traceability, the iMirror will also be able to tie into a store or brands kit line-up and offer further suggestions, show colourways, and even allow purchases right there via the iMirror itself. Like we said, the future is very much here.

“The industry and brands are doing a lot of work on issues of traceability, but often it is not conveyed directly to the consumer in an engaging experiential way,” says Allied Creative and Marketing Director Matthew Betcher, “The RDS [Responsible Down Standard], for example, does nothing to communicate any information to the consumer beyond the fact that it has been responsibly sourced. It could be processed horribly with much damage to the environment.

“This is again where our TrackMyDown tool came in that was the recipient of the [ISPO] gold award last year. This tool, though, interacts directly with the jacket… reading a reflective finish on the down through the fabric that will tell you everything you want to know about the down inside. It will be a critical tool for any brand using a lot of down as both a consumer education tool as well as a device that can offer authentication that would be impossible to counterfeit.”

“The technology recently won an Innovation Award”

“Allied has spent millions of dollars and countless hours ensuring our position as industry leaders in animal welfare and sustainable processing methods,” says Daniel Uretsky, President of Allied Feather and Down, “That includes an investment in retail technology and innovation for our brand partners, as well as consumer-facing traceability down to the very batch.”

The Optix Smart iMirror (the iMirror is from NOBAL Technologies, with the embedded scanner cominng from Optix) is available to retail locations and Allied brand partner flagship stores as of January 2020. We got up close with it at ISPO in Munich recently, and the technology recently won an Innovation Award at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Denver.

The future, mate? We’re living in it.

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