Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eco-Friendly Winter Jackets

Although we've been having mild November weather (to the point that we could have had YITP this month if I had planned time!), cold Canadian winter is fast approaching.

Since I'll be walking 20 minutes to and from the ferry each day again in December, I need to dress warmly. Unfortunately my winter casual doesn't usually include pencil skirts and funky tights for this reason.

Fortunately, the Haligonian winters tend to only start in January.... which potentially means some money saving time to invest in a long lasting, environmentally friendly and fabulous looking coat. Since my last winter jacket was purchased over three years ago, I know I'm not hard on my jackets. They should last years.

Looking into purchasing an environmentally friendly, warm and affordable jacket can get complicated. Many companies may have recycled aspects to their jackets, however most are 'water resistent' or 'water proof'. In order to get them this way, the companies have to spray and treat them with a 'durable water-repellent finish' (DWR) which are typically made with PFOA- the scary non-stick chemical that is polluting people and water globally.

Companies like Patagonia have some recycled polyester options, but the jackets are coated with H2No waterproof coating.... which most likely contains PFOAs. Also, it's very important to read the fine print when considering winter jackets- for example vegans should consider that many jackets are 'European Goose Down' filled (Like the Tres Parka) and not all jackets have recycled polyester.

Aritzia has some neat hemp jackets. However it would appear to be only their 'community' line and there isn't any product information beyond that there is some hemp in the jacket.

Hoodlamb.... eco-gorgeousness:

My favourite option if I had a winter jacket faery OR unlimited funds would be a Hoodlamb coat. These long and short coats are BEAUTIFUL. Unfortunately they are also about 500$ Canadian (saving my pennies!). The long jacket outershell is made from hemp and organic cotton, inner lining cruelty-free fur, hemp, recycled PET and acryl. Outer shell is actually treated with eco-friendly 'hemp organic cellulose' treatment. The short jacket doesn't appear to have this fabulous eco-friendly coating.

(ok, do you LOVE this flag or what?)

Some of their coats support 'Sea Shepherd', an international non-profit marine wildlife organization aimed to end the destruction of ocean habitat and wildlife. (Sea Shepherd website). They're kinda badass, very guerrilla yoga, which I like!

From their site:
'Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.  
Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations'
What about you dear reader? Have any non-PFOA, vegan and eco-friendly coat options?

article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com


  1. Bloody clever name too: "Hoodlamb." That and they don't use lambs at all. Brilliant.

  2. Vintage or second hand is definitely one way to go...cheaper too! Have you checked Kijiji? I have had my winter coat (long black wool) for 17 years. It is warm and still in great shape. I also have one for hiking and more outdoor activities and although not "eco" in that it has the water-proofing, etc. I have had it for 8 years and with the exception of some issues with the velcro on the wrists (easily fixable) it is still going strong!

    I think no matter what you buy it should be bought to last because no matter how eco the materials, it still requires energy and raw materials to make so buying eco often (unless you are buying vintage or second hand) can potentially be worse than buying non-eco every decade or more. It is all a balance...

  3. @Jethero: haha so true!

    @EcoGrrl and Alli: yes! Vintage or second hand can definitely be a fantastic option. I'm really looking for something that will be my ONE winter coat- so stylish AND super warm at the same time.

    This makes it a bit tricky- I'll check out kijiji, but will also consider investing in a winter jacket that will last and that is very environmentally friendly. (but shipping definitely is a concern).

  4. Those Hoodlamb jackets look gorgeous!! Thanks for the ideas, as I am shopping around myself. Sometimes it's hard to get good quality for a reasonable price. If only I lived somewhere with winters that were less harsh... :)

  5. You want to try our luck at the consignment shops? Might be better stuff than on Kijiji/thrift stores...it could be fun! :)

  6. While definitely NOT environmentally friendly, I can tell you that I bought a hooded wool coat from a mainstream store 4 years ago now and it has been one of the best investments. The wool naturally repels and easily dries and the hood keeps me warm. It's shaped like a trench so it functions equally well for business or weekend wear, and I get many compliments on it each year. It probably wasn't the healthiest option but I intend to get another 5-10 years out of it, if not more.....AND it withstands our rainy Oregon winters...

  7. I have not bought a new coat in many years. There are great coats available in charity/second-hand shops, at low and high ends of the cost spectrum. A few years ago while in England I found a fantastic "pre-worn" sheepskin jacket for the equivalent of about $15US. (Not an option for vegans obviously but on the other hand, no additional animal or synthetic materials required). There are also great wool coats - not waterproof but I wear wool all the time and unless it's pouring rain it dries fairly quickly and doesn't suffer. And since in many cases I've paid very little for it, I'm not afraid to get it wet. But even if you get a "waterproof" vintage coat, you're being very eco-friendly because you are reusing/recycling.

  8. My eco-friendly coat option is to keep wearing the same coat I've had for the past 12 years (it's a peacoat), but I don't think that's what you were asking.

  9. The "lamb" in hoodlamb is polyester, I believe. I had to return one. And it is the only "natural" one I found that was a real winter coat.

    1. That's too bad that you had to return one. From their website (and from the specs I received with my jacket):
      55% hemp, 45% cotton outer shell
      - 20% hemp fake fur (developed uniquely for the HoodLamb)
      - water wind resistant
      - detachable hood
      - 9 mm double zipper with custom zipper pull
      - big front utility pockets
      - music device friendly, includes hole in pocket flap for speaker wires and elastic loops at the neck to secure wires
      - secret pocket with special Cannaflage lining
      - custom gift box with hemp carry handle
      - patented rolling paper dispenser

      I'm sure there is polyester (ie the recycled PET), however the outershell is made from cotton and hemp :)


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