Update: Ventile has informed us that this fabric is now commercially available, and that it already has a lot of interest from designers. The delivery date for these products however, is dependent on the production teams of those individual brands.
Original Story: Ventile is known for its all-weather, all-action cotton fabrics that hold up against the elements. Its robust materials have a long history, protecting the likes of British RAF pilots and the world’s most famous explorers. Although nowadays, you’re just as likely to find its fabrics on J. Crew and Jil Sander coats as you are on Tilak or Peak Performance mountain jackets.
In reaction to “unnecessary environmental cost,” the Swiss company is exploring how more planet-friendly practices can provide just the same level of protection as its current technologies. As part of that exploration, it has recently declared that it is “PFC-free.”
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are nasty. They are used across many consumer products but because of their resistance to being broken down, they are also found in places such as food and water supplies. This can cause serious health and environmental issues. As such, there has been a huge drive to remove them from our clothing in recent years.
In the outdoor and performance world, it’s the water-repellent properties of PFCs that brands find most appealing. And for years, those brands have relied on PFCs to provide hardwearing products for their consumers. But change is happening. This year has already seen two giants of the industry, GORE-TEX and Polartec, commit to removing harmful chemicals from their products. Ventile is next in line.
The new fabric finish “is the industry’s first renewably sourced water repellent treatment of its kind” and is completely free of PFCs. Instead, it is made from more sustainable materials: “the new finish contains 63% renewably sourced content derived from a variety of plant-based sources.”
In addition to this, Ventile is also careful not to let standards slip. Through rigorous testing, it has developed a durable water repellent (DWR) finish that continues to perform at the high-level its customers expect. This is critical in the pursuit of more sustainable design practices: the replacement product must perform as well as its outdated predecessor, if not better.
Ventile has been committed to more planet-friendly practices for a while, embracing slow fashion habits and recycled cotton waste. Going PFC-free was “the natural next step for our business,” says Ventile Marketing Manager, Daniel Odermatt. We are certainly pleased to see the company take steps in this direction, as it has been criticized in the past for its use of harmful fluorocarbons.
At the time of writing, there are no products that use the new finish, so we can’t yet see it in action. But keep an eye on Ventile’s current partners like C.P. Company, Barbour and Ralph Lauren to see how the groundbreaking new development gets tested for real in the future.
In other plant-based news, PANGAIA has released a collection of leather-free accessories, made with MIRUM.