Allied Feather & Down is to incorporate technology that allows the reading and verification of down inside garments in what it says is the "next generation of traceability and accountability in down insulation for bedding and garments".

The Optix iMirror, produced by Nobal Technologies, features an embedded scanner that can read an organic taggant signature impregnated on the down insulation inside each Allied filled garment.

Consumers can have their garment read in real-time in front of the Optix iMirror and interact and discover where their down comes from, what its performance characteristics are, how to care for it after purchase, and — on the retail front — see other colours and styles of the product that might be in stock.

"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 beyond the fact that it has been certified as responsibly sourced. It could be processed horribly with much damage to the environment. This is where our TrackMyDown tool came in.

"The Optix iMirror, however, interacts directly with the jacket, reading a reflective finish on the down through the fabric, and will tell you everything you want to know about the down inside. It will be a critical tool for any brand as both a consumer education tool as well as a device that can offer authentication and make material impossible to counterfeit."

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

"We knew it was necessary to develop a tool that would engage the potential purchaser of a down product to help them make more informed decisions, and we continue to be at the forefront of global issues such as Palm Oil Free Certification and reduction of microplastics in the environment. We always saw the RDS and other standards as the foundation for the real work, and now we are able to communicate source complexities, environmental benefits and cleanliness to the consumer directly and through our brand partners at point of purchase."