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Down Jackets Are All the Rage (February 7, 2007)

Women's down jackets (MONCLER)
With winter in full swing, down jackets, prized for their combination of warmth and light weight, have taken over the streets. Down jackets are made of quilted nylon fabric stuffed with the breast down (the inner layer of fine feathers) of waterfowl, generally goose or duck. They are durable, extremely warm, and allow the wearer to perspire without losing body heat. These characteristics have made down jackets a perennial favorite of hikers and skiers and have given the jackets a sporty image. This season, however, down jackets have taken on a more chic air, and they are showing up in an array of designs to suit all fashion tastes.

Down jackets for men (MONCLER)
Designer Down
Many down jackets these days have the look of designer high fashion. Some are made of thin fabrics with ultrasoft textures; some help to give the wearer a slim silhouette; and some come in sophisticated colors with a metallic or shiny finish. This winter's "designer down" styles run the gamut of fashion tastes: short, hooded jackets; elegant half-coats with nipped-in waists; glamorous ones made of metallic fabrics; cute bolero-style ones with wide collars; and chic ones with fur trim at the collar and sleeves. Fancy styles and vivid colors (pinks, purples, greens, reds) are finding the most favor. Down jackets have surpassed blouson-style coats and other favorite coat styles as the city outerwear of choice.

The fan base for the new down jackets extends beyond young women to include men, whose tastes tend to run toward the outdoorsy down jacket style, the slim-fitting "mode" style, or the "sexy wild" style (defined by black, enameled-looking fabric and fur trim).

Down jackets in all price ranges are flying off the store shelves. At the high end, creations by French outerwear label Moncler and other designer houses are selling for over ¥100,000 ($840 at ¥119 to the dollar). Meanwhile, more casual brands have come out with down jackets at reasonable prices around ¥10,000 ($84).

The jackets come in a range of colors. (Color & Design Research Room of Kyoritsu Women's Junior College)

High-Tech Down
Adding impetus to the down craze are sporting-goods manufacturers, whose relentless pursuit of function has produced jackets that are warmer and more lightweight than ever. High-tech down is taking the market by storm. The sports brand Mizuno has reduced the volume of its jackets and added a unique lining that absorbs moisture and generates heat. The resulting garment, designed to reduce the need for layering, retails for ¥15,540 (around $130). Meanwhile, Courreges Sports Futur, Descente's womenswear brand, offers a down jacket for ¥37,800 ($317). The fabric is treated with a water-soluble ceramic spray that emits far-infrared rays, increasing warmth and combating bacteria.

This season's feather-filled jackets are not only functional; they are down-right fashionable.

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Copyright (c) 2007 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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