SPA brands tarred and feathered over light down jackets

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SPA brands tarred and feathered over light down jackets

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Over half of the down jackets sold by low-price fashion brands like Uniqlo and Zara have too little filling or a low level of billowing, the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) said yesterday.

In November, Consumers Korea, in cooperation with the Fair Trade Commission, tested 15 winter jackets from 10 SPA brands to see if they conformed to local quality standards.

SPA brands are known for their quick turnaround from the catwalk to the high street. They are produced by fashion houses that offer cheaper prices on high-quality clothing by managing everything from the retail process to fashion design, production, distribution and sales.

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The competition to make warm but thin down jackets among such brands has been heating up in recent years as they bid to lure consumer who shy away from such clothing for fear of looking buff.

However, the desire to make jackets thinner overwhelmed the need to make them warm at many fashion houses, based on the results of the local consumer agency’s investigation.

A total of seven jackets from Japanese brand Uniqlo, Spain’s Zara, Gap and Forever 21, both American, and Korea’s Mixxo and Codes Combine fell short of Korean standards due to the low level of billowing used, the KCA said.

One coat from U.S. brand Mango, one from Zara and one from Mixxo also failed to meet the local standard as they have too little filling, it added.

“Although lighter down jackets have been popular recently, jackets with more filling are much warmer,” it said in a release. “Consumers should also consider what purpose they would like to wear their down jacket for when choosing which one to buy.”

The agency urges consumers to check the ratio of feathers to downy hair in the filling, but such information is not available on most winter jackets.

“Jackets with more downy hair are warmer and softer but feathers, especially long ones, are too stiff and they can even damage the outer shell of the garment,” the agency said.

It added that 13 of the 15 jackets tested did not provide such information, and said it will ask the Korea Agency for Technology and Standards to address the situation.



By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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