A parka to keep you warm and the North cold
Nov 13, 2019

Tired of being labeled a resident of “flyover country,” Minnesota entrepreneur Eric Dayton launched retail store Askov Finlayson several years ago to celebrate the region and our cold winters.

He started with a hat.

Beginning with 150 stocking caps emblazoned with “North” at his store, Askov Finlayson, the identity caught on, with professional sports teams and even the state tourism board adopting the moniker as a rallying cry. “North” has become a regional movement.

It has also helped Eric define Askov Finlayson’s climate-focused mission to “Keep The North Cold” – without cold, snowy winters, what would the North be, anyway?

That’s what brought him to 3M for his latest offering – an expedition-level Winter Parka that needed to have cold-fighting capabilities while helping to reduce his company’s carbon footprint.

The answer: the new 3M™ Thinsulate™ 100% Recycled Featherless Insulation. Its recycled polyester material gives excellent protection even in extreme conditions while also being more durable than natural outwear materials tend to be. It also offers very high protection against moisture and humidity.

The new featherless insulation is part of 3M's work to help outerwear manufacturers reach their sustainability goals and is part of 3M's strategic focus on advancing a circular economy that designs out waste, keeps products and materials in use and integrates more renewable raw materials.

The 3M Thinsulate Insulation team had been developing filling for coats made with recycled content for years, but to reach 100%, 3M scientist Ken Cox and his team at the 3M Thinsulate Global Design Lab turned to new ways to use fibers made from recycled plastic bottles.

But it wasn't just a matter of switching out virgin materials for recycled. The new product still needed to perform. The engineers who have developed 3M Thinsulate Insulation test and prove its ability to perform in terms of weight and warmth using thermal imagery and numerous durability tests. This calls upon 3M's technology expertise in nonwoven materials, polymer processing, adhesives, thermal management and sustainability.

"We're really good at optimizing how to put the construction of Thinsulate together," said Mike Mandanas, lab manager, 3M Home Care Division. "We use multiple recycled fibers with different characteristics to be the best-performing product we can design."

The featherless insulation became available in September – perfect timing for the Winter Parka. Ninety percent recyclable, according to Askov Finlayson, the parka recently hit the market and is available online and at Dayton’s Minneapolis store. It’s already garnered coverage by FastCompany and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper.

Amy Haase, a marketing communicator with 3M’s Home Care Division, said the focus on making products that are more sustainable has to do with consumers.

"[They] are demanding it more. They want to do good, but the product still has to perform. That's the most important part," she said. "If we can make a product with recycled content that performs just as well as the original, that's what they'll choose."

Learn more about 3M Thinsulate Insulation.

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