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Article: First commercialization of 100% plant-based down “Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE” Media announcement event report

First commercialization of 100% plant-based down “Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE” Media announcement event report

KAPOK KNOT has announced ``Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE'', a 100% plant-based down product.

Online lottery sales will start from July 7th (Thursday). The sale is limited to 3 pieces, and for those who purchase it, we will prepare it on a semi-order basis.

This time, we will bring you a report of the media announcement talk event held on Thursday, June 23rd, prior to the start of lottery sales. We invited Fukai, representative of KAPOK KNOT, designer Mitsushio, and Mr. Nishida, representative of the Toray Group project "MOONRAKERS", which provided the materials, as guests, and we had a lively discussion about fashion and the future of plant-based plants. Ta.

【table of contents】

・Speaker profile

~Media announcement event~

・Announcement of 100% plant-based down “Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE”

・The hardships it took to create 100% plant-based down

・Benefits brought by plant-based materials

・100% plant-based x future of fashion


Speaker profile


Representative Director Yoshito Fukai

After graduating from Keio University in 2014, he worked for a real estate venture and a major textile manufacturer before joining his family business, Futaba Shoji Co., Ltd., an apparel manufacturer founded 75 years ago. He had doubts about the current apparel industry, which is based on mass production and mass disposal, but at the end of 2018, he encountered Kapok and was convinced of his destiny. Established KAPOK JAPAN in January 2020.


Designer/Brand Director Kuniaki Manshio

Worked as chief designer for Italian luxury brand "CoSTUME NATIONAL" and Tokyo Collection brand "EZUMi". After retiring, he moved to the United States and worked as an art director focusing on fashion and food, and then gained experience as a branding planner and communication designer at btrax, a UX design company in San Francisco. Currently working as a brand director and fashion designer as CBO of KAPOK JAPAN.

Toray Group Diplomode Co., Ltd.

Guest: Makoto Nishida, representative of project “MOONRAKERS”

Joined Toray in 1993. He was involved in many hit products in the yarn team he was assigned to, and later took on an in-house venture to create final products using polyester fleece. In 2020, we launched the D2C project "MOONRKAERS®", which aims to create "future fashion using advanced materials", and in April 2022, we established Diplomode Co., Ltd. to promote this business within Toray Group. Appointed as project representative.

Announcement of 100% plant-based down “Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE”

Fukai ) Before the announcement, I would like to look back a little on KAPOK KNOT so far. KAPOK KNOT is a fashion brand that uses kapok, a material derived from tree nuts, and has been in existence for three years this year. Kapok, which grows naturally in Indonesia, is one-eighth the weight of traditional cotton and has the ability to absorb moisture and generate heat, but it is also a sustainable material that does not require cutting down trees or harming animals.

It was in the first year of the brand's establishment that we were promoting the appeal of Kapok. The second year was a supply chain story called "Farm to Fashion." From the procurement of raw materials to the time the product reaches the customer, we understand who thinks and how they create the product, and deliver it to the customer with our own hands. The brand was explained using phrases that expressed this feeling.


This year, the third year, the brand has introduced a new concept: “Blur the line.” The word "Blur" means to obscure or blur in English. For example, cities and nature, producers and consumers, fashionable clothes and sustainable manufacturing. This is a new concept of creating a brand by blurring the boundaries between each and combining the best parts.


The icon of this new concept is "Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE," a 100% plant-based down product that we are announcing today . The product name "2030" was chosen with the dream of a future in which 100% plant-based down will be readily available to anyone by 2030.

Manshio ) I would like to introduce the thoughts and design that went into creating "Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE." KAPOK JAPAN values ​​its mission of "delivering sustainable and functional materials to the world." We are particular about using plant-based and environmentally friendly materials, and from last year we began calculating the carbon footprint (a number that represents how much carbon dioxide is generated to make one item) and clearly indicating it on product tags.


As a result, we realized that using kapok can reduce the carbon footprint by approximately one-tenth compared to down made from traditional feathers, which made us realize once again the great impact of plant-based products. We have been trying to find ways to change the batting from kapok to plant-based materials, and about a year ago we completed a trench coat that is 100% plant-based.

However, as a result, this coat became very heavy. Many plant-based materials tend to be heavier than conventional materials, so we gave up on releasing them as products.


At that time, we decided to do a "Nihonbashi x Fashion" installation at a certain event, and we had the opportunity to collaborate with Toray. Based on the connections we had made, we were discussing 100% plant-based down, and when we heard that Toray had completed a plant-based material with the same strength as nylon, we decided to provide them with the material . Down 2030: FLARE ” was born.

Rather than a regular down jacket, we aimed for a dress-like design that would be easy to match with classic attire. As the word "sustainable" becomes a trend, this dress reflects our desire to create something that is both sustainable and fashionable and that makes people excited when they look in the mirror.


The outer material is Ecodia®️N510 bio-nylon developed by Toray, the sleeves are filled with 100% kapok cotton, and the body is made of sheet-like material that is a mixture of kapok and tencel.


Since there is no factory with experience in making plant-based outerwear, and currently mass production is not possible, we will be offering a limited edition of 3 pieces at a price of 280,000 yen. It will be sold by lottery, and the winners will have their measurements taken and a semi-customized product tailored to them will be prepared.

The hardships it took to create 100% plant-based down

(Fukai ) As Mitsushio mentioned, when I made a 100% plant-based trench coat last year, I was very worried about whether or not I should commercialize it. Normally, we score items based on three indicators: "Function," "Design," and "Sustainability," and decide whether to commercialize them or not. Last year's trench coat received high scores for ``sustainability'' and ``design,'' but it was heavy and somewhat lacking in functionality, so we ultimately decided not to commercialize it.


This time, I was lucky enough to come across Toray's "Ecodia®️N510" and was able to commercialize "Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE", but are there other plant-based materials out there? Is not it?


Nishida ) Plant-derived nylon has existed for a long time, but few companies have made it with a fineness (thickness of fibers or threads) as fine as ``Ecodia®️N510''. If it is made from petroleum as in the past, it can be stably produced even with fine fineness, but it is difficult to make thin cloth with low purity raw materials. I believe we have achieved this with the Ecodia®️N510.


Fukai ) That's right. I think it is an honor to be able to incorporate the results of Toray's many years of development into a product. And this time, I feel strongly about the power of design.

Manshio ) Comfortable and convenient clothes are a given. I don't think users will be able to adopt it if it doesn't have something new, such as sustainable elements or fashion. In that respect, I think this ``Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE'' has been created into a truly beautiful product. By the way, this time the production was so fast that I couldn't ask the factory to do it, so I sewed the final touches (lol)


Nishida ) "Ecodia®️N510" was released in January 2022, and the product was released in June, which is unprecedented for Toray. We are a company that is constantly challenging ourselves to create cutting-edge materials, and this really surprised us as a company.

Benefits of plant-based materials

Fukai : The easiest thing to understand is the carbon footprint that was mentioned earlier. To be honest, we didn't know just how low the environmental impact we were making until we calculated the actual carbon footprint of our products last year. When we actually put it out, we found that compared to the 300 kg-CO2 produced by regular feather down, kapok produces only one-tenth the CO2. If all down was replaced with kapok, I think it would have a huge impact.

In addition, in the case of kapok, its moisture absorption and heat generation properties are similar to that of down feathers, and it is also lightweight, so I think it has potential in terms of functionality.

Fukai ) By the way, was it because of customer requests that Toray began developing plant-based nylon? Or did you proceed independently?

Nishida ) It's the latter. There was a long time when it was said that ``eco doesn't make money''...but recently, I feel that there is a trend in the development of eco-related technology. As Toray is a synthetic fiber manufacturer, we have spent a lot of time developing petroleum-based materials, but recently we have become concerned that petroleum will someday run out. With this situation in mind, we are conducting research and development with a sense of mission to change things to be sustainable.

Fukai ) That’s right!

In terms of plant-derived power, we publish an annual report that summarizes our company's activities and results over the past year, and quantify them in that report.

I mentioned earlier that by using kapok, the carbon footprint has been reduced to about one-tenth of the conventional amount, and the report introduces the figure that the total annual amount has been reduced by about 4 tons. Masu. However, in response to this, we received a question from a customer: ``How big is it in terms of global numbers?''

To begin with, global carbon dioxide emissions are said to be 33 billion tons, of which the apparel and fashion industry is said to account for approximately 10%. In other words, what we have reduced is a very small amount of 4 tons out of 3 billion tons. So, is there no point in what we're doing? If you ask me, that's definitely not the case.

As Manshio mentioned earlier, by switching from animal- or petroleum-based products to plant-based products, the reduction will be reduced to about one-tenth. I think it is meaningful to let the world know that such options exist. First of all, we will try it out with kapok, and maybe others will try it out with other materials that are currently attracting renewed attention, such as hemp or bamboo. We believe that these numbers are full of expectations for the future.

100% plant-based x the future of fashion

Nishida : Following the nylon we created this time, we would like to make polyester, the king of synthetic fibers, 100% plant-based. This is because we believe that if we can achieve this, we will be able to contribute to a truly sustainable society.

As we are currently progressing with various developments, I honestly think that within 10 years, it would not be strange for everything to be replaced by plant-based systems. Even now, we still offer materials that are partially made from plants, which are called "partially bio-based."


Fukai ) It may have a similar feeling to why we added “2030” to the name of this product!


Normally, a press conference is a place to sell products, but we only sell a limited edition of three pieces. First of all, we believe that there is value in letting people know that we have created a 100% plant-based down product! Once we spread the word that there are 100% plant-based options out there, and the world changes to a place where we can easily get them, I think it would be a good idea to change the choices we make on a daily basis.


Manshio ) From a designer's perspective, there are still few options when it comes to eco-friendly materials. Virgin polyester is often more durable than recycled polyester, so we sometimes use virgin polyester because we think it's more sustainable to have people wear it for a long time. I feel that if eco-friendly materials with excellent functionality such as durability and water repellency come out, the possibilities will expand even further.


In the future, we would like to create 100% plant-based products that can be delivered to even more customers. Because it is an alternative to down, we want to create products that look like down. Although we are not selling it yet this time, the second product called ``Plant-Based Down 2030: SKELETON '' has already been completed. This is a down-like outerwear made with a transparent outer material to show that it contains kapok.


Manshio ) Although the recently announced "Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE" is 100% plant-based, it is one of the achievements that we have completed with a product of such quality that it is hard to notice that it is made from plants. I think it is. When something is claimed to be sustainable, it tends to sound earthy, but because Toray's ``Ecodia®️N510'' is made of extremely thin material, we have created a fashionable item that you can choose based on its design.

I think the second result is that we now have a clear path to reducing our carbon footprint in the future. I would be happy if I could spread the word about this product to people around the world and let them know that 100% plant-based products are an option.

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“Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE” will be sold by lottery starting July 7th (Thursday).

If you are interested, please see the product page below for more details.

Plant-Based Down 2030: FLARE product page