About Mizusawa Down
Mizusawa Down – the product that remarkably became ALLTERRAIN. Never before in Descente’s long experience has one single garment so dramatically evolved into a whole product category. The garment takes its name from Descente’s apparel factory, with its distinctive manufacturing capabilities, located in the town formerly known as Mizusawa, but now as Oshu City, in Iwate Prefecture, in the northern part of Japan’s main island.
Since its very first appearance in 2008, this remarkably, yet deceptively simple-looking jacket, has put daylight between itself and all down jackets that went before. And buoyed by its extraordinary popularity, not only in Japan but around the world, it continues to break new ground and expand its fan base further. With its concealed package of cutting edge technological features, it was born out of the vision of Descente’s talented staff and the application of its vast accumulation of specialist knowledge and experience.
The Design and Construction of
the Mizusawa Down Jacket
The starting point for it all was the overwhelming desire to create a unique, highly technical down jacket fundamentally different in concept from any that had ever existed before, utilising all the resources of Descente’s very capable designers and craftsmen. In all down jackets prior to this time, the technical focus had tended to narrow down to two main issues – lightness and the quality of the down itself (the so called “fill power”). Starting in 2007, however, Descente opted for a whole new approach, starting with a very hard look at what wearers thought were their weak, or problem points. And they were very soon obvious. Firstly, they performed poorly in rain or snowy conditions, with moisture easily penetrating through the holes made by machine stitched seams, and when the down became wet, it lost heat rather than retained it. Furthermore, feathers tended to work themselves out and protrude through holes in the stitching.
To overcome these problems, it was decided to eliminate the stitching holding the down pack in place entirely, replacing it with a special heat welding technique. Additionally, in places where stitching was unavoidable, such as where sleeves attached, the lines were backed on the inside by seam sealing tape. These technical changes dramatically improved comfort and wearability in rain and snow, with waterproofing and water resistance giving the down jacket a whole new lease on life. By any measure, this is a very high tech down jacket, from its unique laser cut patterns, the structure of the down pack, the heat welded seams, and even the way the down is actually packed inside. Through all these steps, from beginning to final product, each garment passes through the hands of highly trained and very experienced technicians. The superior design capabilities and the wealth of technology brought to bear is complemented perfectly by the passion for perfection of every one of these skilled artisans.