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DOWNMARK® Certified

DOWNMARK® is the globally recognized symbol of quality issued by the Down Association of Canada, a non-profit organization committed to helping consumers buy genuine down products with confidence.

For over 40 years, they have been the trusted source for information and the only independent group in Canada serving to educate consumers, support the development of the highest quality standards and promote ethical harvesting practices.

To buy with Confidence, Always Look for the DOWNMARK® Label

Quality assurance certification is recognized worldwide as the gold standard for authentic, Down or feather products



DOWNMARK Labels


Do you know why you should look for the blue DOWNMARK® label on your down and feather purchases? Watch this video to learn more:

FAQ about Ethical Down

Do you have more questions? please contact us

  • HOW ARE DOWN AND FEATHERS OBTAINED?

    Down and feathers are normally obtained from goose and duck farms as a by-product of the poultry industry. Birds are not raised for their down but rather for their meat - just like leather is a by-product of the beef industry.

    Modern farms ensure their birds are raised in good conditions because the quality of the meat is significantly better and commands better prices.

  • WHAT IS LIVE PLUCKING?

    Live plucking is an outdated practice where the down and feathers of geese is pulled off their body while the bird is still alive. This method is cruel and causes the bird great distress and physical trauma. (ducks are never live plucked)

    A long time ago, live plucking was used on primitive, small farms in order to maximize everything the farm could generate. It still occasionally happens in isolated areas where small farms have been passed down through generations and they are uninformed of modern animal husbandry.

    The highest loft ever to be consistently tested is 1000 but this is extremely rare. Very high qualities will test at 800. The higher the number, the greater the insulation. Products with a higher loft will be warmer and more lightweight, as less Down is required to fill them.

    Modern farms never do this as:

    Live plucking hurts the birds and often makes them unsuitable for the table. Over 90% of the value of a bird is the meat so it makes no sense.

    It is very expensive as it must be done by hand. Modern methods involve high speed machine plucking after the bird has been dispatched.

    Years ago there was a myth that live plucked down is higher quality. It isn’t! Given that it costs more and there is no demand, this practice has virtually disappeared.

  • WHAT IS FOIE GRAS DOWN?

    Ducks account for 95% of foie gras production, so it is almost impossible to find goose down from this industry. The overfeeding of these birds causes them to grow a very low grade of down which is easily identified and rejected by quality down processors. It is never found in a DOWNMARK certified product.

  • DOES DOWNMARK® SUPPORT HUMANE DOWN HARVESTING?

    Absolutely! We are strong advocates for the sustainable and ethical treatment of geese and ducks, and actively support humane harvesting practices. Live pluck and foie gras down is forbidden under DOWNMARK®certification.

  • WHAT IS DOWN?

    Down is the light, fluffy undercoating that geese and ducks grow to keep warm. It consists of millions of filaments that grow from a central quill point and looks a lot like dandelion pods. Almost all Down is a by-product of the food industry.

    Down, a three-dimensional structure, traps air and insulates incredibly well, giving it a natural ability to provide warmth and wick away body moisture. It is popular for manufacturing duvets, pillows, jackets, sleeping bags, cushions and other products.

  • WHAT IS LOFT (FILL POWER)?

    Loft is the number of cubic inches one ounce of Down will fill under specific conditions: The larger, more mature the bird, the higher the loft of its Down.

     

    The highest loft ever to be consistently tested is 1000 but this is extremely rare. Very high qualities will test at 800. The higher the number, the greater the insulation. Products with a higher loft will be warmer and more lightweight, as less Down is required to fill them.

  • TYPES OF FEATHER

    Water birds also grow strong feathers primarily for flying and protection. Feathers have a flat, two-dimensional construction with a hard quill shaft that runs down the middle.

    Feathers offer limited insulation and softness. They are unable to trap air effectively like Down, so manufacturers typically use them in the production of featherbeds. Because they are cheaper than Down, they are often used to fill pillows or used in the middle of Down pillows to add more support and firmness.

     

    Large flight feathers: Found on the wings and tail, and they are often chopped up for use in pillows and featherbeds. After some use, the chopped feather pieces will lie flat on top of one another, resulting in a flat, compressed product.

     

    Small flight feathers: These feathers are quite small. They are naturally flat, so they offer minimal bounce or spring, and are typically used to manufacture lower quality pillows and other feather products.

     

    Body feathers: These feathers have a natural curve to the shaft that prevents them from lying flat, which makes them ideal for pillows and featherbeds. Products using higher-quality body feathers will typically cost more, but offer greater comfort and will last longer than cheaper alternatives.

     

  • HOW IS DOWN & FEATHER PROCESSED?

    Down and feathers are carefully washed, rinsed, dried and sorted into different grades. This is done in a separator consisting of an air compressor and several large bins.

     

    The larger, heavier feathers fall into the first bins, followed by the medium and small feathers. The large, mature Down is next, followed lastly by the smaller immature Down.

     

    The careful cleaning and grading process must be properly done, in order to permanently eliminate odors, and to ensure permanent lofting of the Down.

  • HOW DOES DOWN COMPARE TO OTHER MATERIALS?

    Down is by far the warmest insulating material available and with proper care, it can last far longer than most other materials. In fact, we have seen some Down samples that are still usable after 100+ years.

    When compared with the average life span of synthetic materials - up to 2 years for pillows, and up to 5 years for duvets, coats, and sleeping bags – the value and benefits of Down products is abundantly clear.

  • BENEFITS OF DOWN

    WARMTH

    Down is by far the warmest insulating material available and with proper care, it offers several important benefits. Each ounce of high-quality Down has about 2 million fluffy filaments that interlock and overlap to form a protective layer of still air that keeps warmth in and cold out. It is these tiny pockets of air trapped by the Down fibers that actually do the insulating.

    Down has the natural ability to reloft and mold itself to the body to provide continuous warmth and comfort.


    BREATHABILITY

    Down has a natural ability to breathe and wick away body moisture and perspiration, constantly keeping the body dry and warm. If you have ever worn a polyester shirt in the summer, you know what the difference is in breathability between synthetics and natural fibers.


    SUPERIOR TO SYNTHETICS

    Down gives approximately up to three times the warmth per ounce when compared to synthetics. As a result, far less Down is needed by weight than other fillings, which means a much lighter, warmer product. Synthetics also tend to mat and clump together over time, leaving empty cold spots for the cold to penetrate, while Down continually relofts and molds itself to the body. There is nothing in the known universe that insulates as well as Down.

     

    ALLERGY-FRIENDLY

    High-quality Downs are put through a rigorous cleaning process, which includes special treatments to ensure the Down is hypoallergenic. Some people believe that polyester is  a better alternative to Down for allergy sufferers. Independent research studies prove that the opposite is true.

    In fact, true allergies to Down and feather are extremely rare. Most people are usually allergic to dust mites and keeping your Down and feather products clean and protected can help eliminate most of these problems.


    LONGEVITY & VALUE

    When cared for properly, a high-quality Down can actually last for generations! You will be able to enjoy your products for many years to come.

    Down‘s natural durability and resilience ensures that it can be washed, dried, and easily fluffed up again back to its original, soft and bouncy form.

    A quality Down product will certainly cost more, but it will be warm, cozy, and last for many more years, making it much better value than any other type of insulator.


    SUSTAINABILITY

    Down is a sustainable, eco-friendly material that has been used for thousands of years.   It is naturally occurring and compostable, and all by-products from Down processing are also biodegradable. Down has the lowest carbon footprint of all insulating materials.

  • WHAT IS HUTTERITE DOWN?

    Hutterite Down is farmed by the Hutterite colonies in Alberta, Canada, and is world-renowned as one of the highest quality fills. The best Down comes from mature birds between 6 and 8 months old when the Down clusters are the largest, densest, and strongest. The Down is procured from the strongest and healthiest birds, raised naturally outdoors which provides a level of quality that is unsurpassed. Since the birds are allowed to live until they are fully grown, they provide very large and fine Down. Hutterite Down is treasured for its cozy softness and fill stability.

  • WHAT IS BROME LAKE DOWN?

    100% Canadian Brome Lake duck Down is an excellent natural insulator. The Down is over 75% Down clusters with a 600-loft factor. Brome Lake ducks use breeding methods that value the quality of life of their birds and raise them without antibiotics and growth hormones on a natural diet and access to water.

  • IS WESTEX DOWNMARK CERTIFIED?

    Westex is a proud member of the Down Association of Canada.

     

    The DOWNMARK® quality assurance certification is recognized worldwide as the gold standard for authentic, Down or feather products.

    Consumers who buy products displaying the DOWNMARK® label can rest assured that their Down or feather products are genuine items that have been finished in Canada according to strict standards.

     

    The DOWNMARK® label certifies that the manufacturer has complied with stringent quality assurance requirements, and the product you are about to purchase is made with genuine, high-quality Down or feather materials. The DOWNMARK® certification process ensures members meet and continue to adhere to the quality requirements in order to use the DOWNMARK® label on their products.

  • HOW TO IDENTIFY FAKE DOWN PRODUCTS

    In today’s market, it Is very difficult to know exactly which products are genuine, and which ones are fake. To minimize the risks, it is always best to choose a product from an established, reputable brand. A reputable manufacturer will properly label their product according to Canada’s standards and guidelines, making it easy for you to learn more about the manufacturer so you can better assess the validity of the company’s claims.

    You should also remember, if the price sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Often sellers of “bargain” products misrepresent the fill so they can get away with offering an inferior product at a discounted rate.

     

    Unfortunately there is an increasing number of products on the market that include Down fiber as the fill material. Down fiber is NOT Down. Down fiber is dust that is left over from Down and feather processing. It is important to know that Down fiber is worthless. If you are looking for a genuine Down product, be wary of products made from this material.

For more information visit: WWW.DOWNMARK.ORG