Is It Worth It: Moncler Jackets

Moncler has been making puffy jackets since the 1950s and they’ve been around for a while and they’ve become quite iconic. The classic versions of the puffy down jackets retail anywhere from $ 1100 to $ 1500 which is quite an investment so reason enough to determine whether it’s worth it or not.

Moncler History

Moncler is pronounced that way because it’s derived from the name of a town, Monestier-de-Clermont. If you want to learn how to properly pronounce other luxury brand names, please check out this video here.

Monestier-de-Clermont

Originally, Moncler was established as a maker of quilted sleeping bags in 1952. Even though they’re most well known for their puffy down jackets, they didn’t invent them, that honor actually goes to Eddie Bauer who came up with the idea in 1936.  Ever since its inception, Moncler produced down products but they were more utilitarian and meant for workers who were out on the mountain. Eventually, a French Mountaineer by the name of Lionel Terray approached Moncler and asked if they could make jackets for his expeditions. They accepted the challenge and from that point forward, they were the providers of exhibition gear for many mountaineering groups.

For example in 1954, Moncler outfitted the first crew that successfully climbed the K2. By 1968, Moncler had become so popular and well known that they were named the official supplier of the French National Ski Team.  With the spotlight on the company, Moncler decided to change their logo from the Mount Eguit to the cockerel which is still the Moncler logo today. The iconic Moncler puffy down jacket, as we know it today, came about to be in the 1980s. Young Italian men dubbed the paninari started wearing work wear such as the brightly colored puffy jackets from Moncler as well as timberland boots as part of their subculture.

Moncler responded to the trend by adding a shiny finish to their jackets as well as fur trimmings. In 2003, Moncler was purchased by the Italian entrepreneur Remo Ruffini and he moved their headquarters to Milan that remains today. Under new direction, Moncler decided to focus more on the fashion side of things rather than the expedition based quality segment. Because of that, they came up with the Gamme Rouge collection.

Vintage Moncler

At around at the same time, Giambattista Valli started designing for Moncler. Today, Moncler is truly a fashion brand that prices their products in the luxury range. Because of that, Moncler jackets are no longer target to sporty outdoorsman or expeditioners. Instead, they show up at Fashion Week and that’s the realm now.

Interestingly, they claim that they still focus on expedition gear, for some reason though, it’s not for sale. Nevertheless, Moncler puffy down jackets have become a true status symbol from many out there and as a consequence, they’re faked a lot. So obviously, Moncler has some history to it even though they’re now more focused on the fashion side of things.

Moncler Quality Hallmarks

So let’s look at the jacket, we bought two of their more iconic styles which are short and hip length puffy with a shiny satin-like finish. One is red, the other one is blue which also happens to be their brand color. With the finish and the colors, Moncler is intentionally bold in an area where usually navy and black solid dominate the landscape. Moncler jackets are known for their down filling which is very puffy and very insulating and warm. On their website, they claim to have a superior expertise in the down realm.

DIST certified tag on the inside of the down jacket

DIST Certified

All the down fitters using their jackets are DIST certified, that’s a protocol that claims to trace traceability quality and origin of the down. Interestingly, the trade market DIST is actually owned by Moncler so it’s not an independent agency but it’s their own quality control seal, therefore, the quality claims of the down is actually certified by a subsidiary of Moncler and not by an outside third party.

Moncler’s Down Cluster claim

710 Fill Power

They claim to use superior downs yet they use surprisingly few numbers to back those claims up. They claim that their down cluster content is at least 90% with 10% being other feathers. Now, the higher the pure down content, the more insulating the jacket and the higher the quality the jacket will be. To measure the quality of different down jacket compositions, there’s something called the fill power.

Fill power means as much as the volume occupied by the down feathers. An object with a higher fill power takes up more space meaning more air is trapped and therefore, the jacket is more insulating. Essentially, it means that you get more warmth while maintaining the same weight. The fill power of a Moncler down jacket is 710 which means it takes up 710 cubic inches for 30 grams of down which is about 1 ounce. Regular feathers have a fill power of only 300 versus the best quality down have a fill power of 900. Like I said, using waterfowl down would even enable you to get higher fill power numbers but it is not worth it commercially. So at the end of the day, 710 is a good fill number especially if you consider that the down is supposedly plucked only from dead animals.

Down feathers up close

Down Explained

Those are bird feathers that are very small and fine and flexible and because of that, when put together, they create air chambers which insulate both ways. On the one hand, they insulate from the cold air from the outside; on the other hand, they preserve the body heat which is very favorable for animals. Normally, goose downs are the most widely known quality down feathers.

There are others such as waterfowl but they’re usually not commercially used because even better, they’re more expensive. Also, the highest quality down feathers through geese have to be plucked from live animals. Later pluckings are better because the down feathers are even finer than the earlier ones and therefore, they insulate even more. However, plucking the down feathers from live geese means they suffer from extreme pain and stress which is just animal cruelty.

If you follow our channels, you know that we always look for the utmost and quality, however, in this case, we would argue that you should protect the animals and go with down feathers that are plucked from dead geese because they’re still very warm and very functional and you are just not treating animals in a cruel way.

Moncler's iconic red down jacket
Moncler’s iconic red down jacket

Nylon Shell

One of the iconic things of Moncler, it’s a very dense nylon that is extremely lightweight and only weighs in at 33 grams per square meter. It’s also woven in a very fine way so you don’t end up with feathers or down poking through the shell. This high density lacquered nylon that is shiny is something that is pretty unique to Moncler and not many other brands use it.

So if you would like it, it’s a strong reason to invest in the Moncler jacket. If you look at the finishings of the jacket such as the snap buttons, the zippers, and all the metal parts, I’m not too impressed. They seem to be made out of Zamak which is an alloy out of zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper. While really popular in the industry, it’s really inexpensive and solid brass is, in my opinion, a lot better. If you look at the zipper, it’s injection molded plastic and the zipper pulley is Zamak again but overall, a zipper out of the highest quality materials would be machined out of metal with metal teeth, would be a lot smoother, and would be higher in quality.

Moncler jacket zippers
Moncler jacket zippers

Overall, I think the trimmings don’t feel cheap but they’re definitely not the highest quality, they’re more average. I have to say though, the construction of the jacket is really neat, the seams are all straight, there are no loose threads, no down poking through, and it appears to be a quality product right out of box. It also comes with elastic inserts, cuffs that can be tightened, as well as adjusters at the bottom so you can ensure no cold wind comes in.

SRS wearing the blue Moncler jacket
SRS wearing the blue Moncler jacket

Boxy & Simple Fit

It makes you look like a Michelin Man. The sizing is quite strange, they use a numbering system and the jacket I’m wearing here is size 5 even though that corresponds an extra-extra-large, I would say it’s more like a large to extra large in other brands. So if you want a Moncler jacket, size up! Even though the size is larger in their lineup, the sleeves are quite short which is something I don’t like because that’s where you end up with a cold air.

The Moncler barcode

Barcode On The Inside Jacket

Because Moncler jackets are so expensive, they’re faked all over the place and in order to verify that you have a genuine product, Moncler jackets have a barcode on the inside jacket. You can simply scan it with a scanner app which gets you to a website and once you sign up, it’ll tell you what name the jacket should be and what style and if it’s a different style, you know it was copied and it’s a fake or if the number is wrong, it will just tell you to get in touch with support and you know what’s wrong or a fake, as well. 

Lightweight

In terms of weight, it doesn’t tell you exactly how heavy it is but our jackets are really lightweight, just take a look. So if they’re lightweight, do they keep you warm? Yes, absolutely. As we learned before, with a fill power where air is trapped, it definitely keeps you warm. 

SRS wearing a red Moncler jacket
SRS wearing a red Moncler jacket

Maintenance & Care

I haven’t washed mine yet but the instructions seem pretty clear, it’s made to be washed but I could see how eventually, the very thin nylon shell will suffer and get destroyed simply because it’s nylon, it’s not kevlar or something like that and it’s just so thin.

Is a Moncler Puffy Down Jacket Worth It?

Well, I think undeniably for a puffy down jacket, they have very special features such as a shiny finish, they have a good fill power, use quality down, and you don’t end up with a cheap product. The finishes are nice, the trimmings are just average but personally, my big issue is the value. You’re paying a lot of money for something that you can get for less from other companies, at least in terms of functionality. If you buy a Moncler jacket, you definitely pay more for the brand.

Alternative Options

For example, North Face has a jacket with a 700 fill power and a nylon shell that is slightly heavier, 54 grams a square meter versus 33 grams of Moncler but it only retails for 249. On the other hand, Patagonia’s Fitz Rroy jacket has an 800 fill power and a lifetime guarantee and cost about $ 450.  So is it worth it if you buy primarily for the performance? I would say no, why?

You can find many other brands with either the same or a higher fill power for a lower cost and their down is certified by third parties, not by themselves so you can trust a little more into what you’re getting.

On the other hand, if you buy primarily for the status, the style, the loud colors, and the shiny finish, and you like to be fashion-forward and you don’t mind a price tag, then yes, by all means, invest in the Moncler jacket. Like I said, other brands rarely do that satin finish if that’s what you like, go for it.

My Personal Take On Moncler Jackets

It’s not worth it because I simply don’t see the value. I’m also not a big fan of the shiny finish and at the end of the day, it still makes me look like a Michelin Man which is not very flattering at all. If you want to be stylish, instead invest in an overcoat for about the same price, you can almost go custom, you can get something that’s really warm and looks a lot better than a Moncler jacket does.

What’s your take on Moncler Jackets? Feel free to drop a comment below!


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STUDIOUS & White Mountaineering Team up on a Duo of Jackets

Fresh off a collab with adidas, White Mountaineering recently teamed up with Japanese retailer STUDIOUS on a duo of understated jackets. Comprised of an MA-1 Bomber and Down Jacket, the release continues the clean aesthetic of WM to fit the refined styling of the expansive select shop.

Done in classic black and khaki, the MA-1 channels elements of varsity jackets with a loose construction and snap button closure. Branding plays a major part in the design of the piece, as White Mountaineering is clearly spelled out on the back on the back of the jacket. Available in black, red and navy, the hooded Down Jacket is constructed of a high-density nylon that functions with the paneled design and down filling to keep you warm in the colder months ahead.

Check out the collaborative MA-1 Jacket and Down Jacket above and look for them to be available at STUDIOUS locations December 7.

For more contemporary fashion, The Trilogy Tapes returned with a new range of graphic-driven releases.

STUDIOUS Hong Kong
Fashion Walk Shop BG/F
13-15 Cleveland Street
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Hong Kong

STUDIOUS Harajuku
1F, 4-26-32, Jingumae
Shibuya, Tokyo
Japan

Click here to view full gallery at HYPEBEAST




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