Environmentally responsible clothing can mean anything. It could mean that it is made from organic cotton, hemp or bamboo. In this case, Zegna has created the Ecotech Solar Jacket from its Zegna Sport line of clothing. All the materials used in the jacket are made from recycled plastic bottles. The company calls this process “Ecotech”. The jacket is not only made out of recycled plastic material but has detachable solar panels. It also has a nifty warming unit in the neck and a pocket for hooking your small electronics to a recharging cable. Of course Zegna has only designed this jacket for men. Women apparently don’t need such things.
Zegna is not the first company to use recycled soda bottles. Polartec has been recycled drink bottles and recycled polyester fibers for years in the making of their fleece products. However, Zegna has upped the ante by adding a renewable energy source.
The exterior, lining, seem tapes and padding of the jacket are all made from recycled plastic. The jacket doesn’t look like Polartec’s fleece but rather like thickly lined stylish micro fabric type outerwear. The taped seams help keep the rain and wind out while the outer shell is highly water resistant.
The solar panels are on the jacket sleeves and connected by “textile leads” to a lithium battery housed inside the inner pocket. The solar panels and battery can be removed for washing or to place in the sun to continue recharging the battery when the jacket isn’t being worn.
The solar cells and battery can be used to recharge handheld devices or to power the heating element in the detachable neoprene collar. The battery is fully charged after four to five hours of sunlight. Adaptor sets for various devices are provided with the jacket. The battery and collar are both detachable so that devices can be directly charged by the solar panels.
The jacket uses magnets for its detachable hood and hidden in the tapes in the sleeves. The solar panels are connected with “electronic fastness snaps”. All of which adds yet more technology to this already high tech garment.
Zegna has created a really nice looking jacket with enough high tech additions to make this any male gadget lovers dream coat. For those of us of the female persuasion, I guess we just have to wait until Diane von Furstenberg decides to go high tech.