An OD+ZT Collaboration | The Cobalt Blue Down Vest

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When you’re commemorating your 70th year in business, and this young ten year old company comes along asking to collaborate, some questions must have undoubtedly come up internally over at Zanter. Tracing their roots back to post-WWII Japan, Zanter have established themselves as the first and longest running purveyors of down wear in Japan. Fulfilling the outerwear needs of Japanese researchers and mountaineers in the most unforgiving of environments, has fueled the brand to continue to innovate and bring warmth and joy to all that don their outerwear. Over their 60+ year history, Zanter have supplied the likes of the Manaslu Expedition Corps, along with countless Arctic and Antarctic research expeditions. Skip forward to the 21st century and Zanter show no slowing down of supporting Japanese explorers to brave the harshest conditions on the planet.

The ODZT001 Cobalt Blue Down Vest ($350)

Our approach to the design came down to give one of Zanter’s historic pieces a color pop that would work well with the indigo hues that fuel the site. The design process begins at the core, the shell. We started with the design board vision of creating a piece that would pair beautifully with denim while providing equal parts function & versatility. Switching up the subtle shell for a bold cobalt blue, came after much deliberation both internally within our team, and with the Zanter crew during our meetings. Ultimately, it just made the most sense for us to roll our our inaugural collab with the storied brand on a blue note. 
The collaboration was also strongly contingent on one important element. Size. Zanter down vests, gilets or whatever else you may call them, have never been produced up to XL. L has been the biggest size up to this point, which fits more like a US M. So the size XL we designed for Zanter fits and feels like a classic US L.

Quantifying warmth - Down fill power

It's quite hard to articulate just how unbelievably warm Zanter's outerwear pieces are, but we will let the numbers do the talking here. In down wear terms, there is a figure that suggests the number of cubic inches that one ounce of down feather occupies, and it is known as Fill Power (FP). Clocking in at 800FP, this dizzying number is undeniable proof that Zanter's down wear is easily capable of combatting sub-zero temperatures.
Further testemant of the lengths that Zanter have gone to guarantee the best insulation possible, is the use of the highest quality down. The quantaties of such feathers are extremely scarce, to say the least. At the most, only 10g can be found on the chest area of a suitable Waterfowl. The quality of feathers is also greatly affected by breeding method, environment and feed during infancy. These carefully selected feathers then go through a thorough process of washing, drying, dehydration, sterilization and dust removal which results in Down that not only has excellent heat retention properties, but is also durable and sanitary.

Digging into the details

The 4-layer outer shell construction of this vest guarantees unbeatable insulation. Zanter have managed to achieve all of this while keeping the aesthetic sleek and overall weight to a minimum. What's more, with the inclusion of hand warmer pockets and a double-secured front zipper+snap button opening, you'll be able to take on those chilly days with impunity.
While we first went through the cycle of trying a variety of different liner colors to offset the cobalt blue outer shell, it was eventually the cobalt blue liner which paired the best for us. Switching the YKK Japan© classic black buttons for Metallic Gray hit all the feels to complete the aesthetic we were aiming for.
  • The "RF-20" Cobalt Blue color that we fell in love with to use for the shell
  • Selecting the Cobalt Blue color for the lining
  • A tough one to decide given YKK's stellar selection of snap buttons. We eventually opted for a stealthy Meta Dark Gray color

Behind the scenes

Working closely with the Zanter team to bring this project to fruition has been an absolute blast. It's not everyday that you get to collaborate with Japan's first down jacket purveyor. Thanks to their knowledge and guidance we were able to nail each step of the design process, in order to bring to Denimheads around the world an outerwear piece that is true to our indigo DNA.

Sizing

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The OD+ZT Cobalt Blue Down Vest drops on 10/22 @ Midnight (JST)

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