MUSTO’s designer Darren Bradford on the Arctic Pro Down Parka
Questions answered by Darren Bradford, the Creative Director at MUSTO.
What was your starting point for the Arctic Pro Down Parka?
“Based on 50 years experience of engineering the world’s leading offshore sailing products, the aim was to create an Arctic Pro Down Parka which performed the same but for explorers as well as sailors. We wanted something which would have a high warmth to weight ratio, be incredibly light but at the same time would maintain its heat retention. We needed it to be waterproof, retain the protective functions of an HPX offshore sailing jacket but would withstand the sub zero temperatures of the Arctic.”
What kind of imagery did you research/look at before sketching your first ideas?
“We started with our current HPX Offshore Sailing Jacket design, which has 30 years of innovation working with the Volvo Ocean Race teams. We listened to the professionals about the requirements of their perfect Arctic sailing Jacket.”
What was the trickiest feature to design? And why? How did you solve it?
“As mentioned, many of the design construction features took 30 years to develop, and so all this knowledge from the market leaders in the industry formed the basic framework for the Arctic Pro. It owes its roots to these many ocean racers with the best technical innovations a by-product of our work. GORE-TEX® was key for the ultimate performance, with its high breathability, windproof and durably waterproof qualities. PrimaLoft Gold ® for its development in waterproof down and using the lightest but warmest insulation there is available, and using photoluminescence technology rather than reflectors as a matter of safety in the dusk rather than reflect light in sailors eyes which can cause momentary confusion.”
What do you like best about the final design?
“Authenticity and our sailing roots are at the heart of this design. Years of experience at the highest level of MUSTO offshore sailing in conjunction with sportspeople at the top of their game, facing the most extreme conditions on the planet, to create something new that we’ve not seen on the market. The perfect blend.”
What has the feedback been like from those who have worn it? Tell us about how you worked with Nikki Woodroffe?
“She was incredibly pleased with the design and function of the jacket, a blessing since she had to endure wind chill of -40 degrees Celsius. Nikki has been a supporter of MUSTO for over 20 years, and was part of the Jimmy Cornell Blue Odyssey Campaign who approached MUSTO for kit for their adventure to the North West Passage. We invited Nikki in to our offices to tell the design and marketing teams about her adventure, when we discovered exactly what was involved, and took it from there. She provided regular feedback in all conditions. We loved her passion, and commitment and were thrilled that she was venturing into exactly where the jacket was designed to be tested to its limit. Her favourite quality was the warmth, when sitting on deck during night watches and she also praised the feminine fit, the high padded collar gave her warmth around the neck unlike other sailing jackets, the fleece lined pockets were perfect for keeping her hands warm between sail changes, and she felt like it was a giant sleeping bag.”