Puffer jackets have been worn by outdoorsmen, rappers, the military, luxury shoppers, and—eventually—everyone. Today, the market is still heating up.
But as puffer jackets are worn by more people around the world, the difference between high- and low-end options can be increasingly difficult to parse. Are North Face jackets worth their price tag? Does “puffiness” automatically equal warmth? What do puffers from Prada and Uniqlo have in common?
Podcast host Kira Bindrim and membership editor Alexandra (Alex) Ossola investigate how a functional piece of outerwear also became a fashion craze.
Sponsored by Alumni Ventures
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Kira Bindrim is the host of the Quartz Obsession podcast. She is an executive editor who works on global newsroom coverage and email products. She is obsessed with reading and reality TV.
Alexandra (Alex) Ossola is the membership editor at Quartz and the executive producer of the Quartz Obsession podcast. She is obsessed with baking, Korean dramas, mental health, and her cats.
Evening jacket (a.k.a. pneumatic coat) designed by Charles James, 1937
George Finch’s Everest puffer, 1922
Eddie Bauer’s Blizzard-Proof Jacket a.k.a. the Skyliner and 1940 patent
Norma Kamali’s sleeping bag coat, 1973
The Notorious B.I.G, “Party and bullshit” (1993), “Dead wrong” (1999)
Why is a good puffer so hard to find? FT, 2021
Drake, “Hotline bling” and subsequent memes
Missy Elliott, “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (1997)
2016 Balenciaga A-line swing coat
Vladimir Putin’s eiderdown puffer
This episode uses the following sounds from freesound.org and SoundCloud:
New York Street Ambience.wav by lazymonk
car passing by.wav by brunobegot
Water Puddle Splash by cookies+policy
ice drill pull out of hole gushy splash with slush and snow nice detail.wav by kyles
shovelling_snow.flac by lorenzosu
Read the full transcript, or a lightly edited version.