PARIS, FRANCE — In an effort to help consumers beat the heat, Tiger Beer has announced its newest cooling innovation, not in the form of a new line of beverages but a puffer jacket.
Puffer jackets are typically worn by people living in colder climates. The jacket is insulated with a layer of materials such as feathers or synthetic fibres that trap heat to keep the wearer warm.
However, Tiger Beer’s latest innovation, the “Summer Puffer”, flips tradition on its head by incorporating a water cooling system into the jacket’s design, Mashable website reported. The system was inspired by American space exploration agency Nasa.
A collaborative effort between London-based, Chinese-Canadian designer Izzy Du and Japanese technology firm Whatever Co, the jacket is touted to be able to cool the body down by up to 5°C in the sun, Tiger Beer said in a statement.
The jacket features a network of water-filled tubes that circulate around the wearer’s body, coming into contact with key points where the arteries are closest to the wearer’s skin.
Upon placing cooled beverage cans into the jacket’s specially designed pockets, the water in the tubes begins to cool, eventually cooling down the wearer as well.
Beyond its intricate cooling mechanics, the jacket comes in the brand’s striking bright orange colour with designs of tiger ears and fangs on the jacket’s hood.
The “Summer Puffer” will debut at the Paris Fashion Week 2023, the first week of October, before making its way to Singapore for a preview at ZoukOut in December 2023, luxury lifestyle magazine The Peak reported.
A limited run of the jacket will be made available for the summer and spring seasons of 2024, the company said.
Consumers here may be familiar with temperature-regulating clothing such as the Airism products from Japanese casual wear firm Uniqlo, a popular choice to cool off in Singapore’s year-round tropical climate due to the clothing’s moisture-wicking and deodorising effect.
However, with average global temperatures at an all-time high over the past few months, it is no wonder that more brands are expanding their horizons to push out products to battle the heat.
In 2015, Japanese power tools maker Makita produced its first “fan jacket”, which features miniature fans that blow air around the insides of the jacket to keep the wearer cool, British newspaper The Guardian reported.
It designed the product to cater to its existing customer base who often engage in outdoor, labour-intensive jobs such as carpenters, builders and farmers.
Makita said that the “extreme temperatures” in the region had been a key factor in “driving demand” for such innovative clothing.
Since the launch of its first model, Makita has further innovated the “fan jacket”, now featuring a wide range of models including some with special batteries that keep fans running for more than 60 hours, as well as design variants such as high-visibility jackets, hooded jackets and even full bodysuits.
Other Japan-based companies such as Workman, Liberta, Teijin and Chikuma have also developed further variations of the “fan jacket” to adapt to different environments, offering options for casual, formal and work settings, news agency AFP reported.
A Bloomberg report said that heat-alleviating clothing innovations are being developed worldwide.
Such is the case of British startup Techniche UK, which has produced a line of “StayQool” suits for labour workers that feature an outer layer of specially designed mesh and a waterproof inside layer that absorbs and removes heat through evaporation. The startup claimed that it can cool skin temperature by as much as 8°C for up to seven hours.
The firm is now working on a new product, a cooling vest equipped with biometric sensors to monitor and predict the wearer’s heat stress.
In China, researchers from Zhejiang University and several other institutes have designed clothes that reflect solar heat as opposed to in-built cooling systems, by manipulating the structure of polyester and redesigning the weaving technique.
The result is a material that reflects roughly 90 per cent of the sun’s rays, a 2021 study said.
However, there are still limitations when it comes to such clothing innovations, such as the weight of the clothing and the price, because the production costs tend to be high.
Mr James Russell, co-founder and managing director of Techniche UK, said that its “StayQool” suits still cost more than four times as much as similar workwear in the developing world, while also weighing roughly 20 per cent heavier than conventional options.