Picture Organic Clothing's Harvest jacket swaps petroleum-based materials for sustainable castor oil fabric. Alf Alderson investigates...

Picture Organic Clothing is now such a part of the winter sports scene, particularly in the French Alps, that it’s difficult to believe the brand has only been in existence since 2008. Their major selling point right from the start has been to produce high-quality technical ski gear that’s manufactured as sustainably as possible, and the Harvest jacket and bib pants are no exception.

Indeed, the Harvest jacket has won multiple awards for its ‘eco-engineering’, and Picture claims that it’s the most eco-friendly garment in their range. What this means is that the jacket (and the pants) feature a highly waterproof and breathable (20K mm waterproof/ 20K g breathability) Dryplay Biosource membrane made with Pebax Renewable technology, whilst the membrane itself is made from castor oil. This is derived, of course, from castor seeds, and is actually nothing new – clothes have been made from castor seeds since the 1950s but as Picture points out:
"the process slowly disappeared with the arrival of plastics. Seventy years later, Picture is proud to participate in reviving this process in order to move away from using petroleum-based materials and end our oil dependency”.

Indeed, the company say this is the first step in its mission to produce clothing that has ‘zero oil’ content.

Eco-engineering built into a practical shell

At present, the company is aiming to reduce their use of synthetic materials (directly or indirectly petroleum-based) in their ski/snowboard jackets and pants and to increase the proportion of bio-sourced (or plant-based) fabrics. Thirty-five per cent of Picture’s technical ski/board apparel will be bio-sourced by 2020, with the aim of reaching a figure of 100 per cent by 2030.

But back to the Harvest jacket and pants combo. In use the look and feel of the Harvest kit is no different from any other hardshell – the three-layer stretch fabric offers excellent freedom of movement and the cut is quite loose so you can layer up comfortably beneath it, which you’ll need to do as neither garment offers any real insulation.

Both jacket and pants also feature a PFOA/PFOS- (two types of fluorocarbon) free durable water repellent treatment to help snow and water runoff more freely along with fully-taped seams and YKK waterproof zippers.

 

The jacket comes with all the features you’d expect in a garment designed, as Picture say, for ‘winter expeditions’ as well as simply skiing and boarding. You get a fully-adjustable, ergonomic, helmet-compatible hood and high collar plus underarm zips and removable stretch powder skirt. The sleeves feature wrist gaiters and Velcro adjustable cuffs and hem.

There are also plenty of pockets – two zipped chest pockets (one with a goggle cleaner) and two hand pockets which are generously sized along with a lift pass pocket on the left sleeve. There are, however, no internal security or stash pockets which I was a little surprised at since Picture is renowned for including so many features in their ski wear. But since most users will no doubt be wearing a pack when they ride in the Harvest, this is no big deal.

Harvest bib pants

The bib pants feature the same fabric as the jacket along with fully-taped seams, and the bib is removable. There’s a ‘jacket-to-pant interface’ (i.e. loops allowing the pants to be clipped to the jacket) so with this and the powder skirt, adjustable hood and Velcro-adjustable cuffs and hem there’s little chance of cold draughts and snow getting where they shouldn’t.

The bib comes with sturdy, Velcro-adjustable braces, a centre zip for venting and a small zippered chest pocket. If you decide to use the pants without the bib there are large belt loops to keep them in place.

Pockets are limited to two zippered hand pockets, to either side of which are zippered thigh vents, and the relatively loose, ergonomic cut of the Harvest pants combined with the stretch fabric makes for a comfortable fit.

It’s all rounded off with elasticated boot gaiters and scuff guards – the latter are pretty minimalist, and in all honesty could probably do with being a bit bigger to prevent tears in the fabric on either side, especially for anyone likely to be wearing crampons.

The Harvest jacket and pants both come in just one colour, vibrant green, so if that doesn’t appeal but the outfit does, you’ll just have to grin and bear it.

They make for a great combination of fully-functional, hard core ski/board wear that should appeal to more committed riders, as will Picture’s eco-friendly approach to manufacturing and design. The jacket won Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year Award, beating The North Face's Futurelight technology in what Picure's Julian Durant called a “David and Goliath moment.”

FOR Eco-friendly credentials, good-looking and practical pieces of kit

AGAINST Lack of internal pockets, small scuff guards, only available in one colour.

HARVEST JACKET RRP £389.99 AND BIB PANTS £289.99

www.picture-organic-clothing.com

Keep an eye out for our review of the women's Haakon jacket and bib coming soon...

Picture's trailer for the film, Shelter