Cocoon yourself in the Coaroon

The cost of energy to heat our homes is sky high and many of us are still choosing to work from home. If we are keen to save energy and reduce our heating bills, we need to layer up to keep ourselves warm rather than our homes. The Coaroon coat is ideal for this purpose.

Keeping warm becomes more important as we get older. As we age our metabolic rate slows and our skin thins (Caregiver). This increases sensitivity to lower temperatures.

Joan Johnston of Ava Innes and Sarah Morehead of Self Made Studios accepted the challenge in a brief from the Design Age Institute for design innovation for healthy ageing. Their ingenious solution to increased intolerance to cold in older age groups is the Coaroon, a long warm coat for wearing at home. The coat’s name is a blend of ‘coorie’ – a cuddle in Scottish – and cocoon. 

Joan says that she and Sarah had talked for some time about designing collaboratively, using their patented natural insulating fabric. They both have elderly parents and understand the issues around ageing and feeling cold. Sarah has done much research into the impact of ageing on the body, and particularly around dementia. This made the brief ideal for their skills. 

The cocoon coat is sure to appeal to anyone who wants to keep themselves warm whether younger or older. Early testers “love how warm and cosy it feels” and say they could “curl up on the sofa in this”.  

Joan & Sarah incorporated feedback from test users during the development phases to improve the Coaroon. They wanted the coat to be comfortable to wear, draft proof, long enough to cover the feet when sitting but not so long as to cause tripping or falls when using stairs. A unique button up front solves this problem. And a rounded collar protects the neck from drafts.

“I normally have an electric blanket over me on the sofa, but when I get up I get cold. With this coat I can move around the house and stay warm, while keeping the heating turned down”.

Ava Innes make natural, sustainable and 100% organic luxury wool and cashmere bedding, so they already know the importance of materials. Joan and Sarah chose cashmere and wool as the filling options for the Coaroons. Both guard hair (the outer coat of a Cashmere goat) and wool are regenerated fibres, as the sheep and goats can be sheared each season and continue to live to their full life span. 

Feather or synthetic filler alternatives are not sustainable. Ducks are killed for duck down feathers and synthetic fillers are usually oil based. Even the buttons on a Coaroon are made of sustainable nut. 

There are three types of coats; luxury, designer and premium. Black Watch is a checked cocoon coat in blue and green premium fabric. Turquoise Dutch, Maroon Floral and Japanese Patchwork form the designer range. Plain Luxury Teal or RAF Blue coats and Tern of the Tides, in collaboration with Edinburgh artist Mhairi Helena, form the premium range. Tern of the Tides is the first in a series of limited edition cartoon coats with independent artists. They chose Mhairi Helena because of her works around Scottish nature, which is close to their hearts.

The cashmere and wool materials are expertly quilted in the north of England between natural organic cotton inner and outer linings. Then they are hand cut and finished at Self Made Studios, a community interest company in Bishop Auckland, Co Durham. This makes them entirely UK made. 

You can see the plain prototype of the Coaroon coat on display Designing for Our Future Selves at the Design Museum in London until March 26th. For a ‘burst of colour’ visit the Coaroon website to see the initial designs.

Annette Clubley

Annette is a keen wildlife conservationist, mindful of sustainability and our impact on the environment. Outside of work, family is her focus and she loves teaching the next generation to enjoy the outdoors.