What Makes Canada Goose Outerwear Special?

Its No Secret that this past year saw Canada Goose Rocket to the top tier along with Brands the likes of Moncler.

NY Mag writes...

... The winter of 2015, currently best known for having thethird-coldest February in New York City history (a bronze medal that, like all bronze medals, doesn’t feel like it adequately rewards the extreme pain it took to get to the podium), should instead be remembered as the Winter of Canada Goose. All of a sudden, it seemed, they were everywhere, with the bright red, white, and blue label making them easy to catalogue and difficult to ignore. Four in my subway car last night. Three spotted on the five-minute walk to my station this morning. They’re North Face jackets that have grown up and moved to the big city from the suburbs. (Or gone off to an Ivy League college.) 


Like Hummers and North Face and Land Rovers before it, Canada Goose jackets didn’t start out as items to be owned by consultants and lawyers, but rather as performance gear for the coldest of weather. Its spokesperson is an Iditarod champion who wears the brand while racing. According to its website, the “Expedition Parka,” which you may have seen on someone smoking a cigarette outside a West Village wine bar or draped around a chair at a Cobble Hill brunch spot, was originally made to outfit scientists working at the McMurdo Station on Antarctica. The company, which brags that it makes the “warmest jacket on earth,” sold a majority ownership stake to Bain Capital in 2013, and, over the past ten years, has seen its revenue go from an annual $5 million to $200 million. (Who knows what the total will be once the Winter of Canada Goose is finally over!)

This growth was the result of a deliberate campaign. Canada Goose has been spotted on a number of movie stars — which may or may not have something to do with its practice of handing the coats out for free to certain people at Sundance, which it helped sponsor — but that has resulted in an unexpectedly glamorous set of associations for a garment that both adds bulk, and is Canadian. Then, too, the goose feathers, the company touts, are not only “free-range,” they are Hutterite, thus appealing to the sort of person who likes their eggs organic and from Amish country.   

Like all smart marketing, Canada Goose has tapped into existing biases. American preppiness has always been aligned with sensible, understated outdoorsiness. A fur coat might keep you warm, but it’s flashy. You can’t exactly wear it and feel hardy. And nothing has made Northeastern city-dwellers of the past few climate-changed years feel quite so hardy as surviving winter. It will only get worse, we think to ourselves as we read the dire one-two punch of the weather pages and the science news. Who knows how bad? This is the kind of thinking that has made the purchase of these jackets seem more about being prudent than about seeking out a status symbol.

...this is where I think the phenomenon veers away from just being the latest item in an ever-evolving series of upscale signifiers. A Canada Goose (or a Moncler, or whatever your preferred brand of premium down may be) is an attempt to “disrupt” the dread of winter, in an era when we have placed our faith in technology — which is what Canada Goose really is, more than it is fashion.

Wearing a coat meant for coldest Antarctica on your six-minute walk to the subway isn’t about that walk; it’s not about buying something you can wear year after year — the seductively dull certainty that’s at the heart of prep style. It’s not even about whichever vortex we happen to find ourselves in, which is rarely as dire as threatened. It’s about feeling prepared for the imminent unknown,...It’s a coat for an age in which the seas might be rising and social safety nets might be fraying, but, we imagine, there will be a way to hack those problems.

Canada Goose’s real marketing genius lies in making the wearer feel insulated against far more than just the cold.


This is what the NY Post Had to say...

The $1,000 parka that quietly took over Hollywood fashion

Modal Trigger

Dini von Mueffling and husband Ted Sann sport their matching coats.Photo: Christian Johnston

If you live in New York and you haven’t had your head in the snow for the past year, you’ll know the label. Where in the past, a simple black sleeping bag coat was considered enough to protect stylish city folk from the chill, a status parka beloved by celebrities — Jimmy Fallon, Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper, among others — is now the only way to bundle up.

Who cares if the jackets range in price from $445 to $1,195?

Made with a water-resistant shell and coyote-trimmed hood, and filled with coveted Canadian down, the coat is cozy, while lending the owner the air of an Arctic adventurer.

“I haven’t taken it off since I got it,” says Dini von Mueffling, a 40-something founding partner of HvM Communications and co-founder of the nonprofit Love Heals. “The styling is so right for New York. It’s understated, there’s only one logo. And what it says is, ‘I want to be warm and I want to look good.’ ”

Von Mueffling originally bought a $595 “Constable” Canada Goose two years ago for her husband, Ted Sann, a retired BBDO ad-agency exec, but held off on making a purchase for herself until this season.

“I was really, really resistant to getting one because I don’t want to wear what everyone is wearing,” says von Mueffling, who lives on the Upper East Side. But after one too many bone-chilling dog walks in the park, she caved — and hasn’t looked back. “It’s life-changing.”

Canada Goose coats have been standard issue for US Antarctic Program researchers and for film crews in nippy locations for decades. In recent years, the jackets migrated to the US, where they are favored by everyone from bankers to babies.

Modal Trigger

Emperor penguins in Antarctica check out the cozy Canada Goose outerwear on Italian biologists in 2007. The coats were first popular with those working in the Arctic.Photo: Vittoriano Rastelli/Corbis

This is the rare trend that appeals equally to guys and gals — after all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Ben Rosow, a 15-year-old sophomore at the United Nations International School, says he hasn’t shivered in 18 months — ever since his father bought him an $845 “Citadel” parka.

Rosow’s 18-year-old brother, Gabriel, also rocks a Goose, as do gaggles of their UNIS classmates. The brothers guesstimate more than 70 kids at the high school have them, including their 17-year-old buddy Markus Miranda, who went to more than five stores last month in his hunt for a $745 black “Langford.” His mom finally scored one on moosejaw.com.

Modal Trigger

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield (left) and Bradley Cooper (top right) are all crazy for Canada Goose’s cozy down coats, which range in price from $445 to $1,195. Bottom right: Jason Schwartzman makes the rounds at Sundance, where film industry people were lamenting the popularity of the coat.Photo: LISVETT SERRANT/startraksphoto.com; Alo Ceballos/GC Images

“Last year I was skiing with Ben and Gabriel, and they were practically sweating while I was freezing, so I was like, all right, this could be a good investment,” says Miranda. “All I have to wear under it is a short-sleeved T-shirt.”

Founded in Toronto in 1957 under the name Metro Sportswear Ltd., by the 1970s the company had made its name producing private-label down parkas for Canadian park rangers, police officers and workers in the Canadian high Arctic. In 2000 the name was changed to Canada Goose, and in December 2013 the company sold a majority stake to private investment firm Bain Capital.

Canada Goose’s US sales have been on the upswing for the past 15 years, but they have spiked in the last three years or so, according to Dani Reiss, president and CEO of Canada Goose and the grandson of its founder, Sam Tick.

Now the jackets are roosting on every street corner.

Modal Trigger

Actor Ansel Elgort sports a Canada Goose coat as he passes through New York en route to Sundance.Photo: 247PapsTV / Splash News

“We’re the Land Rover of clothing,” says Reiss. “We’re built to be used in the harshest climates, but we’ve also transcended into the fashion world.”

Canada Goose is part of the booming “premium-down” category, along with its main competitor, Moncler, and a handful of outdoor brands like the North Face and Patagonia.

“The trend of these parkas continues to gain in momentum,” says Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue. “Canada Goose is an important brand for us. It’s quality, it’s an investment piece, and it’s practical.”

Modal Trigger

Ben Rosow (from left), Gabriel Rosow and Markus Miranda are among an estimated 70 students at the United Nations International School in NYC who own the pricey parkas.Photo: Brian Zak/NY Post

Additional reporting by Dana Schuster


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published