Chances are, if you live in a major American city that gets snow in the winter, you’ve seen a Canada Goose jacket at one point or another. The red, white, and blue patch of Antarctica is unmistakable.
If you ask the owners of these jackets — which typically retail between $600 and $800 — why they own one, they will reply simply and matter-of-factly: they are the warmest jacket you can buy.
Indeed, the parkas are standard issue for scientists at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, have kept Iditarod racer Lance Mackey warm, and even helped Laurie Skreslet become the first Canadian to summit Mt. Everest.
The Canada Goose jacket, which has been made in Canada since its inception as Metro Sportswear in 1957 by entrepreneur Sam Tick, clearly has the technical chops to back up the claims of its warmth.
So how did it make the transition to the streets of New York City, where a luxury coat made with real coyote fur and “Hutterite” goose down would be seen by most people as overkill?
The answer is simple: Hollywood cachet.
Canada Goose is the unofficial parka for film crews working in colder environments, and have been used off-camera for everything from “Game of Thrones” to “The Danish Girl.”
From there, it made the short jump on-screen in the 2004 movies “The Day After Tomorrow” and “National Treasure.” Celebrities like David Beckham and Claire Danes were then spotted by paparazzi wearing the heavy coats.
Though the company says it does not sponsor endorsements, they do hand out jackets for free at festivals they now sponsor, like Sundance or the Toronto International Film Festival, according to the Cut.
Model Kate Upton even wore a Canada Goose jacket on the cover of the 2013 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
The brand caught on in European markets first, where the fact that the product was made in Canada seemed to matter more, according to Entrepreneur Magazine.
It has since remained a mainstay of cold weather gear in cities around the US and the world. Sales have increased dramatically, rising from $3 million in 2001 to $200 million in 2014, according to Entrepreneur. This winter, Boston University has faced an epidemic of thefts of the premium down.
Canada Goose was recently forced to opened a larger factory in Winnipeg, Canada and another in Scarborough, Canada to aid in production. The federal government of Canada has since certified the company as producing 6% of all cut and sew manufacturing in the entire country.
A majority stock purchase by Bain Capital for $250 million is 2013 has fuelled the company’s rapid growth, which they predicted would surpass $300 by the end of 2015. Bain has supercharged the company’s marketing efforts, which had never really existed before, including a advertisement series called “Out There” with filmmaker Paul Haggis, showcasing the true stories of Canada Goose’s most extreme wearers, including Skreslet, the first Canadian to climb Mt. Everest, and Paddy Doyle, the first pilot to land a plane on an ice flow.
With that kind of pedigree, it’s easy to see why New York’s elite would see the jacket as the perfect weapon to battle the increasingly bitter winter cold — even if they aren’t landing planes on ice flows any time soon.
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