Up Your Winter Jacket Game with a Bespoke Parka Designed by Inuit Seamstresses
Canada Goose commissioned 14 Inuit designers to create one-of-a-kind jackets. The parkas go online today and 100% of the proceeds will go back to the community.
When someone who lives in Iqaluit complains about it being cold in New York City, you know that you’re not being a polar vortex whinger. #thestruggleisreal
“I’ve never been here before and I didn’t think it would be this cold,” laughs Mishael Gordon, who was in town to celebrate the launch of Project Atigi, a social entrepreneurship venture from Canada Goose. “It’s going to be my number one memory.” (Atigi is the Inuktitut word for “parka,” and Gordon was one of 14 seamstresses the company commissioned to create bespoke jackets for this exclusive collection.)
Proceeds from the sale of the parkas will go toward the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), a non-profit organization that serves the 60,000 Inuit in Canada’s north. The designers created anoraks, parkas and amauti-style jackets for men, women and children. Many of the sewers, like Gordon, chose designs that had been passed down in their families.
“My jacket is based on a style I wore when I was a child,” Gordon explained at the launch party. “It’s a coat my grandmother gave me, so this jacket is made in honour of her. I only have boys so I really enjoyed creating something for a girl.”
Jennifer Munick, who lives in Kuujjuaq, Quebec, also designed a girl’s parka and she too paid tribute to her grandmother. “This is the kind of coat I grew up wearing,” she said. “I used materials from Canada Goose, but I also incorporated a traditional granny scarf into the frill at the bottom. My grandmother wore one of these floral printed scarves so it’s a tribute to her, even though she always told me that ‘you don’t need to have too much fashion as long as you’re warm.’” In Munick’s case form and function have equal merit.
For Dani Reiss, the president and CEO of Canada Goose, Project Atigi is the ultimate example of social entrepreneurship. “We are the only global Canadian luxury brand and for us to be collaborating with the Inuit—the original parka makers—is really powerful. To be able to use our global platform to showcase their products and craftsmanship, which they’ve had for generations, is really important. Hopefully it’s just the beginning and we can create opportunities for these women.”
Coco Rocha, who attended the launch along with Mark Messier and Annie Murphy, described the collection as genuine “Canadian Couture.” “It’s one of a kind—and each piece has a story behind it. I think that’s what fashion should be about.”