Canada Goose is embracing its heritage.
The Toronto-based outerwear brand has launched a social entrepreneurship program called Project Atigi, that celebrates the craftsmanship of the indigenous Inuit people, the original parka makers. Atigi is an Inuktitut word for “parka.”
On Thursday night, Canada Goose unveiled a one-of-a-kind collection of pieces hand-crafted by seamstresses from the Northern communities of Canada at an event in New York City.
The Project Atigi launch, the first of its kind in Canada, is part of the company’s commitment to Canada’s Northern regions. The brand commissioned 14 seamstresses representing nine communities across the four Inuit regions — Inuvialuit, Nunatsiavut, Nunavut and Nunavik — to each create one bespoke parka from Canada Goose materials using their traditional skills and designs.
The exclusive collection includes anoraks, parkas and traditional amauti-style jackets for men, women and children, many adorned with artistic embellishments and crafted from patterns that have been passed down from generation to generation.
The jackets will be on display for two weeks at Canada Goose stores starting in early February and sold on the company’s web site. They will retail for $5,000 to $7,500.
All profits from the sales will go to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a national organization that works to improve the health and well-being of the Inuit community in Canada.
“Canada Goose was built in the north and we have a responsibility to be a meaningful part of the community that we call home,” said Dani Reiss, president and chief executive officer of Canada Goose. “For more than 10 years, Arctic stewardship has been woven into the fabric of our business and Project Atigi is our way of leveraging our entrepreneurial success to expand theirs.”
Over the past decade, Canada Goose has donated more than 2.2 million yards of material to northern communities across the Arctic.
Reiss called Project Atigi a “passion project for me,” one that he feels he has responsibility to champion “as a global Canadian brand — and there aren’t many of us.” He said northern Canada is the company’s “original marketplace” and the project is intended to “strengthen the relationship” with these communities. “We’re building bridges and we’re also showcasing their talents to the world,” he said.
Reiss said he expects the project to continue beyond this one collection. “This is the first step in a journey that could go a long way,” he said.