Collaborations, they’re what’s for dinner. The art of bringing together two brands for one headline-worthy partnership is in-demand that luxury brands and sneaker companies are collaborating themselves to death, but there’s always room for a truly thoughtful team-up, as Canada Goose well knows.
“Our collaborations are partnerships,” Canada Goose’s Chief Product Officer Woody Blackford explains to Highsnobiety.
“We believe that the perfect collaboration is achieved when two brands working together create products that neither partner could build independently. It’s the idiom that 1+1=3. For Canada Goose, this often arrives when we push the boundaries between performance and fashion.”
From its headquarters in Toronto, Canada Goose has been quietly leading the outdoor gear pack in tastemaking team-ups, displaying a remarkable canniness in selecting creatives to bring into its fold and realizing some strikingly original product in the process.
“Over the years, we have collaborated with a variety of talented designers from all over the world, including October’s Very Own, Concepts, Angel Chen, juun.j, Y/Project, BAPE, and many more,” continued Blackford.
“Our collaborators are global tastemakers with unique perspectives that challenge us to re-interpret our core design DNA in new ways. While you might find these projects on the runways of New York, Paris or Shanghai, we never sacrifice performance for style.”
Hence why Canada Goose can craft fashion-forward product with Glenn Martens’ Y/Project and juun.j and street-leaning graphic goods with Concepts and BAPE without ever lacking the throughlines that unite its mainline fare and extracurricular activities: everything Canada Goose does is anchored by utilitarian functionality.
“Authenticity is at the heart of Canada Goose — it’s what our brand was built on,” Blackford continued. “We are a brand with strong values, tied to our relationship with the Arctic. Put simply, our products work!”
Whether you’re layered in OVO puffers or a Vetements cocoon, you can stride into any climate with the comfort of knowing that Canada Goose finishes every piece of outerwear, every accessory, every pair of shoes, to the same level of exacting quality, regardless of how wild the design is.
A legacy label seeking to make a collaborative splash must seek out the right partner but it also must ride the fine line between respect for its own pedigree and a fresh façade. It’s why Metallica for Brioni didn’t work and why Dior x Jordan Brand did.
I mean, there are other reason, too, like considerations for each brand’s audience, but that all ties into the necessity of authenticity.
For instance, Canada Goose knows that NBA players (and their fans) especially adore its hardy outerwear, so it made sense not only to establish a working relationship with the league, but to launch capsule collaborations timed to roll out with the NBA All-Star Game that goes down every year in late February.
“We fused Salehe Bembury’s signature all-over thumbprint design and contrasting materials with Canada Goose’s functional DNA, embodying the freedom of 90’s NBA style,” Blackford said, describing the ensuing four-piece capsule as “Bold and limitless, rooted in our heritage and the juxtaposition of style without rules.”
Bold and limitless. Two adjectives that all good collaborations ought to strive for.