You’ve no doubt seen the ubiquitous fur-trimmed parkas from Toronto-based outerwear brand Canada Goose. These down-filled cocoons of warmth have been on everyone everywhere, from celebrities like Emma Stone and Drake to supermodel Kate Upton. While the coats’ popularity in Canada has been widespread, Americans only got in on the action in the last couple of years. But it looks like the U.S. is just as smitten, as stateside sales growth of the coats has outpaced the company overall.
But why the craze? What about these parkas have us North Americans so thoroughly enchanted? To find out more, we spoke with Spencer Orr, Canada Goose’s Vice President of Design and Merchandising, about all the little (and big) details that come together to create what looks to be everyone’s favorite wintertime companion. And to boot, we’ve focused on Canada Goose’s star performer: the Snow Mantra. Not only are most other Canada Goose coats and parkas based off the foundations of the Snow Mantra, but it’s also renowned as one of the warmest coats on earth. A good thing, too, because if you’re in the northern hemisphere, the coldest days of the season are yet to come.
Just How Warm Is the Snow Mantra?
Canada Goose developed the Thermal Experience Index (TEI) to determine which of their coats would best suit which type of winter condition. Each coat is given a TEI rating that ranges from one to five—one, for example, signifies that the jacket is best suited for milder weather. The Snow Mantra, which features four layers of insulation, has been given a TEI rating of five, meaning you can wear this bad boy in extreme conditions where temps might drop to -22 degrees Fahrenheit. “[The Snow Mantra is also] tested in the field by those who wear it in some of the coldest places, like the Canadian Rangers in Northern Canada, adventurers in Antarctica and even dog sledders in Alaska,” Orr adds.
Let’s Talk Down
Stuffed inside these coats are top-secret down blends—each jacket outfitted with its very own formula of plumes. Canada Goose sources its white down feathers from Hutterite breeders and suppliers from Western Canada, where birds are allowed to mature longer for greater feather density and therefore more warmth. “What’s important to think about when buying a down jacket is the ratio of down to feathers,” Orr recommends. In essence, you want a lot more down than feathers. Down is softer and fluffier, but the actual feathers allow jackets to take shape. The Snow Mantra is made up of 80% down and 20% feathers.
All in the fur
Like the Snow Mantra, all Canada Goose parkas that come equipped with fur-trimmed hoods use real coyote fur for their warmth-retaining properties. Why coyote? Its fur doesn’t keep moisture and therefore never freezes, which prevents it from taking on that unpleasantly wet, matted-down look that other furry accoutrements sometimes do. “And [coyote fur’s] uneven hair lengths work to disrupt air flow and create turbulent (warm air), protecting the face from frostbite,” Orr adds.