Indigenous Makers Re-Envision Canada Goose
18 female designers lent their visions to the second Project Atigi range.
For many, the Canada Goose sleeve patch symbolizes cosmopolitan outerwear with tundra-inspired functionality. But that regional identity has expanded under Project Atigi, an ongoing series of Canada Goose parkas designed by craftswomen from Nunangat, the vast bloc of Inuit provinces comprising Canada’s northernmost border. For the project’s second installment, the luxury brand returned to the arctic territory, tapping 18 makers to interpret a set of materials according to her unique vision. This yielded 90 limited-edition parkas blending Canada Goose and indigenous trademarks, from colorful technical fabrics to baby-carrying pouches.
Lisa-Louie Ittaukallak’s design, with its oversized pom-poms and diamond-shaped silhouette, reflected the designer’s aesthetics as well as the resourcefulness required of high-arctic living. “I make my pom-poms from leftover fur scraps, and put stuffing inside so they look puffy,” says Ittaukallak, rocking pom-pom drop earrings that underscored her design prowess. (She’d repurposed them from a broken necklace.) A self-taught designer and seamstress from Puvirnituq, Quebec, Ittaukallak says she developed her playful, shop-window-ready style to combat the cold reality of lacking resources. “I never liked winter, because I knew I wouldn’t have a new coat; my family was poor, so I always wore second-hand coats,” she recalls. “Nowadays, my parkas look store-bought. [Before this collaboration] I made one that was inspired by Canada Goose, and people [in my community] were like, did you make that? Or buy that?”
If Canada Goose is as influential in northern Canada as it is below the treeline, CEO Dani Reiss says the inspiration goes both ways. “The high arctic is one of the places we built our reputation,” says Reiss. “The North is a fundamental part of who we are, and that’s why I think it’s so important that we [support] the fabric of the communities up there.” Project Atigi serves as a mechanism Reiss and company to do so, with all sales funding the designers’ respective communities.
For Ittaukallak, the support she’s received for her home-grown designs symbolizes an exciting avenue to the world stage. “It’s been a unique, overwhelming experience: Instead of [buying] a Canada Goose, I made a Canada Goose,” she says. “And now, it’s going to go international.” See the second Project Atigi collection from Canada Goose, in stores January 23, below.