Whether it’s a grime rapper wearing an Arc’teryx jacket in his music video, Shoreditch hipsters rocking the retro Berghaus Dean Street collection, or The North Face’s intriguing collaboration with Gucci, the worlds of high fashion, street style and outdoor clothing are increasingly coming together with weird and wonderful results. For some hardened hillwalkers and adventure aficionados, this ‘hiking clothing is cool’ phenomenon is utterly bamboozling, blurring the lines between ‘real’ mountain-ready kit and fashion gear with more style than substance. For others it’s a win-win scenario – what’s wrong with enjoying your outdoorsy hobbies and looking good at the same time?
Another brand billed as an outdoors-fashion hybrid is Canada Goose, a Canadian company known for its distinctive red and blue disc logo, its sky-high prices, and – most controversially – its use of coyote fur on the trim of its iconic parka hoods (this is now being totally phased out, thanks to the brand’s new sustainability drive). We’ve never featured Canada Goose on Outdoors Magic before, but – with the release of the new Pacifica Jacket to its Rain Collection – we thought we’d find out what all the fuss is about.
So, when and why did Canada Goose gear become so cool? The firm was set up in 1957 from a small warehouse in Toronto. It initially specialised in woollen vests, raincoats and snowmobile suits – highlighting an authentic outdoorsy heritage – before developing down clothing and super-warm parkas in the 70s and 80s, many of which were worn on Arctic expeditions, Everest ascents and other similarly hardcore adventures. But in the 2000s, under the leadership of new CEO Dani Reiss, the firm used film partnerships and ‘cultural marketing’ to break into the luxury lifestyle market, according to Business Insider. A super-successful fashion-outdoors crossover brand was born.
The new Pacifica Jacket – a 2021 addition to the brand’s Rain Collection – is just one of Canada Goose’s extensive range of products that fuse this ‘extreme weather outerwear’ heritage with lifestyle-y swagger and high-end style. Priced at £475, it’s eye-wateringly expensive (probably £275 for the jacket and an extra £200 for the kudos of the logo), but it certainly looks premium and well-made. It’s a unisex jacket, made from Canada Goose’s Tri-Durance fabric with fully sealed-seams. This three-layer fabric is durable, waterproof, windproof and breathable, with two-way stretch and a relatively soft feel. The result is a jacket that “keeps you dry and comfortable” and “allows for range of motion during active pursuits”, according the marketing blurb.
In terms of features, the Pacifica features water-resistant Aquaguard zippers with integrated stormflaps, mesh venting underneath the back panel for added breathability and airflow, double-stripe reflective details for improved low-light visibility, and an adjustable hood with a wide peak. You also get four exterior, mesh-lined pockets: an upper pocket with zipper closure, an upper envelope pocket with hook-and-loop closure, and two lower envelope, double-entry pockets with hook-and-loop closures and side entry zippers. Or, in other words, enough space to store as many adventure gizmos and accessories as you want.
“I was a little sceptical about this jacket because of Canada Goose’s urban reputation and lifestyle popularity…”
The Pacifica has a slim A-line silhouette for a “flattering fit that gives room to move” and is lightweight enough (485g in a small) to roll up and easily stow inside its own hood, enabling compact storage in a backpack. The hood itself has a single adjustment point at the back that cinches two ways at once, as well as an extended brim with a head skirt underneath – this is designed to ensure the hood moves with you as you turn and twist, and never blocks your line of vision. Other nifty features include articulated sleeves and underarm gussets for an enhanced fit and improved freedom of movement; and a two-way zipper, which unzips from the bottom for extra ventilation when you’re working hard.