Vancouver and the rain jacket – these two things ubiquitously go hand in hand.
I like to think that when you need to test the performance of a waterproof jacket, British Columbia is as good as it gets.
Enter Canada Goose. The Canadian retailer best known for their down-filled parkas recently expanded into technical shells and has designed three styles in this category.
It’s water and wind proof (read: good for those days when it rains sideways) and can take you from the city to a mountain hike or snowshoeing expedition.
Q&A: We chatted with Spencer Orr, VP Design and Merchandising for Canada Goose to learn about the technical shell.
The new technical shells are made with a fabric. What makes the 3-layer Tri-Durance™ hard shell fabric unique and different to others materials on the market?
The difference between our proprietary fabric and others on the market is the stretch. Our unique 4-way stretch offers better fit and breathability, ultimately giving you a jacket that moves with you, instead of you moving inside it. Tri-Durance also has an amazing hand-feel, while still offering maximum durability.
What’s the process when Canada Goose develops a new fabric?
When developing a new fabric, we start off thinking about what we ultimately want out of a fabric, and then determine whether or not it exists. If it doesn’t exist, then that’s an opportunity for us to be innovative and create our own fabric specific to the needs of our products. It’s always fun bringing something new to the marketplace.
For the Technical Shells, we couldn’t find an existing fabric that had the stretch and durability that we wanted along with high waterproof and breathability ratings, so we created our own. It then takes about 16 to 18 months to actually develop the fabric before we begin field-testing.
Explain what the field-testing process is like. Where are some locations that the technical shell has been tested?
With all Canada Goose products, we always have third-party testers review the jacket and provide feedback before it goes to market. For example, when we launched our Altitude Series, we worked with Laurie Skreslet, the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest, to develop a jacket that would provide the perfect protection for mountaineering.
With our Technical Shells, Canadian ultra-marathoner Ray Zahab tested it out on his runs, and the testing re-confirmed our thoughts about things like cuff design and the placement of the Velcro. We always take field-testing seriously because we want to ensure that we produce a best-in-class product that’s going to function properly for the user’s activities.
We also have an internal testing process where we allow staff to test and review products for the upcoming season. This way we can get feedback and make any adjustments before production time.
Tell us more about each of the styles and how they differ.
Each shell is made with a different purpose in mind. With the Timber Shell ($675), it’s the ideal jacket for the hardcore outdoorsperson – someone who wants and needs all the technical bells and whistles, from added pockets to an adjustable hem to mesh paneling for ventilation. Whether it’s heli-skiing or ice climbing, this jacket is perfect for the outdoor junkie.
The Ridge Shell ($650) is for the outdoor enthusiast who spends a lot of time engaged in a variety of outdoor activities, but doesn’t need the most technical jacket out there. Perfect for activities like hiking or cycling, it consists of some technical features, like a helmet-friendly hood and storm flap to block out the cold, but has a more minimalistic look.
The Moraine Shell ($675) is for the urban adventurer who wants a sporty look and feel and needs a waterproof jacket, but doesn’t need the technical aspects. As a jacket that’s intended for casual daily use, it’s ideal for cool summer nights and windy, rainy days.
Where are Canada Goose jackets made? Generally and this technical shell in particular?
All Canada Goose jackets are made in Canada, and the Technical Shells are made in our Winnipeg factory where the sewers are extremely skilled at welding, die-cutting and seam-sealing.
The Canada Goose technical shell comes in three styles (Timber Shell: $675 CAD; Ridge Shell: $650 CAD; Moraine Shell: $675 CAD) and can be purchased at Boboli, Brooklyn, Hart and Sole Clothing and Hot Gossip Group Inc.