Interview by Lorenzo Molina

Outerwear brand Canada Goose is about to close 2015 with a positive development in global demand that prompted the brand to open a 103,000 square-foot facility in Winnipeg (Canada) last November, the second one in that city. Besides, the brand recently launched its first global campaign Out There, which included a short film directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker and director, Paul Haggis –scroll down to watch it. In regard of all these happenings, we spoke with the brand’s chief executive Dani Reiss to find out more about what’s in the pipeline for 2016.

Canada Goose spring/summer 2016
Canada Goose spring/summer 2016

Canada Goose recently opened a second manufacturing facility in Winnipeg to meet continued growing global demand. Which regions and countries are experiencing the highest growth in sales?
We’re really proud of our new Winnipeg factory –it’s the second facility we’ve opened this year and speaks strongly to both our ‘made in Canada’ commitment and continued growing consumer demand in practically every market we sell in. In fact, over the past decade Canada Goose has grown by more than two thousand percent. While our home market and other markets where we’ve been for years –like Japan- continue to grow, our fastest growing market is the US at approximately 30% year per year, and the UK is on par with just under 30% growth this year.

Currently your offering encompasses parkas, lightweight, shells and accessories. Are there plans to expand the product portfolio in 2016?
Yes, but we’ll do it carefully. We’ve built our brand by making the best and warmest jackets in the world, so we aren’t interested in just throwing our disc on any product just because it might sell well. We’ve successfully expanded our product collections over the last five years in particular, to address warmer climates and more active lifestyles, which you’ll see continue with our spring 2016 collection. The new collection offers some cool, versatile products that we’re excited to bring to market, especially our new rain shell made from our proprietary Bi-durance.5 fabric. As a 100% waterproof, breathable and lightweight fabric, it’s the perfect jacket for unpredictable spring weather.

Which new markets are you targeting with own retail & wholesale next year?
We’ve launched ecommerce in Canada and the US in the last year and a half, which our customers love as it’s the only place they can see our entire collection. We’re excited to expand that to other European markets next year.

In your opinion, what are the current challenges that the outerwear industry is facing?
I think the challenge right now in the outerwear category is that there are just too many brands. It’s a really crowded space and difficult for new players trying to differentiate themselves. It’s like what happened with the premium denim industry –it becomes a really hot category, so everyone makes a play for it and then they can’t survive. The real brands, that have a heritage and meaning and an authentic story… they’re the ones that consumers stick with.

Canada Goose spring/summer 2016
Canada Goose spring/summer 2016

The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference took place in Paris recently. Do you think that the big players within the fashion industry are already mindful of this problem? What’s Canada Goose’s approach towards sustainability?
I think it’s a topic that’s on everyone’s minds these days. For us, we’re a brand that’s born of the North and we are committed to helping preserving its environment, culture, and way of life, while building a business that’s sustainable for the long term –and our commitment to ‘made in Canada’ is huge part of that.

For us, sustainability is also about doing the right thing, in the right way –for us and for the communities we’re part of. For almost ten years we’ve been working with Polar Bears International (PBI), a non-profit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat and I’m also fortunate to serve as the chairman of the board. With two-thirds of the world’s polar bear population residing in Canada, we felt a strong connection to their cause, as our products and our company are intertwined in the iconic nature of the northern landscape. To help support the organization we created the PBI collection, which features 13 pieces all made in Canada in PBI’s signature shade of royal blue. Each purchase includes a PBI membership and a donation to the charity, and this helps to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of the organization each year.

And back to my first point about supporting the communities we’re part of, we’ve also established the Canada Goose Resource Centers program in the Canadian Artic to support the people and communities there. The program supports four key Inuit communities, providing free access to our first-rate unused fabrics and sewing materials to make their own outerwear, a strong tradition of Northern Canada. Living in such remote locations means those type of materials are scarce and even when goods are in supply, they are extremely expensive. This program gives us a way to support Northern communities in a meaningful way as it helps to preserve their rich heritage of craftsmanship, as well as put our surplus materials to good use instead of being wasted.