How Canada Goose’s Practical Coats Became a Fashion Hit

It's thanks to CEO Dani Reiss' clever marketing that the outwear maker was catapulted into fashion's spotlight, argues Joe Nocera.


NEW YORK, United States — Not long ago, I dashed off a quick email to Mickey Drexler, the former chief executive of J. Crew and perhaps the greatest merchant of his generation, to ask him if he had any thoughts about why Canada Goose overcoats had become so popular.

You know the coats I mean, don’t you? Those big winter coats, usually black or blue, with the circular red, white and blue arm badges that say “Canada Goose Arctic Program.” The ones that cost upwards of $1,000. In New York, you see them everywhere, even now in April, with weather still nippy but hardly cold enough to require arctic gear.

“Don’t know much,” he replied a few seconds later. “Other than very hot!”

I’d been curious about Canada Goose ever since I’d started seeing the overcoats in New York about three years ago. I didn’t really understand why they had become so ubiquitous. Not only were they ridiculously expensive, but you couldn’t really call them stylish either.

The Italian company Moncler SpA, which competes with Canada Goose, also makes expensive winter wear. But many of its styles are designed to look good as they keep you warm. By contrast, Canada Goose’s basic coats are bulky, almost shapeless.