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Canada Goose Addresses Drake's Coat Infidelity

Photo: Millington/REX Shutterstock
If you’re still watching and loving Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video (no judgement; we are, too), you’re probably quite familiar with that cherry-hued Moncler "Maya" puffer he awkwardly dances in. Drizzy’s fans have been in such hot pursuit of that coat that the French outerwear brand saw sales of the £795 jacket double the day after the video’s release, according to Vanity Fair. What's more surprising than the sales boom is that the designer down being flaunted on film wasn’t by Canada Goose. Drake’s such a proud Canadian, and his fashion line, OVO, has done multiple collaborations with the brand, including its inaugural women’s collection, which debuted last week. What do Canada Goose’s top dogs think of Drake’s moment of jacket infidelity in one of the biggest music videos of the year?

“I thought the timing was unfortunate, because we’d just launched a jacket," Kevin Spreekmeester, Canada Goose’s chief marketing executive, told Refinery29 at the recent premiere of the brand’s big-ticket short film, Out There. "But there are a lot of consumers to go around, and we don’t have any sort of exclusivity with Drake — he’s always been very good to us, and he can do what he likes. It’s a good, healthy, honest relationship,” the marketing honcho explained. It's a lucrative relationship, too: “Our OVO collaboration sells out in five minutes; people love Drake."

“I remember back years ago when Drake was just starting out, and he came to our showroom on a number of occasions to get a winter jacket. We’ve supported each other since then, because we believe now — as we did then — that Canadian companies, brands, and individuals should support each other,” Canada Goose’s CEO, Dani Reiss, said. “Years later, we do annual collaborations with OVO and we’re happy that Drake wears our product often, but we don't tell anybody what to wear. He's a great guy, and it's great to see him become so successful. We are such big supporters of Canadian success stories and we are as supportive of him and others as much as ever. I'm sure he'd say the same about us.”
Photo: Courtesy of DrakeVEVO/YouTube.
So, there’s no bad blood, though perhaps Drake will consider opting for a puffer made on his home soil for the next blockbuster music video he makes, considering "Hotline Bling" currently has nearly 114 million views.

As for Canada Goose, the respected brand for subzero adventuring has experienced quite a spike in its cool quotient over the past few winters. Business has grown 4,000% in 10 years, and currently, demand is greater than the supply, according to Spreekmeester. “Being an authentic made in Canada company, we can’t turn the dial up the way other brands made in Asia can,” he says of the company’s manufacturing process, which involves 30 to 40 employees working on any given jacket. They’re building new factories and acquiring existing factories throughout Canada to keep up with the brand’s buzz over the past few winters — without outsourcing production somewhere cheaper.

Besides building up its manufacturing capacities to meet demand, the brand has ambitious plans for how people recognise and find their way to Canada Goose’s plush toppers. Namely, that aforementioned short film, Out There. “We realised that so many more people were getting access to the brand, but didn’t know the deeper story… We don’t want people to think we’re just another jacket [company],” Spreekmeester says of the decision to do a short film with a big-name, Oscar-vetted talent (and fellow Canuck) like Paul Haggis, who directed the film. Initially, Haggis wasn’t interested — “at first, he said ‘I don’t do commercials,’ but because of his affiliation with being Canadian and the challenge of telling nearly 60 years of a brand’s history in five minutes was too much for him to pass up,” Spreekmeester adds, explaining that the brand is betting big on the flick by devoting 70% of its media budget to digital advertising globally.
Out There illustrates some positively frigid, nearly-fatal, real-life scenarios that have occurred over the past six decades — with adventurers of course clad in Canada Goose. “Our mission is to free people from the cold so they can experience more from life, and Out There illustrates just that. By wearing our jackets, people can truly see the world as an adventure, instead of an adversary — that’s what we hope people get out of the film,” Reiss says. You can watch the film on Canada Goose’s website. “Until now, guerilla tactics and word of mouth have fueled our brand awareness, but given our fast growth, this was the time to showcase our true DNA,” Reiss says.
And while a stylish crowd, in and out of Hollywood, has jumped on the prominently logo-ed Canada Goose bandwagon, Reiss insists that wasn’t by design. “On the fashion front, it certainly wasn’t what we set out to do, and it’s not our focus now, either… We’re a functional apparel company that’s relevant with the fashion industry,” Reiss says. The north-of-the-border heritage brand is also a third-generation family-run enterprise: “I was very fortunate that my dad let me do my own thing, but I learned a lot from him, especially how tough this business could be,” Reiss says. “They say that the third generation is typically when businesses fail, so it’s satisfying to buck that trend.”