One Goose Too Many?

A Deeper Look into Canada Goose


Nora Silvergleid, Staff Writer


As temperatures drop well into the low 30s and frost begins to form its seemingly unbreakable bond onto our windshields, it comes as no surprise that our puffers are pulled from their hidden corners to provide us warmth during the 7 am frost battle. At this point, the six minutes that it takes to walk from the car or bus to the Harriton building has changed from slightly bothersome to entirely unbearable. It has become a walk that we would never choose to embark on without the safety of our winter puffers. However, as the early morning frost approaches Lunch & Learn, when temperatures have made their way up into the 50s, our coats are cast away and dragged alongside us until the next morning, when they are vital once again. The abundance of puffer options on the market may lead one to falsely assume that the Harriton hallways are overrun with a combination of different colors, brands, and styles. And while this may be true for some, similar to the black Lululemon leggings style, one brand of puffers dominates our school.


The brand I am referring to is none other than Canada Goose, or for those of you who are unfamiliar with this brand name, you may recognize it as the black puffer with an infamous label on the arm: a circular red and blue emblem which dots each jacket. Holding true to its name, the jacket was originally crafted in Toronto, Canada in 1957, in a small studio that surely did not foresee the extent of influence it would hold over the current fashion industry. Over the span of its lifetime, the jacket has been spotted on celebrities including Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper, as well as Kate Upton on the cover of the 2013 Sports Illustrated. 


The popularity of these jackets often causes us to forget an important feature: the price. The lowest digits accompanying such a coat still sit at the absurd price of 650 dollars, while the most ludicrous tag bears numbers upwards of 1,500 dollars. A Newsweek article explains how several schools have banned students from wearing such showy articles of clothing, a result of the rising social pressure to purchase an expensive jacket in order to fit in. The coat has also become somewhat of a hindrance for local police stations as well, with the number of stolen coats continuing to rise. Several critics lament the spread of Canada Goose to colleges, as it brings out an “elitist” persona in students. 


However, disgruntled critics aren’t the only adversaries Canada Goose faces on a daily basis. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have been sharing their complaints with Canada Goose for the past 11 years. PETA has been behind several loud billboards and protests, all of which violently oppose the mistreatment of animals behind the scenes of Canada Goose. The next time you snuggle deeper into your hood, which is both water-protected and fur-lined, providing a safe haven against the winds that chafe your face, pay attention to the incredibly soft fur. While most fur coats and apparel are the products of fake fur, Canada Goose markets their puffers as a creation of the “real stuff.” Unfortunately, the “real stuff” has been ripped off the backs of wild coyotes across Canada. Canada Goose does make the claim that they have only instilled trapping policies that are in accordance with AIHTS: Canada’s Agreement of International Humane Trapping Standards. The agreement stipulates that the country may only use an approved list of trapping techniques in America, meaning that the coyote must be killed in no more than 24 hours after it was captured. However, while the founders of such agreements are under the impression that their policies have worked brilliantly, there are numerous flaws in the system that they so carefully curated. In America, some states only require checks on traps to happen every three days, which allows a window of time for the coyote to experience extreme stress and pain. Rogue trappers are known for consistently defying this already flimsy agreement, inflicting even more agony on this species. When asked how and where it sources its fur, Canada Goose leaves out crucial details, merely claiming that their traps are ethical with no further clarification. Yet, are any traps that immobilize a social animal really that ethical? As much as we would hope that Canada Goose really does value ethics in its treatment of animals, it is time we examine its true values and the largely negative impact on the species that provide us warmth. 


Another animal used in these products is the Canada goose itself. The company writes that they use down, or the goose’s undercoat, in their jackets, because it is proven to be the warmest insulator. In late 2017, PETA released a clip of a video, revealing the inhumane and cramped space that geese are confined to before they are skinned of their greatest weapon in nature. After rightfully heated questions and revelations made by both PETA and Canada Goose, the overarching question remains: how willing are you to withstand such conditions for the acquisition of, frankly, an overly expensive, unattractive coat? In the last decade, several brands including Michael Kors have gone fur-free, hopping on the bandwagon of positive change – one that Canada Goose has not chosen to join at the moment. 


PETA’s 2019 company of the year, Save the Duck, is making enormous strides in the race for an animal-safe environment. Save the Duck is a luxury coat brand that provides the same warmth we all crave, while also sparing countless animals. While these coats are still on the pricey side, sitting at around 300 dollars, they are significantly less than their Canada Goose counterparts. So, if you are already pulling out your wallet, at the very least, choose a company with humane intent. 

It is important that you make fashion choices that are for you and your personality, not gearing towards a confining idea of what you should wear. The concept of fitting in through an unethical, and unnecessarily expensive coat solely because of its popularity, should not dictate your personal fashion choices. As Alexander McQueen best said, “Fashion should be a form of escapism, not of imprisonment.” Until next time Harriton, stay warm, stay tuned, and stay you.