Kanuk—A Flip to the New

Kanuk winter jackets appear to be in every single place lately. And with purpose. A Montreal icon for over 50 years, Kanuk felt an overhaul was wanted—one thing contemporary, youthful extra dynamic, whereas nonetheless holding onto their DNA. A profitable transformation by all metrics.

High quality, Montreal Type

Let’s dive into the explanations Kanuk had constructed up such a devoted fan base. First, their coats have all the time been made in Montreal, one thing that ranked excessive for the locals.

Regardless of how warm-welcoming, Montreal has all the time been identified for glacial winter temperatures. That Kanuk was born out of this local weather is hardly stunning.

The manufacturing unit, situated proper above the shop.

Montreal is a vacationer haven that’s solely getting extra fashionable with each passing 12 months. From well-heeled vacationers to a brand new technology of backpackers, individuals have been flooding to the island metropolis for a number of cultural occasions, music festivals, eating, leisure and winter actions. It’s a metropolis that absorbs a little bit of every part that comes its means and updates itself consistently. If Kanuk was the winter model par excellence of Montreal’s 70s, 80s and 90s, it too wanted to modernize.

To start with Kanuk got down to make one factor and one factor solely: heat winter jackets for Montreal winters. “In that, our shoppers have been unanimous,” explains Michel Lepage, Inventive Co-president at Kanuk, whom I met on a chilly Wednesday morning at their flagship store-factory within the hip Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood. “The jackets have been heat, insulated and with artificial supplies tailor-made completely to a damp winter local weather.” You possibly can all the time depend in your good ol’ Kanuk jacket for heat. Type was fully secondary.

However these shoppers who banked exhausting on the technical advantages of the jackets additionally raised the primary crimson flags years later. We like what you do, however the jackets really feel behind the occasions, and the model was at risk of turning into a relic.

Since being purchased in 2015, Kanuk launched into a modernization journey with out throwing the infant out together with the tub water—being a Heritage model has worth lately. After they began taking a look at it carefully, they noticed that every one their options have been proper at hand.

A U-Flip in Motion

First, discover the influencers—so reads the roadmap to relevance within the 2020s. Collaborating with designers like JJJJound and Instagram-friendly photograph shoots atop the curiously-still-futuristic Olympic Stadium (on high of the roof, sure) appealed to a clientele a full 20 years youthful. Gross sales show it—the puffy Kiruna, launched in late 2018, tops the charts and is competing with the traditional Mont-Royal, comparatively unchanged since its first version. “Our trendy Kiruna represents our new aesthetic outlook, like a roadmap to our future,” testified designer Sara-Martine Vaillancourt. She identified that using traceable Canadian duck down indicators a catering to probably the most on-trend—and warmest—insulator for luxurious winter jackets.

The Kiruna Jacket represents a shift in Kanuk’s strategy.

Making new-style jackets is all nicely and good with Michel Lepage. His dilemma was the right way to keep the modern evolution whereas retaining one thing of their heritage. “Our new line of merchandise makes up about 10% of all our jackets, however is 90% of our customer-facing promoting,” he defined. He combined the strongest factors of their traditional kinds with their new aesthetic, with the tip objective of creating a youthful clientele inquisitive about their line.

The Molly Jacket within the traditional puffer type.

A bet that paid off. The brand new fashions are seen in every single place on the streets of their hometown, sported by each child boomers and Insta-fluencers. The main points, the reduce, the best way the coats transfer, and the heat—it’s simple to see why Kanuk is now an ‘in’ model once more. I can image myself in certainly one of their new parkas just like the Blizzard, weaving my means slowly by the Previous Port of Montreal. The combination of city high-end and streetwear type has one thing for everybody.

Heritage + Trendy = Worldwide Enchantment

Now Kanuk appears to be like to the worldwide market. Nonetheless happy with being Montreal born, bred and primarily based, they’re relative newcomers on each the nationwide and worldwide scenes.

“Canadian-made winter jackets are the factor proper now within the winter-wear world,” says Michel. “Canadian know-how is wanted.” Leveraging this home-grown savvy is gaining floor with new markets, specifically European-based shoppers.

Sara-Martine, Kanuk’s head designer, explains the explanations for his or her change to down insulation.

As with most Heritage manufacturers, Kanuk’s new clientele is a fan of their historical past, their originality, and their values. Nevertheless it’s not simply heritage that’s flipping the change. It’s simpler for youthful shoppers like myself to determine with their type. I like the brand new Molly jacket with its sleeker puffy baffles and glossy shell. They aren’t simply the bourgeois jackets my grandfather wore within the late 90s. They’re fashionable, from the guts of probably the most enjoyable and interesting cities on the earth.

Testing out a jacket inside the shop’s chilly room.

Their boutique is in one of many coolest elements of Montreal. Sara-Martine loves the benefits that the world lends. “There are additionally enormous plusses that our manufacturing centre is correct above our foremost boutique. We work together immediately with our shoppers immediately, discovering out what works for them and what doesn’t.”

Vacationers, rebels, enterprise employees, influencers, baby-boomers… Kanuk has slightly one thing for everybody.

A New I.D.

Or relatively a newly outlined I.D. Michel feels Kanuk has stayed true to what obtained them there. Regardless of the brand new kinds and silhouettes, it’s nonetheless a Quebec-based attire model.

“With extra outreach and extra gross sales, it’s going to be a wrestle to maintain all our manufacturing right here in Quebec. It already has an impression on value. However that’s additionally a part of our enchantment.”

The shop is situated in one of many metropolis’s most fashionable neighbourhoods.

Their historical past is intertwined with Montreal’s. As is their future. Simply go to their flagship boutique on rue Rachel. Mild, heat, trendy, you might linger all day. Attempt on a couple of jackets within the chilly room to check simply how heat every part is. And there’s the warehouse-style part, a contact of the previous. Like the corporate itself, like the town—taking the perfect of the previous and fusing it with the present to create the longer term.










Store Kanuk on Altitude Sports activities