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Canada Goose Channels Inuit Craftsmanship

Canada Goose‘s new outerwear collection shines a spotlight on Inuit women’s design expertise and craftsmanship.

Fashion designer Victoria Kakuktinniq is the latest Inuk creative to launch a collection with Project Atigi, the brand’s social entrepreneurship program focused on communities in Northern Canada. Named after the Inuit word for “parka,” the platform’s third collection aims to elevate diverse perspectives while giving back to Canada’s Inuit communities.

Kakuktinniq created three limited-edition jacket silhouettes updating traditional Inuit outerwear elements like hoods, hems and trims with modern stylistic details. The Kakuktinniq parka, down jacket and waterproof coat were designed for versatility with figure-flattering cuts and feminine details. The guest designer suggests layering the down jacket and coat for extra protection and warmth.

“Project Atigi is so empowering—for myself, my community and other Inuit women,” Kakuktinniq said, noting that sewing garments is central to Inuit culture in Northern Canada. “Bringing my designs to the global stage is important because it celebrates, educates and inspires. I’m grateful to be a voice for my culture and to give back in such a profound way.”

The Project Atigi ad campaign features Inuit singer Shina Novalinga, model Willow Allen, and actress Marika Sila.
The Project Atigi ad campaign features Inuit singer Shina Novalinga, model Willow Allen, and actress Marika Sila. Courtesy

Ranging in price from $1,095 to $1,495, Kakuktinniq chose the collection’s jewel-tone color palette to evoke the Northern Lights that are visible from her hometown of Rankin Inlet. The designer finished each piece with a bespoke tattoo trim inspired by Inuit tradition. “The designs and their meanings vary between people and communities,” Kakuktinniq said. “This specific design represents key milestones in my life, my strength and is a tribute to my parents and daughter, who have always supported me personally and professionally.”

The Project Atigi ad campaign features Inuit singer Shina Novalinga, model Willow Allen, and actress Marika Sila. The artists and activists are known within the community for championing Inuit culture and advocating for representation.

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Established in 2019, Project Atigi has generated more than $165,000 to support regional programs, employment and cultural preservation programs sponsored by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), a national representational organization for Inuit in Canada. This year, the company said it aims to outsell its past two collections.

Canada Goose was born in the North. We are committed to supporting the people and communities of the region, creating global awareness and understanding of their culture and craft,” vice president of corporate citizenship Gavin Thompson added. “We have long revered Victoria and are honored to be able to bring her story to life globally through these unique pieces.”

Kakuktinniq's designs feature traditional Inuit motifs.
Kakuktinniq’s designs feature traditional Inuit motifs. Canada Goose

Kakuktinniq’s talent will help bring Inuit “style and ingenuity to audiences worldwide,” ITK president Natan Obed said. “Our ongoing relationship with Canada Goose helps to empower Inuit craftspeople” in the Inuit Nunangat, or homeland, in Canada, while educating consumers about the community’s history and culture, he added. Project Atigi is a part of Canada Goose’s Humanature sustainability and social responsibility platform, which aims to protect the natural world while making an impact on communities.

In addition to being this year’s face of Project Atigi, Kakuktinniq was chosen as an official guest designer for Canada Goose. Previous collaborators include Chinese contemporary apparel designer and “Next in Fashion” second runner-up Angel Chen and Rhuigi Villaseñor, Bally creative director and founder and creative director of Los Angeles streetwear brand Rhude.

Canada Goose manufactures in eight owned-and-operated Canadian facilities, and employs more than 4,590 garment workers—one-fifth of the country’s total community. A largely domestic supply chain enabled Canada Goose to circumvent some of the industry-wide supply chain issues.

Earlier this month, however, 86 percent of about 1,200 workers at the brand’s Winnipeg facilities voted to join the Workers United Canada Council, an affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union. The move is being lauded as Canada’s most significant private-sector victory for manufacturing employees in 30 years.

The news followed accusations that Canada Goose targeted pro-union workers for undue disciplinary action last year. Workers voiced concerns about unsafe work conditions, low piece-rate pay and abusive, discriminatory management. The company insisted that more than 50 percent of its Winnipeg workforce earns more than minimum wage.

Richard Minter, international organizing director for Workers United, praised the company following the union vote. “No employer wants a union, but Canada Goose management stayed neutral and allowed the workers the right to exercise their democratic vote.”