What do you get when you cross a luxury label with a major streetwear brand, and throw in some basketball for flavour? The Canada Goose collection with UNION and the NBA. We sat down with Chris Gibbs – UNION founder and designer – to find out about his contribution to the collaboration, talking everything from inspo for the collection to the don’ts of designing for UNION.
In a collaboration led by the slogan “play in the open” – inspired by Canada Goose’s “live in the open ethos” – the collection invites you to come play in the real world. Featuring five distinct items, Chris Gibbs describes the collab as natural, stating that, “similar to UNION, Canada Goose started as a sort of cult brand to a community of explorers, researchers and extreme adventurers.” If anyone knows how to play in the open, its fans of CG, UNION, and of course the NBA.
Starting out as a sales associate at the UNION landmark store in New York and working his way up to the brand’s helm, Chris has helped cultivate UNION into the brand it is today. Largely credited with sparking the whole “streetwear phenomena” in the US, UNION has a huge cult following and the respect of both street style experts and casual fans alike.
UNION collaborating with Canada Goose might seem like an unlikely pairing at first, given their wild differences in temperature alone; whilst Canada Goose tends to design for snowy peaks, UNION caters for LA’s sandy beaches. However, the brands actually do have one major thing in common. As Chris puts it, “with me being from Canada and all, it was good to work with some fellow Canadians!”
Adapting the collection for warmer weather ended up being an easier task than it might seem. Chris relays that, “we had to find the balance between what Canada Goose is best known for, which is really heavy gear for extreme cold, and what [UNION is] known for, which is a California beach city. So what we did was try and meet in the middle and kind of make some of these garments a bit more California friendly.”
What they produced is an Americana inspired collection easily adaptable to whatever climate. Producing five layerable pieces, each garment is easily tailored to city-scapes or wintery hikes alike. One item, the Toussaint Parka, is the perfect all-weather compromise from UNION and CG.
As Chris states: “we made it into 2 pieces; a semi heavy outer layer and then an additional piece as an insulated jacket (Breda Liner). The beauty of this is that you can make the jackets a bit more versatile depending on how you layer them.” Whilst playing with Canada Goose’s well-known love for functionality, the collection is nevertheless “unabashedly ‘Streetwear’”, as Chris puts it.
But it also takes inspiration from another area: their third partner, the NBA. Chris describes, “The NBA is a symbol of culture and community and the players have progressively owned the space of style and influence. When building this collection, we focused on design elements we knew the players would appreciate. Taking some inspiration from the tunnel as well as how they like to dress on the street or moving from game to game.”
The collection is ultimately a culmination of all three brands’ best parts. The NBA’s sense of being a team, UNION’s Americana street style, and Canada Goose’s luxury functionality each unite to create a limited capsule collection which embodies “community, culture, and craftsmanship”. As Chris says of UNION, “I don’t like absolutes or limits”, and with that ethos not even the sky’s the limit for UNION – who knows what they’ll do next.
See the full campaign and collection on Canada Goose’s website.
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