Editor’s Column: An Open Letter to Canada Goose

Just kidding, this isn’t an open letter. It’s just an editorial from a student with one month left at Colgate. For the past three years I have remained (moderately) quiet on the topic of Canada Goose jackets. OK, not that quiet at all, but I’ve tried. Actually, when I first came to Colgate, I had never even heard of Canada Goose. It’s been an educational four years, y’all. I’m ready to start talking. 

Here is the question you should ask yourself if you’re considering buying a Canada Goose coat:  “Do I live and/or work at a research station in Antarctica?” 

If the answer to this question is no, then don’t buy the coat. This was the sole reason they were

developed. Not so that you could get it stolen from the Jug and post about it in your class group’s Facebook page. 

I know there are far more pressing issues in our world than Canada Goose. But for me, this has come to represent many of them. These coats cost from approximately $795 to $1,695. 

This is excessive in every way. I consider them a way to flaunt wealth, an entirely unnecessary status symbol. I think that we need to seriously consider why this status symbol is so widespread on our campus, especially because Colgate is one of 38 colleges in the U.S. that has more students from the top 1 percent of the income scale than the bottom 60 percent. This is something we should be talking about. A large portion of the student body would agree that inclusivity is an issue on Colgate’s campus. Maybe you don’t connect your Canada Goose jacket to that issue, but I do. It contributes to our campus culture of privilege. This is something I would ask you to consider when you put on your Canada Goose. 

Also, if it has fur on it, a coyote died in the making of your coat. That coyote had a family, okay? If you’ve ever seen a picture of a coyote, you know that they’re nature’s German Shepherds. So here’s another test: ask yourself, “Would I kill my neighbor’s German Shepherd for this coat?” If the answer is no, don’t buy it. 

I’m not trying to “bleeding-heart” guilt-trip you on this one. I eat meat. I own an item made of leather. Many would argue that these are also unethical decisions. But I believe that if you’re going to wear this coat, you should understand how the coyote died. It is very likely that it was caught in a trap, and that it froze or starved to death. I hope that if you care about dogs, or even if you don’t, this is a disturbing image for you. 

Canada Goose makes a lot of claims on their website about “ethical fur.” These claims are just vague enough that you can read them and pretend that your coat is okay. Canada Goose also claims that fur is “the best choice.” This is simply not true; scientists have developed synthetic fabrics every bit as warm as real fur. Canada Goose also claims that killing coyotes is good for the environment. I won’t say this is completely false – there might be regions where overpopulation is an issue. But given the number of these coats produced per year, there’s no way that this is true for the amount of coyotes killed in the pursuit of fashion. 

I’m also not trying to tell you that you’re a bad person. This isn’t meant to be a personal attack on anyone. I think that these coats are unethical and problematic for a lot of reasons, and you should rethink your decision to support this company. Or at the very least, don’t ever buy another one. If you feel very strongly about spending $800 on winter wear, then here’s an idea: buy four $200 North Faces, keep one, and donate the other three. Hell, even keep two of them. If not, then save yourself $800 and don’t buy the coat.  

Contact Sarah Anderson at [email protected].