This month, Moose Knuckles launched their Seven Deadly Sins capsule collection with international events in London, Milan, and New York, where the series culminated in a “House of Sin” party at The World of McIntosh Townhouse – a celebration not only of the Canadian outerwear brand’s latest line of winter coats and jackets, but the opening of the label’s first-ever Soho store. The US finale featured a surprise performance by none other than Lil Kim, who entertained A-listers in the Lust Room: a strip club-inspired area, and just one of the themed environments of the evening, which also featured a CBD dome-covered Indolence Room and a gold-soaked casino style Greed Room. These lush, immersive events are part of Moose Knuckles’ multi-pronged strategy to change the vocabulary of how we consume, market, and use high-end outerwear – a future-focused approach that zeros in on the experience, desires, and impact of young and influential customers while maintaining traditional production values, and emphasizes Canadian culture and expertise within a fully global brand message. So far, the strategy seems to be working. With a Manhattan presence and an expanding footprint in Asia and Europe, the ten year-old label, founded by a family with almost a century of experience in functional outerwear, is more visible than it has ever been before, and is proving itself as agile in adapting to changing styles as it is in responding to evolving consumer priorities such as sustainability and ethical treatment of animals. Marco D’Avanzo, Moose Knuckles’ general manager and vice president of global sales, gave 032c the details on his outerwear vision. Meanwhile, we asked 032c contributor Vitali Gelwich to shoot some of Moose Knuckles’ latest designs in our (increasingly wintery) home city of Berlin.
The family behind Moose Knuckles has been in outerwear since the 1920s, but Moose Knuckles is only 10 years old. How does that heritage come into the brand conversation, into the innovative marketplace? Does this history present particular challenges or advantages?
Our roots are deeply grounded in the cold Canadian winters, which define our knowhow in outerwear design and production. The culturally open environment and the young international culture that permeate Canadian society did the rest, and opened up the brand to the world.
What is Moose Knuckles doing in premium outerwear to distinguish itself in a competitive and dynamic market?
Our core business is outerwear, but we don’t approach it just from an outdoor/performance perspective. We see ourselves as a fashion brand. How it works is through a combination of storytelling, correct market positioning, and an innovative approach to distribution – always treating the key players as partners and the best ambassadors of the brand and its values. We nurture inclusiveness at all levels. The market is always eager for new brands and product, but what was unique to our consumers was the new fresh message and disruptive marketing, which is much needed in an evolving marketplace.
Who is the Moose Knuckles client, exactly? Creatively, how would you describe the approach and ethos of the latest collection and its marketing?
Our consumer is a metropolitan superhero who is a component of and gives shape to the contemporary world, and our jacket is a bit like the uniform to accompany this person, both on the way to work and at the entrance of the coolest club in a key global city. In that sense, our outerwear goes beyond the concept of protection from the cold. Parkas have been reinterpreted and become a fashionable, stylish, and sexy garment.
What surprises have you encountered working with the brand in terms of its consumers, their habits, their demographics or distribution?
It will soon be easier to talk about communities and cultures than for example nationalities to identify consumers. The younger generations are traveling the world, powered by social media and connected through the digital world. More than the usual demographics and distribution, our brand is all about building a community of like-minded people who believe in the same values. Artists, creatives, movers and shakers defining our world are who inspire us.
How have you seen the market for outerwear evolve in the last decade?
Premium outerwear has become the new “it” category for luxury shoppers all over the world and, as shown in the most important global reports on fashion and luxury, one of the most profitable for the industry, together with handbags and premium sneakers. The trend has been growing steadily in the last decade and has continued for 2019 Q4.
How is Moose Knuckles responding to that growth? What do you predict for the future of outerwear?
Because outerwear has been a solid and mature segment for a while, there is space for newness and differentiation of the offer. Young consumers especially are looking for something new and with a personality, to reflect new trends and attitude. Moose Knuckles is exactly the answer to these needs, taking this category to the fashion world and bringing new energy in the retail landscape. Ultimately, everything is about feelings and true experience in the Moose world, while always offering a product of uncompromised quality. Now we’re also expanding to new categories and lightweight transitional outerwear. And with our retail experiences, we are building authentic connections with our community, renewing the relationship between the brand and the consumer, who becomes the protagonist of the brand’s life and vice versa.
Sustainability is a major part of the conversation in all areas of fashion. As an outerwear company, there must be additional expectation for Moose Knuckles to engage and contribute to this conversation. How are you talking about environmental issues as a brand?
We consider sustainability – in all its aspects – a priority theme in our strategic choices. We started to transition the product range to meet the needs of customers with a new sensibility towards these topics and in particular towards the use of fur: the outerwear product mix for 2019 is already 40 percent fur-free. All down used in Moose Knuckle jackets is RDS (Responsible Down Standard) certified, meaning all of it comes from and is a by-product of ducks and geese that have been humanely treated and raised for the food industry. We are also working on other ways to make our collections more sustainable. Our design and product team is testing innovative and renewable materials, focusing on new and environmentally friendly opportunities while preserving the highest technical and quality standards. The Soft Shell group that will be presented for Autumn/Winter 2020 will be made from 100 percent recyclable materials and all-metal trims. They will be Moose Knuckles’ first eco-garments!
SCROLL DOWN for pictures from Moose Knuckles’ “House of Sin” event in New York!
Photography: Vitali Gelwich
Photo Assistants: Paul Skulimma, Simon Schreiner, Amelie Kahn-Ackermann, Moritz Knierim
Styling: Erik Raynal
Styling Assistant: Elisabeth Kwan
Makeup: Karin Westerlund
Makeup Assistant: Lea Komminoth
Hair: Gregor Makris
Hair Assistant: Anja Schuett
Casting: Dominik Wimmer
With Footwear by Northwave Espresso, Premiata, ROA, and Buffallo by 032c