If you plan on backwoods moose hunting this season, Outdoor Survival Canada has you covered with its expedition-quality parkas built for sub-zero temperatures. But if the most taxing excursion you foresee is waiting in line for brunch, you might want to check out its sister line OSC Cross.
Parka chic is not new. Every year, at the first sign of snow, out come the ubiquitous, big brand down jackets with Michelin Man–heft and tundra-ready loops and pulls. For squeezing through crowds, cycling in the sleet and popping in and out of doors, however, as city life demands, more adaptable outerwear is required.
“Customers love the original line,” says Tammy Yiu, assistant designer for OSC Cross. “But they get very hot, very fast in the mall and on the TTC.” OSC Cross launched last year to suit those craving a lighter, streamlined silhouette. “It doesn’t take excessive down to make a jacket warmer,” says Yiu. “It’s about the quality of the down, how it’s quilted and the material that surrounds it.”
The brand’s six parkas and two mid-layer vests are constructed from nylon coated on the outside with hydrophobic Teflon. Inside, Entrax-800, a durable and breathable wind- and water- barrier, further seals the nylon and makes it feel like khaki. The resilient shells, handmade in Scarborough, sandwich a blend of indigenous duck and goose down.
Each jacket is named for a Canadian city, and urbanites will appreciate the stylish utility of the parkas, especially the cuff-extending, interior sleeves that keep wrists covered while texting, the fleece-lined collars reinforced with malleable wire to block wind and the Velcro-closed pockets set at angles on the chest and arm for instant access to stuff. Best yet: the thickest jacket of the lot is just five-centimeters-deep and the heaviest is less than two kilograms.
Now, if only someone would up the style ante on winter footwear.
Originally featured in our Winter 2012 issue as Fresh Coats.