Exporter of the Year Award

Congratulations! Northern Garments is awarded the Yukon Exporter of the Year!

Following in the footsteps of other successful Yukon businesses, like Yukon Brewing (2008), Sherwood Copper (2007), and Arctic Premium Water (2006), Northern Garments is recognized by the Yukon Chamber of Commerce for their efforts in bringing Yukon products to the world. Designer and Vice-President Megan Waterman comments from Toronto as she upgrades her company’s Computer Aided Design (CAD) system, “we are really grateful for being recognized within the business community and we are very appreciative of the support we have received from our Yukon community.”


One Skookum Woman

Cost of SKOOKUMbrand® Yukon Anorak, approximately $995 — finding an email in our inbox from a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee…absolutely priceless!

Part of the fun of being involved in the 2007-08 International Polar Year (IPY) is being connected to such powerful, strong & impressive northerners like Inuit leader and activist, Sheila Watt-Cloutier.

Sheila grew up on the land, living a traditional Inuit way of life in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, Northern Quebec. She has gone on to become an important political leader at the local, regional, and international levels, and now resides in Iqaluit. Sheila has worked on a range of social and environmental issues that affect Inuit and circumpolar people and has recently focused on persistent organic pollutants and global climate change. She has received numerous awards and honours for her work and has been featured in a number of documentaries. In 2007, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize next to Al Gore.

So when we sat down and thought about where our IPY promotional anoraks should be distributed, her name quickly floated to the top of our list! And what an honour it is to present her with a token of our esteem. Thank you Sheila for your important and timely contributions, for being such a skookum person, and for making us Canadians so proud! Kudos!

Photo: Stephen Lowe

Please learn more about Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s achievements

at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards website

or one of her presentations on YouTube here


Northern Garments Inc. (NGI) and the Klondike Visitor’s Association (KVA) are teaming up to establish a new prize for rookie mushers during the Yukon Quest, the annual 1,000 mile international sled dog race from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska. Winners will receive a SKOOKUMbrand® Yukon Anorak.

Within the 7-billion dollar apparel industry in Canada and in the footsteps of industry moguls like Hemptown Naturals and Lululemon, Northern Garments has won their industry’s top national award for innovation (2006 Fashion Export Award). NGI and their SKOOKUMbrand® Yukon Anorak have also won our top national awards in the discipline of Design (2007 DX Award).  NGI is currently producing the official anorak of the 2007-08 International Polar Year (IPY) with an endorsement from the organization while directing a significant portion of its profits towards wildlife habitat protection. IPY involves 60-countries, 10,000-scientists, and over 50,000-participants that are working on polar science and global climate change issues.

While these are impressive achievements, NGI is still a relative “rookie” within their industry and wishes to celebrate the teams that take on the Yukon Quest, citing: “as entrepreneurs in a challenging business it feels like we are running the Quest each day; as a result, we can relate to the chutzpah that is required. It is for this reason we have established an annual prize for the first rookie musher into the Yukon Quest half-way point in Dawson City.”

NGI and the KVA are confident this prize will provide additional incentive for first-time mushers to sign up! The KVA is interested in partnering with regional businesses, groups, and associations to support this important community event.

2007 DX Awards

Northern Garments Inc. (NGI) and designer, Megan Waterman, win award in the top Canadian design competition with their distinctly Canadian SKOOKUMbrand® Yukon Anorak.

Located in one of the most historic and elegant buildings in Toronto – the former Toronto Stock Exchange, the Design Exchange (DX) is Canada’s design museum and centre for design research and education. The Design Exchange promotes the value of Canadian design and works towards its vision of establishing Canada as a worldwide design leader. The DX Awards are presented by the Globe and Mail and sponsored by Audi, Aeroplan, Fairmont Royal York, Enville Catering and Exclusive Affair Rentals.

In 2007, the DX Awards received 140 high-quality entries from across Canada. This year the Design Exchange created a new award for their national design competition, the DX Staff Choice Award, which goes to the project the professional design staff feel is most worthy of special recognition. For the first time ever, the DX staff was able to select their favourite design project from all the multidisciplinary entries coming in from across the country.

This year, the DX staff chose the SKOOKUMbrand® Yukon Anorak as their favourite example of innovative Canadian design, stating the design was “an excellent mix of function, aesthetics, profitability and sustainability – and a terrific example of Canadian innovation that is doing well on the world stage.” The Design Exchange staff consists of a lively mix of professional graphic designers, interior designers, design historians, fashion designers, educators, researchers and artists.

Skookum [skoo-kuh m] is a First Nation word meaning powerful, strong & impressive. Compared to other bulky industrial parkas, SKOOKUMbrand® anoraks are lightweight, fashionable, and highly versatile, meaning the “arctic 3-season” jacket can be worn in a wide range of temperatures not just during extreme cold temperatures. Every northerner knows that the secret to staying warm is staying dry and the real innovation behind the SKOOKUMbrand® anorak stems from its ability to actively vent moisture which helps keep its wearers dry. The anorak is a Registered Industrial Design with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Megan Waterman is a professional fashion designer that has been recognized regionally, nationally and internationally for her design talent, as well as her environmental values and authentic take on fur. After finishing her professional training at Kwantlen University-College, she headed north to the Yukon where she started a small business designing historic costumes and eventually co-founding Northern Garments Inc. (NGI).

NGI is founded on principles of design integrity, quality workmanship, and, sustainable & respectful resource use – within these parameters it makes clothing and accessories from the north, for the north and proudly exports its northern cultural products to southern Canada, the USA, Scandinavia, and the EU.

This energetic company from Canada’s far north is quickly building national recognition for being innovative. “We are extremely honoured to be recognized in this manner” says partner, Jake Duncan, adding respectfully, “given the caliber of competition within the discipline of design in Canada — it’s downright humbling.”

In the $7-billion dollar apparel industry in Canada, and next to Canadian industry moguls HT Naturals and Lululemon, NGI recently won the 2006 award for industry innovation (2006 Fashion Export Award, featured in Style Magazine). And what’s next for this company now that it has won our top national awards for design and innovation? Duncan leaves off with a question, “now if we can just find an excuse to involve our distinctly Canadian anoraks in the 2010 Winter Olympics…?”


IPY Official Endorsement

Northern Garments Inc. (NGI) is proud to announce an official endorsement by the International Polar Year (IPY). To commemorate the event, NGI is producing a special limited edition SKOOKUMbrand® Yukon Anorak and directing a significant percentage of sales proceeds towards habitat protection in the north.

NGI is founded on principles of design integrity, quality workmanship, and sustainable & respectful resource use. Within these parameters it makes clothing and accessories from the north, for the north. SKOOKUMbrand® Yukon Anoraks are NGI’s line of outdoorwear named after a First Nation word meaning Powerful, Strong and Impressive. The highly innovative and award winning SKOOKUMbrand® Yukon Anorak is a meld of modern and traditional materials that has been built upon centuries-old Inuit design.

A joint committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has supervised preparations of the IPY. The main purpose of IPY is to complete important scientific research while fostering international cooperation regarding polar issues, and, increase the knowledge of their importance to the earth’s ecosystem, climate and hydrology. The three former International Polar Years were in 1882-1883, 1932-1933 and 1957-58. This is the first time IPY is being carried out against the backdrop of global climate change.

The 2007-08 International Polar Year will actually extend over two years (2007-09) to allow for scientific field seasons in both poles. There are over 10,000 scientists from 60 countries, and over 50,000 participants involved in IPY that together are spending the equivalent of 1.5 billion US dollars on polar research. The internationally coordinated scientific program focused on both the Arctic and Antarctic will initiate a new era in polar science that is sure to leave a positive legacy long into the future.

The special limited edition SKOOKUMbrand® Yukon Anorak will be produced in purposely limited quantities during 2007 & 2008. As a sign of appreciation, IPY participants will enjoy discounts and to “put their money where their mouth is”, NGI is directing 5% of the sales proceeds towards habitat protection in the north.