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…?”