Battle of the Brands: Sears vs. Canada Goose

Today I came across an article tweeted by Lauren O’Neil (@laurenonizzle) of the CBC that caught my eye. No, it wasn’t another scandalous Rob Ford story (I think we’ve all had enough of those at the moment), it was a story about the popular Canada Goose brand apparently suing Sears over some ‘knock off’ jackets.

Now neither of these brands really appeal to me (I haven’t shopped at Sears since I was 11 years old, and Canada Goose products don’t quite fit my university student budget), but it caught my eye because I instantly knew what jackets were causing the controversy. Only because I totally remember seeing these jackets on display as I passed through Sears a few months ago at the mall and thought, wow those really look like Canada Goose jackets.

The original article can be found here, along with an image of the original Canada Goose jacket. I tried to find the imitation Sears jacket on their website however, it seems as though it may have been removed for the moment. But a similar bomber-style can still be found here. And it’s still an imitation because Canada Goose also sells bomber jackets.

Now I think both jackets are equally nice, and the price of the Sears version is obviously more appealing since CG jackets run about $700, but I think there’s a really sad aspect to this whole thing. Someone among the Sears design team (is that a thing? obviously they have something along those lines) decided, hey – let’s just stick a new logo on this money making design and let the profit roll in. Meanwhile, there are some really awesome fashion designers out there that are struggling to get their designs out because these huge corporations are too scared to take a risk. Lilly Pulitzer and Christian Dior are probably rolling in their graves. I’m all about staying on trend, and I’m not trying to say I haven’t tried to figure out how to make a CG jacket happen in my life; but as someone who has often considered getting into the fashion biz, it’s truly depressing to see the creativity sucked out of businesses with each new season.


6 thoughts on “Battle of the Brands: Sears vs. Canada Goose

  1. My take on this is that Sears only got in trouble because of their usage of the Circular Logo on their Alpinetech line, because when it comes to selling a Parka itself there are many manufacturers who have been selling very similar designs for decades, some of them with similar prestige and price point as Canada Goose.

    My theory also is that Sears chose to add the circular logo (there are a few other imitations with circular logos that I’ve seen while window shopping at Limeridge) specifically to place themselves as the mass market alternative to the relatively unattainable $600+ CG. Given that it has always been seen as a mass market brand for the middle class, a step above Walmart; it made a lot of sense for Sears to offer this. Some retailers use this strategy within the same company, for example for Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic offer very similar staples at different price and consequently quality points, often all three being located in the very same mall. While in some markets/malls the company will only feature an Old Navy as that is the seeming price ceiling of the mall.

    These hierarchies exist in a variety of fashion categories (eg: Aldo, Cole Haan, Allen Edmonds are vertical shoe brands that offer low-high price points for very similar designs) but why this case is lawsuit worthy is seemingly because of the power of a logo which differentiates the Parkas.

    p.s: Kudos on the blog! These things are worth a lot as a portfolio!

    • You raise a lot of good points, after a little more thought I’ve also started to see this from another angle: I think a lot of this controversy stems from CG’s attempt to differentiate itself from this middle-class brand. Obviously for monetary reasons, but also for brand recognition. As CG coats can be seen as a symbol of wealth and luxury, they want their customers to represent their brand. So a lower class market wearing imitation jackets definately takes away from the value of having a CG jacket.

      But anyways, thanks for your input Huzaifa! Definately broadened my perspective on the issue!

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