Exclusive: Haider Ackermann Is the New Creative Director of Canada Goose

In another exciting career move, Haider Ackermann is taking the helm at Canada Goose as the outerwear brand’s new creative director. After a stint as guest designer for Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture, the Colombian-born founder of his eponymous label is stepping into a new challenge with this latest appointment. Those familiar with Ackermann know his knack for technically rigorous tailoring and fluidity, embracing all sides of femininity when draping and cutting. Surely, his role at Canada Goose will be just as technical, but in a different capacity, given its recent commitment to sustainable practices and usage of eco-conscious fabrics like Tencel and lyocell, as well as the bigger goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2025.

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Willy Vanderperre

To celebrate the announcement, Ackermann designed his first hoodie for the company, the PBI Hoodie, made of organic cotton in four striking colors: Borealis Green, Arctic Blue, Crystal White, and Onyx Black. Keeping in line with its commitment to charity, 100 percent of proceeds from sales will benefit Polar Bears International (PBI), the leading organization committed to protecting wild polar bears, and a longtime partner of Canada Goose. When considering a campaign star, there was only one option: Jane Fonda, the iconic actress and fierce environmental activist who walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to fighting against climate change, even going so far as to get arrested at protests in the name of environmental justice.

Here, in an exclusive interview with ELLE.com, Ackermann discusses his new chapter, working with Fonda, and the importance of escaping into nature.

How does it feel to formally return to the role of creative director?

Fortunately, it doesn’t feel like much of a return—I’ve had several collaborations with various partners over the last few years where I’ve acted in the role of creative director. The work has been really varied, from couture to streetwear to beauty, and so this role at Canada Goose feels like a new challenge where I can employ a lot of what I’ve learned over the years, but also, I have to say, the opportunity to learn new techniques and approaches.

What drew you to working with Canada Goose?

I was drawn to how Canada Goose created a category, and its authentic reputation and drive to stay committed to its purpose. [CEO] Dani Reiss has built an impressive business, so I’ve also been inspired by the challenge to work with a brand and product that serves a broad audience and, in that respect, it’s not a fashion brand—it’s timeless and really about protection, function, and utility. After working with Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture, which was an exercise in extreme craftsmanship and beauty, the chance to explore technical design from a performance perspective is a big part of the attraction.

Jane Fonda is such a natural choice to front this campaign. How did that partnership come about?

Last November, I had the privilege to spend a few days with the team from Polar Bears International, navigating the expansive landscape of the sub-arctic searching for polar bears about to start their annual journey north. Spending time with climate scientists and biologists was life-changing, to say the least, and it is also the reason why I wanted this announcement tied to PBI and their purpose. Jane Fonda was the first person I thought of who has an honest stake in this conversation, as a long-time climate champion and someone I have always deeply admired. Working with her was just as I had hoped—her energy and passion was infectious.

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Willy Vanderperre

What role does nature play in your life?

The older I get, the more I need the escape of nature. I’ve learned there is a luxury to slowing down, taking a deep breath, and whenever possible, being enveloped by endless landscapes, vast mountains, or the deep ocean. I really crave it. It’s essential for me. For as much as I can, I put my phone away and allow myself to recharge.

Is there anywhere in the world you haven’t been that you’d like to visit?

If there is a way to visit Antarctica that is environmentally friendly, that would be a dream. This summer, I’m also planning a trip to Vancouver Island to see the orca whales and grizzly bears and a road trip through British Columbia visiting glaciers.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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