Mammoth Outerwear offers animal-free alternative to traditional winter parkas

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      Animal lovers who have been struggling to find an ethical alternative to fur-lined and down-filled winter parkas—many of which, on average, require one coyote and two geese to produce—don’t need to look much further.

      Co-founded by former B.C. Lions linebacker James Yurichuk, Mammoth Outerwear produces premium winter jackets that are made without the use of animal fur and feathers. Instead, the brand employs PrimaLoft Gold Insulation—a synthetic microfibre lining that performs just as well, if not better, than goose down—and sustainable materials such as wood and cotton.

      Now a linebacker for the Toronto Argonauts, Yurichuk was inspired to create the collection of vegan coats when he returned to Toronto in 2012 after a three-year stint with the Lions in Vancouver.

      “I noticed that every second person was wearing a fur-trim parka and they sort of made a sneaky comeback onto the winter fashion scene,” he explains in a phone interview with the Straight.

      Yurichuk comes from an eco-conscious family and has been vocal throughout his career about his support of wildlife and the environment, so he decided to team up with Andy Debartolo, a childhood friend and tailor in Toronto, to create Mammoth Outerwear.

      Each of Mammoth’s coats uses PrimaLoft Gold Insulation, which is water-resistant and, unlike goose down, retains up to 98% of heat when wet. The lightweight fabric is the preferred insulator for the U.S. army and, most notably for Yurichuk, Hydro-Québec employees, who are known to spend hours working in harsh weather conditions.

      Despite the ultra-warm padding, the jackets are anything but bulky. Produced in Toronto, they feature a stylish and form-fitting design, plus thoughtful details like felted pockets, wood toggles, and cotton cords made from locally sourced hockey skate laces.

      Convenient climate control back straps also allow the coats to be worn as a backpack during warmer settings, when disembarking an airplane or riding the Skytrain, for example.

      The interiors are lined with Mammoth’s signature flannel plaid, offering a distinctly Canadian feel and adding another layer of warmth. “You feel real cozy when you get into these jackets,” notes Yurichuk. “It’s like a winter cocoon.”

      Yurichuk and Debartolo launched a Kickstarter campaign for Mammoth in November with the goal of raising $50,000. They reached their target in just five days and are now well on their way to $100,000, which will go toward further research and development for the products.

      Animal rights activist Pamela Anderson has even tweeted her support for the company.

      For every coat sold, Mammoth will donate $10 to the Fur-Bearer Defenders, a Vancouver-based organization that works to protect fur-bearing animals from inhumane trapping and fur farms.

      “It’s really not worth the lives of fur animals for fashion when we have something that’s equally warm, functional, and good-looking in our product,” Yurichuk says.

      Mammoth currently has plans to produce four coats—two bombers and two parkas for men and women, starting at $625 each.

      Mammoth Outerwear’s Kickstarter campaign ends on December 24. To make a contribution or learn more about the movement, visit the company’s Kickstarter page.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.