The first time I slipped on a SKOOKUMbrand anorak was like donning a second skin: it’s that comfortable. As a long-time northerner, I’ve worn my share of parkas, but this wasn’t the cumbersome Arctic creation I’d come to expect. No wonder this award-winning design by Dawson City, YT designer Megan Waterman will be in the spotlight at the 2010 Winter Games. Yukon delegates will be wearing the coveted anorak, and SKOOKUMbrand will be sold alongside other original creations from Canada’s North at the Nunavut Development Corporation-sponsored Northern House in downtown Vancouver.
In a few short years, Waterman has taken her innovative anorak–it’s a registered industrial design–from her workshop in the Klondike goldfields to catwalks and retailers around the world. The lightweight design is all about layering and three-season use. Which is why you’re as likely to see someone sporting a SKOOKUMbrand anorak way down south on the streets of Banff, AB as you are in Nunavut. Sure, it’s been field-tested for the past four years in the Yukon Quest, the Iditarod and the Yukon Arctic Ultra, but Waterman has her sights set on active people the world ‘round.
Waterman’s design is inspired by the Inuit amauti, a traditional Arctic parka with an oversized hood worn by women to carry their children. She borrowed some of the traditional garment’s essential elements–pullover design, scalloped apron, fur-lined hood–and melded them with modern technology: wind and water-resistant fabrics, Polartec fleece, YKK zippers and my favourite, the de rigeur iPod pouch.
This busy mother-of-two isn’t likely to get too caught up in Olympic fever. She’s preoccupied with her growing Dawson City operation located in the heart of the Klondike where miners dug up much of the Gold Rush payload. Waterman finds plenty of inspiration in this artsy, offbeat community, home to the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture, the acclaimed Dawson City Music Festival and the halfway point on the Yukon Quest.