Union’s Collab With Canada Goose and the NBA Is Now Available to Shop

canada goose x union x nba

Union LA Bring SoCal Vibes to Its New CollabCourtesy

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Update: The collection is available now. If you’re in the market, get shopping—these collabs have a habit of selling out quickly.

Read our original story and interview with Chris Gibbs below.

It really is about who you know—at least in part. According to Chris Gibbs, the upcoming three-way collaboration between his store, Union LA, and Canada Goose and the NBA wouldn’t have happened without an old friend: Sarah Andelman of the storied (and now shuttered) Parisian concept shop Colette.

“We were chatting, and she brought up the opportunity of maybe working with Canada Goose. I was like, ‘Hell yeah,’” says Gibbs. “It progressed from there pretty easily.” Of course, simply introducing some guy to a brand like Canada Goose probably wouldn’t have led anywhere. (This is, after all, the third iteration of a series that’s already tapped Rhude and Salehe Bembury as collaborators.) That’s where talent and experience come in.

Gibbs has been at the helm of Union for more than a decade. In that time, he’s turned the store into a leading light when it comes to blurring the boundaries between fashion and streetwear. Before LV x Supreme, and well before the current fashion landscape writ large, there was Union LA selling high fashion and graphic tees from local labels right next to one another. Add to that the fact that Gibbs and co. are frequent and highly successful collaborators—the team’s highly sought-after Jordans are a shining example—and you’ve got a clear recipe for something interesting.

The result is a tightly edited collection of layerable outerwear, available on February 9 in anticipation of NBA All-Star Weekend, that pays homage to Gibbs and Union’s SoCal home. “Although I am Canadian and although I grew up in cold weather, I now live in Southern California, which is pretty warm weather,” Says Gibbs, who was born in Ottowa. “So, I wanted to figure a way for us to juxtapose that relationship of what would a Southern Californian do with Canada Goose. So that was the kickoff point and for inspiration for me, was to try and play with that.”

Here, Gibbs walks us through the current state of collaboration, how he’s going to put his own collection to the test, the ongoing style influence of the NBA, and why whoever invented Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos tacos was definitely into streetwear.

union x canada goose x nba collaboration

The Toussaint parka in Midnight Navy and Breda liner in Seabreeze.Courtesy

On the collaborative collection and its colorful details

Canada Goose can make a black jacket without me. They can make a blue jacket without me too. But I guess, especially because we’re the small guy and they’re the big guy, I always consider this is an opportunity for them to maybe have a little bit of fun and do something different. And when I say “them,” I mean any collaborator. In this case, Canada Goose. So yeah, we definitely had fun with color. We made the two vests in a fun plaid. That was my juxtaposition of Southern California flannel. You would wear a flannel during the winter here and that’s maybe it. But then we made it into a polar fleece vest, which I really liked. And I like the idea of adding color and juxtaposing some depth, for lack of a better term.

We did a liner that can get buttoned into an outer shell, and that’s the layering we’re talking about. And we did those liners in a baby blue and a bright orange. The thought was, you can get those liners in black and olive drab and navy anywhere, so let’s offer the consumer something different. And although you can wear those liners by themselves, and obviously they’re going to be bright, I’ve always liked the idea of sometimes playing with color on the interior. Your jacket flows as you’re walking down the street, and there are these hints of colors because the linings may be a pop color. So when you wear that jacket, that liner, inside the outer parka, it’ll be that pop of color. I think it’s a very Union thing to do a lot of color.

the safety orange interior of the fully reversible bullard bomber

The safety orange interior of the (fully reversible) Bullard bomber.Courtesy

On wear-testing his collection

It’s funny, I’m going to Toronto next week on Tuesday to kick off the press of this. Everybody’s worried like, “It’s really cold here. Do you have warm clothing?” And I’m like, “Yeah, I’m going to wear this collection. I’m going to layer it like it’s meant to be.” And I’m going to wear maybe the outer layer that I’ve been wearing here in Southern California where it is winter, but it’s still relatively warm, as the shell. I’m going to layer with the liner that we made. So I know that was a long-winded answer. But long story short, I’ve always been into layering even when I lived in cold weather cities. So I guess I’m about to put it to the test.

On collaboration—and whether there’s too much of it

Call me an optimist, but I legitimately don’t sit around thinking about, “Well, is there too much?” It’s more about, “Are the ones that are out there good? Are they doing what they’re supposed to be doing?” I think when you’re doing a collaboration, it goes beyond just the design. It’s a full holistic ecosphere of design, marketing, sales, distribution. We live in a pluralistic world, and a copycat world, and so people have definitely seen brands getting attention by doing collaborations. So there’s going to be a bunch of brands that don’t do ones that are considered, I suppose. But when considered, when done right—and I believe we’ve done this one right—I’m a fan. I’m a sucker for dope shit. I don’t know how else to say it. So when there’s dope shit out there, I’m down for it.

the tuissant parka and breda liner in pearl and california sun, respectively

The Toussaint parka and Breda liner in Pearl and California Sun, respectively.Courtesy

On the unexpected influence of collab culture

I think streetwear is the collaboration subgenre of fashion. We are the ones that brought that to the forefront. And now that streetwear’s become very pop culture, very mainstream, you’re seeing it more. You’re seeing it in places that didn’t exist in fashion. You’re seeing it in cuisine. This is a little dated, but me and my friends joked when the Doritos Taco Bell thing came out, someone on that team is a fan of street wear. You know what I mean?

On the NBA’s ongoing style influence

The NBA being really a big part of men’s fashion, that goes way back. That’s not new. The tunnel fits are the new version of that, but that goes back to the generation before mine and Dr. Jay and Walt Clyde Frazier with his fur coats and all that stuff. And then obviously, I think the person who really brought it to the forefront was maybe Allen Iverson. You know what I mean? Nobody had tattoos until he came in. Nobody thought they could wear their hair in braids. Nobody wore their clothing baggy.

the legion vest in tartan yellow

The Legion Vest in Tartan Yellow.Courtesy

So now, the continuation of that is the tunnel fits. I think most brands maybe don’t necessarily think that they’ve made it until a couple of NBA players are representing them. You had Russell Westbrook, five years ago, going to Fashion Week and representing there. So the NBA’s held a hold and has held a huge part in men’s fashion in particular, and it’s been so for a while. If I think about my first musings or inspiration of fashion, it’s basketball players and rappers for me. So yes, that was definitely a huge consideration at the genesis of the project and throughout the whole project—making garments that I thought would be appreciated by the players and thus the consumer. This collaboration wouldn’t be the same at all—in fact, it probably wouldn’t be possible—if it was with, sorry, the NHL or even the NFL. I think that in itself tells you how important the NBA is to fashion.

the breda liner in seabreeze

The Breda liner in Seabreeze.Courtesy

On whether reports of streetwear’s death are exaggerated

I’ve always been a big proponent of what streetwear means for fashion. But I can tell you, it’s a tough time for streetwear right now. I’ll be honest, had you asked me that question a year ago, I would’ve been offended, maybe. You know what I mean? I would’ve defended streetwear and would’ve been like, “Are you kidding? It’s alive and well. It’s thriving. It’s the number one revenue generator in the world for fashion.” What’s happened? Why would people consider it to be dead now? It’s complicated. But my humble opinion is that… And I think we are part of the pollution. By we, I mean Union. One of the things we’ve been known for is championing the blurred lines of streetwear and high fashion, and ushering that in. It hit well. It hit hard. So I look at the high-fashion brands, the luxury brands these days, and they’re doing a lot of streetwear, more than what they would’ve historically done. And they’re doing it well.

And they have multimillion dollar marketing budgets to push that forward. Streetwear has historically been more DIY, smaller, mom-and-pop brands. I know there’s the Supremes and Stussys of the world that are much bigger, but generally speaking, it’s mostly smaller brands. So yeah, I think what I would say is: It’s not dead. In fact, I think it’s alive and well. It’s just vacationing somewhere. You know what I mean? It’s not living in the place you’re used to it living. It’s living on the runway show in Paris, and you’re used to it living in the streets. So it’s doing a residency, let’s call it, elsewhere. But it’s definitely not dead.

And then I also think things go in cycles. I’ll say this, we’re in a down cycle for the traditional streetwear, but I think streetwear is how most brands survived the pandemic. It was booming two, three years ago. So it’s just in a cycle. It’s in a bit of a down cycle, the traditional take on streetwear. But I think I would also argue that it’s just changed addresses for a little while.

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