The last thing I was expecting on a trip to Iceland was a heat wave. How could I go somewhere with “ice” literally in its name and wind up with a sunburn?
But here I was with Canada Goose and other international editors on a journey to the Land of Fire and Ice. As the average temperature in Iceland in September is around 10oC, the intention of the trip was to test out the new fall gear — a series of form-fitting parkas that combine fashion and function. However, when we arrived, the cab driver informed us that we were here for the “first day of summer,” a joke referencing the freak 22oC weather. Cut to our first activity — a swim in the hot springs at the Blue Lagoon — and between the sun and the reflections on the water, my pale Canadian complexion got fried.
Model, actor and activist Khadijha Red Thunder (above) joined the group for our second day of sightseeing. She did not, however, miss the heat. Although she arrived decked out in Canada Goose outerwear, by the time we were horseback riding along the cliffs of Selfoss, Red Thunder was reduced to her innermost layers, like the rest of us. You really are at the hand of your surroundings here,” she reflects during our chat the next day. And indeed you are.
With its volcanic terrain, mammoth mountains and sweeping fields, Iceland is a country seemingly untouched by time; you can drive for hours upon hours and not see a single sign of human life. It’s unspeakably beautiful, yet it has the potential to be perilous if you’re not dressed appropriately — as we all experienced later that night while observing the Northern Lights. True to the country’s reputation, the temperature changed on a dime, and by nightfall, we were grateful to have down jackets. “It felt like being in a sci-fi movie,” says Red Thunder.
The Indigenous, African-American and Spanish beauty also got to experience the power of the earth in another setting — the Scottish Highlands — when she was photographed by Annie Leibovitz with model Soo Joo Park and actor Jodie Turner-Smith for the new Canada Goose campaign, Live in the Open. “I grew up very connected to nature,” shares Red Thunder, who was raised in Washington state. Her tribe, the Chippewa-Cree, and her grandmother, however, are from “the woods woods” of Saskatchewan. “There’s something about trees and fresh air that powers me up,” she explains. “I feel recharged, humbled and grounded.”
As such, Red Thunder gravitates toward garments she can wear in both the forest and fashion worlds. “I dress exactly how I want,” she reveals, describing her style as “pretty tomboy.” And the Canada Goose fall collection delivers exactly that. The brand produced the parkas to withstand temperatures up to –30oC and to flatter the female figure. But what truly differentiates this season’s offering are design details like shawl collars, cinched waists and a soft colour palette as well as the introduction of Ventera, a smooth fabric created to be durable, wind-resistant and perfect for unpredictable weather — like, say, an Icelandic heat wave. Just be sure to pack some sunscreen.
Face the weather in Iceland (or anywhere) in functional yet fashionable outerwear:
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