Salehe Bembury on his new Canada Goose x NBA collaboration


It seems Salehe Bembury has left his mark on all the big brands lately. And we mean that quite literally. After all, the fearsome shoe designer’s now-iconic thumbprint motif is a constant line in his work, present in all of his recent collaborations, from New Balance to Crocs to his latest: a capsule collection with Canada Goose and the NBA.

The new collaboration is part of Canada Goose‘s multi-year partnership with the NBA as the league’s “Proud Outerwear Partner”, which sees the brand develop an exclusive design collaboration for every All-Star Game, with a different designer at the helm each time. . Last year, they tapped Rhude founder Rhuigi Villaseñor, who gave the Canadian outerwear brand a SoCal twist. This year they recruited Bembury, who have changed sneaker culture over the past decade, leaving their mark on Yeezy and Versace with their innovative, familiar yet polarizing style ethos. The New York native has also become something of a nature influencer during the pandemic, developing a knack for documenting his morning hikes on Instagram.

For the limited-edition Canada Goose collection, Bembury said it wanted to respect the brand’s functional heritage while channeling the gloriously eccentric cuts of NBA stars in the ’90s. “Each player brought a unique perspective to the table that was influenced by her childhood, her region, her team,” he told Complex Canada. “What hadn’t been seen before by a mass audience became fashion in its own right…specifically ‘NBA fashion.’ Bold patterns, competing materials, layered looks and confident branding were all the thought Karl Malone’s cowboy hats Where Vince Carter’s Jedi Robe.

The four-piece unisex capsule captures that left-field energy with boldly juxtaposed materials, silhouettes and patterns. Bembury reimagines the Expedition Parka, Canada Goose’s OG crazy weather jacket, with an oversized chenille hood and removable vest. The Concord Fleece, on the other hand, gives fresh prince vibrates with a fearless, full-length thumbprint design. Both items will be made available to all players attending this year’s NBA All-Star Game on February 20. for a convertible fit.

Image via Canada Goose

Each piece is completed with a grand triumvirate of trademarks: the Canada Goose logo, the NBA logo, and Bembury’s tonal disc and label with its unmistakable fingerprint pattern. (Who knew biometrics could look so difficult?!) The collection, which will come with a “Play in the Open” campaign video that shows a stop-motion version of Bembury reveling in various outdoor activities. air, will launch February 11 at select Canada Goose retail stores, wholesale partners and on line.

We caught up with Bembury via email to find out the inspiration behind his Canada Goose x NBA collection, his love for the great outdoors and the tunnel cuts that have impressed him lately.

What made you want to partner with Canada Goose for this collaboration?
Growing up in New York, there was always one or a few core brands for specific items sitting on a spectrum of value and prestige. Canada Goose has always been one of those staples, one that communicates quality and prioritizes function.

Coming from an industrial design background and spending much of my time outdoors, it’s important that what I use and design performs at the highest level. Canada Goose and I share this belief and all three brands intersect on using “craftsmanship” to solve problems.

I use my design ability to consistently educate, give back and create products that bring joy to people. Canada Goose uses its long heritage of quality and function to solve cold weather environments. The NBA uses the abilities of its athletes to give back and enrich communities around the world. None of these initiatives would be possible without the basis of each entity’s “business”.

I’m very excited about the Expedition Parka because it’s a Canada Goose icon. I am extremely honored to be able to put my name on it.

Explain your vision of this line and how you put your personal touch on it.
The Salehe Bembury brand is versatile and still taking shape, but its basis is curiosity and I use colour, material and silhouette to communicate this.

I like this idea of ​​”honoring” the original design but communicating it through a different lens. The line’s vision is that the local Canada Goose consumer will find it familiar, while the new consumer will be instantly informed of the Canada Goose heritage.

The 90s was a time of fashion exploration and the collection is influenced by the bold juxtapositions of patterns, silhouettes, materials and function embodied in 90s NBA fashion. I explore this ethos within this collection.

A consistent element of my design is the “fingerprint”. We see it both literally and in implied patterns that can be seen in this collection, most explicitly in the Concord Fleece.

There seems to be a recurring theme in this campaign about breaking the rules, both style and reality. Can you describe this concept to me? Why is this important to you?
The collection is inspired by the freedom of the NBA style of the 90s. In developing this, each player brought a unique perspective to the table that was influenced by their childhood, their region, their team.

What hadn’t been seen before by a mass audience became a fad in its own right… more specifically “NBA fashion”. Bold patterns, competing materials, layered looks and confident branding were all there.

For example, Charles Oakley was often spotted in puffy jackets while Karl Malone was seen in cowboy hats. Each player has composed a beautiful juxtaposition of style without rules.

This collection celebrates the idea of ​​a strong graphic element to associate with a team. In this case, the team logo is the collaborative mark “Canada Goose and Salehe Bembury”.

Scene from the Salehe Bembury x Canada Goose x NBA collaboration
Image via Canada Goose

I know you’ve been really into hiking and the great outdoors lately. Talk about how you developed this passion and how it influenced this new collection.
My background has led me to spend a lot of time outdoors. Sharing my relationship with the outdoors unwittingly sparked a conversation and created a community. During a time when we were physically stagnant due to the pandemic, the outdoors has become a place of comfort for those near and far.

When a product can also motivate someone to do, go or play, I feel that said product achieves exponential value – this is Canada Goose’s “Live in the Open” philosophy and it permeates our partnership, the collection and “Play in the Open”. country.

The “universe” created for the Play in the Open campaign is an illustration of this lifestyle. “Play in the Open” is a conversation of discovery through experience, whether it’s hiking the Grand Canyon or simply taking a moment to take a few deep breaths in their local park. The intention of this collaboration is rooted in the “game”.

The great thing about design is that it’s one of the most powerful forms of communication without saying anything at all. With this in mind, the locations, color palette, wardrobe and hobbies have been selected to appeal to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts. We have also prioritized “inclusion” as a theme. Outdoor culture is often exclusive to certain groups, so we wanted to take this collaboration as an opportunity to welcome a new community of curious outdoor minds.

At NBA All-Star Weekend, I know there will be a Canada Goose and NBA Crossover activation that will include a life-size recreation of a fishing shack scene from the countryside. How big of a fisherman are you? Talk about that side of yourself.
The activities chosen for the campaign are fishing, basketball and cuddling. These are all my personal hobbies.

I grew up fishing every summer in Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard. My dad and I fished for plaice, bass, and snapper. These days I don’t fish as often, but I get my rod and tackle box cleaned and ready to go when the opportunity arises.

Canada Goose x Salehe Bembury Collab
Image via Canada Goose

What experience do you have of Canadian winters?
Not much, but despite the dry southwest terrain I often find myself in, I found it important to consider the different environments that audiences may currently be in or have memories of.

I understand the need for versatility and customization. Los Angeles weather can call for anything, from a shirt, hoodie, or chunky jacket. This change in temperature can occur from location or time of day. Often, one item of clothing is not enough for a full day in Los Angeles. The removable waistcoat of the Expedition parka and the adjustable legs of the Tundra bib meet this need for customization.

How big of an NBA fan are you? What are you most excited about in the league this year?
I’ve been an NBA fan all my life. The NBA was a big part of the relationship that formed with sneakers from an early age. I’m very excited about the Knicks and our potential every year.

Which NBA player has impressed you with his style lately?
Jordan Clarkson only takes headshots.

We’ve seen you dive into more collaborations over the past two years. It seems like everyone wants to work with you right now! How does it feel to be so in demand?
Thanks. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to partner with so many great creatives. Collaboration is a huge source of personal inspiration. I have the privilege of meeting so many people passionate about their profession and their overflowing imagination is a good source of inspiration.


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