Moosejaw Mountaineering is selling a $1,500 jacket. It’s a hip-length, black waterproof coat called the Royale, with a snap-in insulating layer that can be worn separately. They’re only making 50 of them, and to get one, you have to apply for it. (More than 2,700 people have so far.)
Mind you, you can get 10 perfectly warm and waterproof models from Columbia for the same price as one Royale. So what makes it so expensive?
We'll start with the materials. “When we were developing our fall line last year, I got tired of hearing our designers complain about the limitations of hitting certain price points or production volumes, so I told them to just design the best jacket ever,” says Moosejaw’s CEO Eoin Comerford.
The Royale is cut from Schoeller C-change, a top-shelf waterproof breathable fabric with a sleek, urbane vibe. The snap-in liner coat is filled with 950-fill goose down, which is about as lofty a down as you can get, and doesn’t come cheap. It’s also got waterproof zippers, magnetic closures that ensure the jacket will close itself, a zip-off hood, and a Recco reflector in case you're caught in an avalanche. It’s got an OCD-igniting 13 different pockets, one of which comes with a special edition harmonica because, you know, rich guys love to play the harmonica while they’re waiting for their private jet to finish refueling.
It’s also made in Vancouver, Canada, by people making a fair wage, and because there are only 50 of them, the development costs aren’t spread across a lot of sales. So realistically, Moosejaw isn’t making money on the Royale (except when media outlets like Outside post about it and thereby provide a free link to their website, driving sales at this most lucrative of shopping seasons.)
We’d like to make more fun of the Royale, except Moosejaw itself already beat us to the punch. This is the same company, based in Detroit, that features a Twitter feed from their office dog, and builds their catalogues around such themes as insects and food fights. Their jail-themed catalogue and promotion complete with a “don't get shanked in the shower fun maze” got them into some trouble. Sample questions on the application: How many castles do you own? Where do you summer? List the notable paintings and tapestries you have from most to least valuable.
The jacket is also named after a hamburger from the movie Pulp Fiction.
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