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Emma Cunningham / Gavel Media

Coat Culture at Boston College

As temperatures drop, snow falls, and the infamous “million-dollar stairs” ice over, there is one more signifier that winter is coming to Chestnut Hill: the emergence of designer jackets. From Canada Goose to Moncler, students don jackets that cost more than the meal plan at Boston College.  

“2,000? Do you know how many North Face jackets you could buy with $2,000?” Kaitlyn Williams, a freshman at Boston College, asked.

A lot. With the average Moncler jacket costing around $2,000, it is hard not to imagine what else students could purchase. Similarly, popular models of Golden Goose jackets cost buyers anywhere from the low to upper thousands. Compared to a $300 North Face or $200 Aritzia coat, the price seems rather extreme. However, during winter at BC, designer jackets are hard to miss. 

“To a certain extent I expect it from BC students,” Riley Randolph (2027) said. “I see a lot of Canada Goose jackets and I am still surprised by the amount. It’s definitely a stereotype that some BC students and their parents are willing to spend $1,000 on a jacket. It’s a stereotype that’s not necessarily wrong.”  

In a world where college students are known for eating ramen noodles, living in cheap apartments, and penny-pinching when possible, the presence of designer outerwear may be surprising. However, in a study conducted by the New York Times, researchers discovered that 16% of students at Boston College come from families living in the top 1%, and 70% of students come from the top 20%. Out of a surveyed 2,395 colleges and universities, Boston College placed 30th in median parent income at $194,100 annually. Compared to the 40% of students on financial aid, the wealth gap becomes more and more apparent. 

“You definitely are making it obvious when you are wearing a jacket like that,” Randolph continued. 

In addition to exorbitant prices, Canada Goose also utilizes problematic ethical practices. Last year, in 2022, Canada Goose announced that the company would stop using new coyote fur amidst pressure from several animal and environmental activist foundations. The company utilized painful steel traps to kill coyotes for the fur decorating the hood. These traps are banned in many countries due to the volume of pain and trauma they utilize to entrap the coyote. 

“For what? For your coat to have a fur-lined hood? It’s crazy. It’s a design choice. A fashion statement at the expense of living things. It’s crazy that you would kill a whole animal for that,”  Randolph said.  

Additionally, one of the main attractions of Canada Goose jackets is the goose feather filling. Although the company stated they were using ethical methods of killing these animals, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) observed abuse and unnecessary harm when conducting an expose on Canada Goose’s factory. 

Besides coats, people spend hundreds of dollars to wear branded beanies, hats, and t-shirts. A plain, white beanie on the Canada Goose website is priced anywhere from $200 to $300. Socks from Moncler are $180 a pair. A key ring is $285. All of these items are things you could purchase at any store across the country for a fraction of the price. 

“It says that we value appearances a lot. People don't dress well. They just dress in nice things,” Williams said. 

Canada Goose was originally crafted for dog sledders, polar adventure athletes, and people living in extreme climates. The iconic patch on the side depicts the North Pole, the coldest place on Earth, with red lines, making it look like an Arctic map. This way, buyers know they are purchasing a coat worthy of unthinkably cold climates. 

“We don’t need coats meant for Antarctica. It is unnecessary, and just a way to flaunt wealth,” Molly Bronner (2027) states. “Unfortunately, it shows what we value as a Boston College community.”