They go by many names – lumberjack jacket or Mackinaw, Mac for short.
While those big, cozy, plaid, wear-around-the-campfire-jackets are best known as comfort wear to keep you cozy, try to find one that is made for a woman and you might have a lengthy search. Until now.
Lake Country resident Tracy Austin has created and founded Mac & Jill Apparel, a company and product born out of her personal desire to have a feminine version of the traditional lumberjack jacket.
“This is not your boyfriend’s jacket,” said Austin “I used to wear my husband’s around. It was warm and cozy but they are so big and inflating.”
After continually reaching for her husband’s Mac jacket, Austin began to search for the female equivalent. She never found what she was looking for. So she enlisted the help of friend and local designer Ingrid Uhrich and the two came up with a design that was feminine, fashionable, warm and functional.
“They are warm and cozy, fully lined and still light-weight and they are made to fit a woman,” said Austin. “They’re structured and streamlined for a slim fit. They are great for layering and they are Canadian made which is the biggest thing.”
During her research into the possibilities, Austin found that producing a Canadian-made garment wasn’t going to be as easy as she thought. She found that most garments were made overseas and the quality suffered in order to keep costs down.
“I learned that by buying into fast fashion, we had almost obliterated an important trade and craft in our own country,” she explained. “We as a whole are no longer considering what happens to our environment when we buy more pieces that are inexpensively made and ultimately are thrown into our landfill, or forget to think about where they are made and by whom. With this knowledge and further research, it became very important for me to have my product designed and manufactured in Canada.”
Mac & Jill has now partnered with production houses in the Lower Mainland and is currently sourcing new fabrics with an eye to the future and with a focus on quality and Canadian-made.
“I can see there is interest out there with a Canadian-made garment,” said Austin.
“People are coming around to the understanding that to buy a close-to-home product is going to cost a little more but you know you have bought Canadian and supported the industry in our country.”
Austin held a recent launch event and says the adult Mac jacket will soon be available in girls sizes as well.
She is starting her venture with an online store initially and hopes eventually it will be available in local retail shops.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “The response has been great. It’s a quality product. It fits fashion and it never goes out of style.”