It all started thousands of years ago, as indigenous communities, isolated and only residents of Canada, were putting in place what was to become one the most important Canadian industries: fur trade and leather tanning.
At the onset, Amerindians (Inuit) would barter between local communities. One group could specialize in fishing and the other in fur and easily exchange goods.
This process was repeated, and in 1534, with the arrival of European explorers under the influence of Jacques Cartier, the fur trade became a true economic resource and an important leverage for Canada’s development. Working hand in hand, the Inuit and French contributed to the development and settlement of Canada.
A UNIQUE KNOW-HOW
Throughout the years, a real know-how that makes up part of the country’s resource capital was developed. Women worked the skins and used a smoke-based tanning process to preserve them, and then sewed clothing using needles made of bone. In the winter, people would wear fur overcoats to keep warm. There has therefore always been an inextricable link between leather and fur trades. Thus, in 1685, Jean Talon focused on the creation of tanneries in Montréal, a true relay point on the fur trade route.
MONTRÉAL, THE FASHION INDUSTRY’S NORTH-AMERICAN CAPITAL
One thing leading to another, Montréal lays its foundation and integrates more than ever the clothing industry to its growth. In the 1970s, it is a key actor and is home to tens of thousands of people working in the textile industry.
Drawing on this precious history, Sylvain Roy decides to create Sly & Co in Montréal in the 1980s. True reflection of this Canadian heritage, the group draws a bridge between the Inuit roots and the European culture.
Sylvain has been working with leather and dresses fur coats by creating two distinct brands, one specializing in the production of leather coats and jackets and the other in the creation of fur-trimmed down coats.
Thus were born Sly & Co, that revisits the iconic pieces with high quality leather, and Ookpik (that stands for snowy owl, emblem of the Amerindians, in Inuktitut), that offers coats and other parkas at the crossroads between the open spaces and the urban fashion culture.
A CREATIVE FOUNDER DRIVEN BY 38 YEARS OF PASSION
Emblematic figure of Montréal, Sylvain is recognized for the quality and styles of his products! From his earliest years, he has known a dazzling success.
Prestigious clients accumulate, and large groups have complete trust in him (Aldo, Simons, Ogilvy, etc.). With the two deployed brands (Ookpik and Sly & Co), the group is firmly rooted. Based in its Montréal 22,000 ft2 head office, the company has no less than 450 outlets in Canada, the United States and Korea.
For 35 years, the Sly & Co brand has been offering collections of men and women’s jackets. From the perfecto to iconic pieces such as the bomber jacket, Sly & Co revisits the basics with leather of exceptional quality.
The brand draws on its Canadian heritage to unleash the very essence of the Inuit parka, absolute warmth.
Meaning snowy owl in Inuktitut, Ookpik reinterprets the northern parka codes by drawing on the elegance and curve minimalism of the snowy owl. Ookpik creates a link between trend and technicity, with coats and jackets for all seasons, thought out and designed in Montréal.