The Wuxly movement trade-up program encourages Canadians to trade in fur and feathers for warm animal-free outerwear. The goal of this program is to redistribute hundreds of jackets to the homeless and fur to wildlife rehabilitation centres. Once you “trade in” your jacket, Wuxly offers a credit towards their flagship item – elk and doe parkas. The program has been running since the beginning of October and looks to provide jackets to the homeless and raise awareness to Wuxly’s innovative animal-free outerwear. The jackets retain hear, resist water, and can withstand temperatures of up to -30 degrees Celcius.
We had the chance to interview James Yurichuk, Wuxly Movement CEO – check it out below:
- How did you move from playing in the CFL to fashion?
Back in 2012, I had been traded from BC Lions back to Toronto Argos. My girlfriend, Daniela was from Brazil and I was confronted with the challenge of trying to woo her to stay with me in the frozen jungle of Toronto. It was November when we arrived and I needed to get Daniela her first winter jacket and fast! I saw some great Canadian brands but nothing that matched my animal loving spirit.
From there I was motivated to make Daniela her first winter jacket. Through my best friend and partner, Anthony DeBartolo, who is a master tailor in the area, I was connected with a manufacturer in North Toronto. I gathered the materials for an animal-free garment and ended up making Daniela her first winter jacket.
What was first a hobby quickly became my passion and obsession. I retired from football after 8 years to pursue the brand. I believe the jacket must have been warm because she is now my wife and we have 2 children and we still live in cold Toronto!
- Why this cause? How did you decide?
I’ve always had an affinity for animals. I’ve seen the Planet Earth documentaries like 20 times! I get a lot of it from two of my role models: my brother, Fred, and Mom, Tammy. My brother has been a vegetarian since before it was cool. I follow many of the paths he created as my older brother including playing football and loving animals. My Mom was also respectful of all beings. She would take spiders outside with a tissue and use only live traps a mouse would sneak into the house. Good vibes only!
- What would you say to someone who doesn’t believe they can make a difference?
I think people would be surprised if they knew what a difference one Parka could make. We did 3rd party research and found that 13-15 animals are spared from harm when someone chooses animal-free instead of traditional fur and down parkas. If you go animal-free yourself and can influence one friend in your circle to try it out, suddenly you’ve helped save 25+ animals.
- Where are the jackets sold?
The jackets are sold at a few retailers across Canada including Got Style, Sporting Life, The Grinning Goat (Calgary). The boutiques are starting to send their buyers to us as they like the brand message and made in Canada aspect. We’ve primarily focused on direct to consumers through pop-ups and online. Going to direct allows us to tell the story and give the brand experience we would like to deliver. We just opened our design house on Queen St W, Toronto and people are also able to visit us there and get a behind the scenes experience.
- What’s next?
We live in a time of the Parka Wars within Canada. Canada has gained a reputation worldwide as great producers of jackets and it is extremely competitive. We are doing our best to make our mark with our small rebellious force of 10 full-time staff. We have a vision and we are all in! Our motto is “Live Warm” and our goal is to deliver that experience with everyone that comes with touch with our brand.