Cheap Knockoffs and Counterfeits Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Talking about knockoff jackets with Kevin Spreekmeester, the global marketing vice president for outdoor clothing company Canada Goose, is a bit like chatting with a detective. Soft-spoken and slight, Spreekmeester is surprisingly calm, even when discussing illegal and distressing subjects.

“We know the counterfeit product is coming out of China,” he says as we examine a tomato-red jacket designed to look like one of Canada Goose’s own. “We know that child labour is involved. And we know that it funds organized crime.”

If you’re like me, you’ve probably always known that buying a fake Fendi is “bad” to the degree that making and selling such fraudulent products is illegal. But it turns out that knockoffs are problematic in many other ways as well, as I learned when Spreekmeester told me about the counterfeit jackets stuffed with chicken parts.

“Canada Goose tested a number of counterfeit jackets that we’ve bought online, and a number of them have come back with no trace of down in them at all,” says Spreekmeester. His concern, though, is about more than the lack of down — the company’s signature filling, which can protect against frostbite and hypothermia in extreme climates. He’s worried about the alternative fillers used instead. “What they do have in them is called ‘feather mulch,’ which is anything you pick up off the floor. It’s feathers, it’s beaks, and it’s feet. Covered in feces, covered in mildew, covered in bacteria.”

Spreekmeester also found a counterfeit jacket whose hood was lined with fur from a German Shepard. “It’s not hygienic, and it’s not protecting you, and it’s probably just not very humane.”

Source –, June 2011

*Please note that Addmaster was acquired by the Polygiene Group AB in January 2021, so all news articles prior to that date will still be branded as Addmaster.