The parka was born out of necessity. The word itself first entered the English language in the 17th century. It was a catchall term for the layered animal skins and furs worn by the inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands. The unforgiving conditions of the frigid stepping stones that connect North America to Asia required clothing that could withstand the punishment of snow, wind, and cold as well as the salty swells and nearly ceaseless chop of the freezing North Atlantic.
Over time, the parka came to be generally defined as a knee-length coat which would stand up to biting temperatures thanks to the introduction of down filling and a fur-lined hood. A water-resistant shell is often featured as an additional level of protection to keep the elements out and the heat in.
The first Woolrich Arctic Parka was introduced in 1972 to protect the thousands of Alaskan pipeline workers who were living for months on end in northern Alaska. The Woolrich Arctic Parka addressed a primal need. It was the first and best line of defense against the -20F conditions that workers endured during the pipeline’s construction.
Tempered and tested by its harrowing origin, the Arctic Parka quickly became a best-seller and eventually a cornerstone of the Woolrich brand.