by Stephen Garner
Mackage co-founders Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan
Mackage co-founders Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan

Outerwear brand Mackage came to life in 1999 when co-creative directors and co-founders Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy created their first style; a modern double-breasted fitted coat that combined leather and wool into one design. Nonconformists at heart, Dahan and Elfassy sought to redefine individual style by making outerwear a focal point and integral element of fashion.

The creative duo expertly mixes fabrics like wool, puffer down, stretch nylon and leather to create an edgy, laidback vibe. Today, Dahan and Elfassy carry on creating advanced outerwear collections for women, men and children along with handbags and winter accessories for women and men. MR recently caught up with Dahan and Elfassy to discuss their brand growth, the changing landscape of Canadian fashion and the most important lessons they have learned along the way.

Q: How has the growth of the brand developed in the past few years?

Eran: Mackage introduced its men’s collection in 2001 because I wanted to wear Mackage as well. We started from a small collection and now produce an average of 20-30 styles each season. We’re always updating current product and designing new pieces to provide style and functionality.

Q: What does your wholesale distribution look like in terms of your men’s business?

Elisa: We have great relationships with our retailers and turned to them initially to support the men’s collection. As of now, the men’s collection makes up 30 percent of our overall business. It’s currently available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue to name a few.

Q: Who is the Mackage male customer?

Eran: He’s edgy and has that downtown, carefree vibe. He appreciates details and strong craftsmanship, but steers away from over conspicuous labels. For him, it’s all about fine quality and understated style.

Q: What is the most important thing that you’ve learned while growing your business?

Elisa: It’s important to stay focused because if helps us maintain the highest level of quality to ensure customer loyalty. We only introduce a new product category after we are sure we’ve created the best offerings in Mackage’s existing categories.

Q: Have you heavily engaged the brand in social media?

Elisa: Yes, we are very active on our social media channels and have been for a few years now. Our Instagram, @houseofmackage, is our strongest platform at the moment.

Q: How has the Canadian fashion market changed in the past few years?

Eran: Canadian outerwear has really taken over the spotlight within the last couple of years. Winters in the U.S. are getting colder and everyone is looking for warmer options without compromising style. We’re accustomed to the cold climate, so we’ve always had outerwear that is both stylish and functional. The outerwear is an integral part of the outfit.

Q: What’s new for your men’s collection?

Eran: Our lightweight down outerwear features breathable fabric that has a two-way stretch. It’s great for traveling or a quick jog.