Retail Therapy: North Star is back!

Several weeks ago I received a care package wrapped in Kraft paper and tied with twine. It contained packs of retro candy: McGraw’s taffy, Pop Rocks, some Big League Chew. There was also a VHS tape of Meatballs peeking out from a heather grey North Star hoody that had my name written in the collar, on an iron-on laundry tag. It made me nostalgic for the outdoorsy summer camps I never went to and the crappy movie I love but was too young to have seen when it came out (I was all of six years old).

North Star was launched in Canada in the 1970s by the Bata Corp., and I remember my aunts and uncle wearing the brand, slinking off with their friends to get up to grown-up teenager things that, while mysterious, still seemed very desirable to me at the time. The label hit its height of popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s — hence the 1979 Bill Murray comedy classic, coincidentally set at the shabby Camp North Star.

Beyond the hoody, North Star’s most recognizable brand identifier is back, too: the jagged yellow-striped royal blue Jogger (code name: Design 38), a sneaker style ubiquitous at the time of its heyday.

The revival also includes a capsule summer collection designed by Canadian-born, L.A.-based artist Geoff McFetridge, whose multimedia work includes the opening credits of Adaptation and The Virgin Suicides, as well as projects for clients from Stüssy to Nike.

And here’s another Canadiana part of the story: Like Meatballs, in another (sadly) retro manufacturing move, all the apparel is Canadian-made. (The movie was directed by Canadian Ivan Reitman and to date remains the only feature ever filmed at Camps Towhee and White Pine in Haliburton, Ont.)


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