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What is a Parka?

The parka is also referred to as the anorak. It is a kind of heavy jacket which comes with a hood. Most of the time, this hood has been lined with either real or fake fur in order to protect the body’s face from a mixture of both wind and freezing temperatures.

The parka was originally made from seal or caribou and was invented by people from the Arctic region who were known as the Caribou Inuit or Eskimo. These people invented the parka because they needed clothing that could protect them from the chilly wind and wet while they hunt and kayak. Some Inuit anorak types need to be habitually coated in order to retain their water resistant quality. To do this, the Eskimos coated it with fish oil.


The anorak term originated from ‘anoraq,’ a Kalaallisut word while parka originated from the Aleut. The term parka came from the language of the Nenets and first entered the written English record in a work by Samual Purchas in 1625. The anorak term was not seen in the English world until 1924. Its early meaning was a gay beaded item which was worn by women or brides from Greenland in the 1930s.

While these two terms are being used interchangeably, they used to describe different apparel when they were first introduced. To be more specific, the anorak is usually a waterproof jacket which had a hood and drawstrings situated at the cuffs and the waist. Meanwhile, a parka is signified by a knee length cold climate coat or jacket which was normally stuffed with either down or synthetic fiber which was very warm. The parka’s hood is also lined with fur.

The Anorak, Similar to a Parka

Initially, an anorak was used as a pull over coat without a button, frogged opening or a zipper. However, this distinct quality no longer implies to the anorak due to the fact that many garments which have a full length opening in the front are being called an anorak as well. The two garments have been altered from their traditional form into several different designs while making use of modern materials such as the Fishtail and Snorkel.

The Amauti, Parka’s Variety

Another variation of the parka is the Amauti, which is a traditional eastern Arctic Eskimo parka. This garment was initially designed to carry an Eskimo child along with the garment in order to keep the child from getting frostbite, cold and wind. This parka variety is made from different materials such as sealskin, duffle, or caribou skin and has a windproof for an outer shell.

The Role of the Parka Nowadays

As part of the tradition of these Arctic communities such as Nunavik and Nunavut, children are still continued to be carried in such way. However, the garment can sometimes be noticed in the Northwest Territories, Labrador, Alaska and Greenland. Traditionally, the mother is the one who wears the amauti but this garment can also be worn by the male care givers or fathers. The south Baffin has a belief that a man who wears this garment will become successful on his next hunting for some certain animal species.
Parka in the Fashion Industry

The early 1950s parka was made from Nylon. However, the fabric was changed to poplin in 1959 when it was featured as a fashion statement in Vogue magazine.



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