Would you wear this polar-bear Griz Coat?

Well, you're not the only one, apparently (wait, you said yes—right?). The cofounder of the company that sells them—yes, sells them—tells us more.

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Hans Reichstetter, 32

Hans Reichstetter, cofounder of Griz Coat, wearing a polar-bear coat in Central Park

Hans Reichstetter, cofounder of Griz Coat, wearing a polar-bear coat in Central Park Photograph: Melissa Sinclair


That’s quite a coat. It’s a polar-bear coat made from all-white fake fur. The original Griz Coat is a grizzly-bear coat, but we have others, too, like a wolf coat and a panda coat.

And they’re just as they appear? Big bear coats? Pretty much! People wear them out to have fun and to attract a lot of attention. You gotta be ready to be hypersocial when you wear one, because people will address you. It’s not a quiet-night-in type of thing.

Clearly not! How’d you get the idea? My twin brother, Karl, is based in San Francisco, and I’m here in New York, and we spend a lot of time sitting around on opposite coasts, spitballing whatever, brainstorming ideas that never happen. This was just one that happened to come to fruition. We decided that we wanted to wear bear coats for Halloween back in 2011, and Karl took the lead and actually figured out how to get one made! I was basically just like, “Dude, I would definitely wear that for Halloween.”

And did you? Yeah, I wore the first one to the parade and around town, and he wore his out there—and people were digging them on both coasts. They wanted to know where they could get one, so we made more. People have even stolen them! One girl asked a guy if she could try his on, then she disappeared around the bar and bolted out the door. That was straight-up Griz jacking.

Why do you think there’s such a market for big bear coats? Honestly, I think people just want something different. Most big companies out there focus on selling to the 90 percent—but we’re into the other 10 percent. The people who want to look different, act different and be spoken to differently.

What’s your Griz Coat–wearing approach? I play it cool. It’s the type of thing where you just gotta, you know, own it. You don’t have to be too crazy about it when you wear it—it speaks for itself.

So philosophical of you. Any other Griz Coat life lessons? It’s all about not taking yourself too seriously. We’ve sold coats in every state in the U.S. and all over the world, and all of our customers like to enjoy themselves and have a good time. One guy even got married in one!

For more information, visit grizcoat.com.

Gallery: A bear around town

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

Photograph: Melissa Sinclair


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