Here's Your Chance to Dress Like You're on the Set of 'Star Wars'

Columbia recreated the parka worn while filming The Empire Strikes Back, and Mark Hamill signed a few of them.

It's not exactly a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away—but it's close. Back in 1979, a small band of cast and crew members braved the Norwegian wilderness and sub-zero temperatures to film some of the most iconic scenes from The Empire Strikes Back. And while they were creating the ice planet Hoth that would embed itself in the consciousness of generations of Star Wars fans, they needed to keep warm. 

So they created a parka—one that's a whole hell of a lot more stylish than wrapping yourself in a tauntaun carcass. Bright blue with orange graphic details, the original Empire coat has become a collector's item thanks to its bold, distinctive design. And now, almost 40 years later, it's back.

Columbia is releasing the limited-edition Empire Crew Parka. It takes its design cues from the OG version—right down to the stripes, patches, and more—and then layers in a healthy dose of Columbia's weather-beating technology. The coat features a waterproof shell that's breathable but seam-sealed at critical points to keep out the elements. 


It also has a removable hood with a faux fur trim, plus ribbed cuffs, multi-functional pockets, and Columbia's super-warm Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining. In other words, this coat isn't just for show. It will keep you warm, and not just on chilly days. This thing is made for serious cold, just like the kind the cast and crew had to contend with in Norway four decades ago.

The original Empire parka on set in 1979. IMAGE: George Whitear

Of course, if you are just interested in aesthetics, it doesn't skimp there, either. The blue-and-orange color scheme is eye-catching on its own, but Columbia didn't skimp on fan-friendly details. Patches abound, and feature everything from Darth Vader's helmet (using the art from the original release) to coordinates of the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier, where Empire's Hoth scene's were filmed. There's even a customizable name plate for the chest. 

It sounds like a lot, but that's not even the whole story. Columbia also teamed up with Mark Hamill to get 30 parkas signed by Luke Skywalker himself. They're only available starting December 7 in Columbia's retail locations in New York City; Buena Vista, Florida; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington. They're not cheap at $1,980 (the year of the movie's release), but the money goes towards education initiatives close to Hamill. Plus, you know... signed by Skywalker. There's not a chance in the world they won't sell out.

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And speaking of selling out, based on prior releases, you can bet the still-limited, not-Mark-Hamill-signed Empire Crew Parka won't be on shelves for long. So if you're looking to get a little bit of Star Wars history into your rotation, mark your calendar.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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About The Author
Jonathan Evans
Jonathan Evans is the style director of Esquire, covering all things fashion, grooming, accessories, and, of course, sneakers. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son. You can follow him at @MrJonathanEvans on Twitter and Instagram.
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