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The Winter Olympics have boosted the profile of long down jackets

Key Points
  • Long winter jackets padded with goose down have been popular in South Korea the past winter.
  • A souvenir version of the jacket made for the Pyeongchang Olympics quickly sold out last year.
Athletes from South Korea attend a welcome ceremony at Gangneung Olympic Village on Feb 7, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.
Robert Cianflone | Getty Images

In the lead up to Friday's Winter Olympics opening ceremony, there has already been one winner: a certain style of long padded jacket.

The winter jackets are padded with goose down, among other materials, and end under the knees, and they came under the spotlight after a limited edition version made for the Pyeongchang Olympics went on sale in South Korea last year.

Hundreds of shoppers formed winding queues outside Lotte Department Store outlets in the country when the official Winter Games souvenir jacket went on sale last year, local media outlets reported. Just 30,000 of those jackets, which were available in black, grey and white, were made.

Part of the craze was due to the relatively low price of 149,000 Korean won ($137) at which the Pyeongchang jackets retailed — a fraction of the luxury versions of the jacket's price. Down coats from brands such as Italian label Moncler or Canada Goose typically retail for more than one million Korean won ($920).

Shinsung Tongsang, which manufactured the Pyeongchang souvenir jacket, saw its stock pop last year amid the hype, online news site Quartz reported. By Thursday, shares of the company had pared some of the more than 30 percent gains made in November.

A listing displaying a down jacket for sale on the Pyeongchang 2018 official online store indicates that the garment is out of stock.
PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games

Steep prices don't appear to have dented demand for the garments either: Moncler's sales in Asia in the third quarter of 2017 grew 19 percent compared to one year ago, a spokeswoman at the company told CNBC, adding that results in South Korea were "very strong" and mainly driven by domestic customers.

She said fourth-quarter results recorded a similar trend.

The popularity of the jackets could also have something to do with the freezing cold that South Korea has endured this past winter.

In addition to overseeing the usual pomp and circumstance that accompany Olympic opening ceremonies, organizers have also had to make preparations to alleviate the cold at the open-air Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, Reuters said.

The temperature is forecast to stand at zero degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) at the beginning of the ceremony, although winds are expected to make it feel as cold as negative 9 degrees Celsius (about 16 Fahrenheit), according to weather forecasting service AccuWeather.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said it expected the average temperature during the games to be minus 4.8 degrees Celsius (23 Fahrenheit).