When Mosha Lundström Halbert married four years ago in Iceland, she never imagined her New Year’s Eve wedding would generate international attention. But when it did, the reaction to her princess-worthy wedding parka — an ivory, sequined style handmade by her designer mother Linda Lundström, sparked an idea.
“From Vogue to the front page of The Globe and Mail, the amazing response to that coat got me thinking about this white space in the market that we needed to fill,” Lundström Halbert told WWD. “We could do that by making warm, evocative and glamorous coats that anyone could wear, regardless of their size, and look great walking their dog in a blizzard or at a black tie ball.”
To that end, she enlisted her mother and graphic designer sister Sophie Lundström Halbert to cofound Therma Kota in 2017 — a Nordic-inspired, made-to-measure, anti-fast-fashion shearling coat brand that has been worn by Michelle Obama, Iceland’s First Lady Eliza Reid, Canada’s Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Jamie King, Sarah Rafferty and Coco Rocha, among others.
“Back then puffy coats were the uniform out there. But our customer didn’t need puffy parkas. They wanted something unique that aligned with their values,” said Therma Kota design director Linda Lundström, who first established her profile in Canada by launching her eponymous brand in 1974.
Equally appealing was Therma Kota’s “zero waste” philosophy, which ensures that each of its reversible, sustainably made vests ($680 to $840) and coats ($1,140 to $1,980) comes with a pair of mittens created from excess shearling to reduce wastage.
That ecological mindfulness is also behind the fall launch of Therma Kota’s first shearling handbags, all handcrafted with smaller pieces of shearling that would otherwise be discarded.
The lineup includes a mini ($205), medium ($365) and large option ($450).
“It takes quite a few coats to make one handbag, but for the past three years I’ve been saving the smaller pieces. When I had enough rectangular ones we stitched them together like a puzzle. Every bit of our material is used,” Lundström said.
“The fact that we’re offering these new bags is a testament to how strong coat sales have been,” said Mosha Lundström Halbert, who is the brand’s fashion director and a former fashion director at WWD sister publication Footwear News. “We’re self-financed and have been profitable since day one. But even in this challenging environment sales rose in 2020 because of our direct to consumer platform.”
Therma Kota’s sales, in fact, have risen 40 percent in 2020, which it attributes to new product categories such as its Kokkur aprons and growing its audience organically in Canada, the U.S., Europe and especially Scandinavia. These online shoppers select the styles they want and share their measurements to get a perfect fit. Orders are turned around within two to three weeks.
“We have a video tutorial and easy online instructions on how to measure yourself. There’s no extra charge for this service so most customers opt for it. They love that it removes any fit issues or uncertainly from the online shopping experience,” said creative director Sophie Lundström Halbert. “We’ve had 100 percent customer satisfaction from our made-to-measure orders.”
Up next is Therma Kota’s U.S. expansion into winter resort markets, beginning with The Art of The Cozy pop-up in Aspen, which will run from Dec. 15 to April.
A winter footwear collection is also on Therma Kota’s radar, according to Mosha Lundström Halbert.