As I said in a previous post, about “THE HUDSON’S BAY BLANKET COAT”

“more “Canadian” coats to light up the subway platform… ”

Let me introduce you to “CANADIAN DESIGNER: LINDA LUNDSTROM” and her “LAPARKA” One of the several designers who regularly included coats among their collections, and created one that has stood strongly through many years. Although Ms. Lundstrom has not been producing the coat herself in the last several years, I often run into people who are still wearing one of the coats she did manufacture. I was inspired to write about them now as I recently met a young woman, who exclaimed it as “…a Name and an amazing coat, double find!”

“LAPARKA” was a modern day interpretation of the Inuit Parka” and falls in the “HERITAGE GARMENT: OUR OWN” chapter. As a 35+ year veteran of the Canadian Fashion Industry, a designer of far more than coats, her more complete story will also be found in the chapter headed “CANADIAN DESIGNER”.



from a Linda Lundstrom press kit, ca 1990
“When Toronto designer Linda Lundstrom first conceived of the idea to market a unique Canadian parka coat, people laughed. They said it’d be boring and unsalable. But an undaunted Lundstrom forged ahead with the idea. And as the phenomenally successful LAPARKA collection expands this year and prepares to head into stores for it’s fifth season, no one is laughing anymore.”
“What’s made LAPARKA great is our rich Canadian heritage, insists Lundstrom. “it has to do with a kind of northern vigour, the sense of romance and adventure of northern wilderness. We love the outdoors and we love doing things outside even when it’s cold. LAPARKA is a celebration or our northerness. “she says…”

The Laparka – 3 coats in one – a blanket-stitched wool duffle, with zip-off faux fur trimmed sleeves and hood, and a separate nylon shell that can be worn either over the duffle or on its own. And like the aforementioned “Hudson’s Bay Blanket Coat” being a blend of Aboriginal and Settler, this, Lundstrom’s hybrid of Inuit and Immigrant.

by Eva Terp
…”I took my Canadian heritage – I feel very fortunate to be born in Canada – and drew inspiration from the Eskimo, and combined it with my Scandinavian heritage and used the principles of layering against the cold together with the brightly decorated garments. This is where the name comes from, from LAP and PARKA.”

“Canadian coat and dress designer Linda Lundstrom celebrates her 30th anniversary”
by Deborah Fulsang
“after 30 years, Linda Lundstrom is going strong, now a $10.5 million label selling to more than 450 independent boutiques in North America and her own three shops. Like Diane von Furstenburg and Donna Karan – her counterparts if you think of designers who are known for a signature approach to dressing – her label is run on a mixture of business and philosophy.
“The label first broke when Lundstrom, who was making dresses in the early eighties, came up with her Northern equivalent to Karan’s bodysuit or von Furstenburg’s wrap dress: La Parka, the optimistically coloured winter coat that will, no doubt , go down in this country’s pop culture history books as the iconic Canadian winter fashion.”
“Lundstrom estimates that she has sold 125,000 La Parkas since the aboriginal-inspired style debuted in 1986.”

from THE TORONTO SUN Jan 22, 1998
“Lundstrom calls herself a clothing designer, not a fashion designer, so you’ll find nothing in her collections reminiscent of the international runways. Besides, she isn’t interested.
“I’ve deliberately isolated myself from what other designers are doing, because I want to stay focused on designing for a woman who wants to give herself permission to be who she is,” Lundstrom says. “If a person wants a really structured, tight fitted look, there are lots of other designers they can go to.”
“For all her protestations, she’s creating real fashion or her designs wouldn’t be selling.”

Fashion is change. Based on keeping the consumer awash in something new for every season, it seems. However most fashion, and some fashion designers, don’t come and go in a season. Some, with slight adjustment, and a nod to the current, together with the strong stance of what made them great in the first place, stay with us over a much longer period. Ms. Lundstrom and her “LAPARKA” are an examples of such.

“Gift for daughter inspires Linda Lundstrom’s new leather and fur accessories line

By Lauren La Rose, The Canadian Press October 17, 2012”

“By the end of 2006, Lundstrom had produced 150,000 of the iconic coats in more than 130 different colours in up to 30 different motifs in collaboration with First Nations artists.
“She filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008, citing significant business reversals in 2007, compounded by a high loonie”

But Linda survived the upset, and is still here!

From her website
“Linda Lundström is proud to announce the launch of L designed by Linda Lundström, a new collection of versatile leather and fur accessories in a range of styles. Each one-of-a-kind piece is handcrafted in Canada from unique pelts and skins.
L designed by Linda Lundström breaks the rules and embraces the natural, raw edges of leather and fur for easy to wear, luxurious fashion.”

And the coat is still here…Lundstrom’s keen vision of an ultimate “CANADIAN COAT” is now being made by Eleventh Floor Apparel who purchased the rights to the designer’s name, assets and the manufacturing plant of Lundstrom’s former company.





ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED Sunday, February 24, 2013

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