Ones to watch: norwegian wool

by Karen Alberg Grossman

Norwegian-Wool-Collection-Vel_f1dc98c9-2919-4b1a-9d34-9188fe06a4b3_grandeMichael Berkowitz was a Wall Street guy with a problem. The tailored wool and cashmere coats he enjoyed wearing over his suits were never warm enough to sustain him through increasingly frigid New York City winters; the ubiquitous puffer jackets were certainly warm enough, and even trendy, but were far too casual, detracting from the polished image that Wall Street traders strive to attain.

What to do? Berkowitz decided to quit his career in finance and create a collection of perfect luxury outerwear for professionals. Funding came from his personal savings and from a fellow investor who heads up the private equity division of a large bank (and who was equally frustrated trying to find the perfect coat).

The result: the Norwegian Wool collection, a full range of sophisticated wool and cashmere blend coats lined with a specially engineered layer of 90 percent pure white duck down and 10 percent feathers. A unique inner membrane between the wool/cashmere outer layer and the down lining adds wind resistance and additional warmth. A true luxury collection made in Europe, all outer fabrics are Italian, and all coats are certified waterproof. Details include button flaps, two-way zipper technology, fleece-lined extra deep side pockets. For 2016, expect to see more style and fit options, as well as removable hoods.

With suggested retails between $850 to $1,700, the line is targeted to upscale specialty stores and has already been placed by several great ones in New York, Chicago, Toronto and Minneapolis. Going forward, Berkowitz has partnered with The Fashion Institute in Oslo, Norway for more creative coat concepts that combine fashion and warmth.