From Olympic champion to women's sportswear
Kari Traa is not only a Rockstar athlete with three Olympic medals behind her, but also the founder of Europe's fastest growing women's sports brand
The story of Kari starts in the mountainous village of Voss. Here, like any Norwegian woman, she was born with skis on her feet. Kari, however, distinguished herself with her overpowering talent for particularly bumpy trails. This talent would lead her to become an Olympic champion mogul skier in 2002.
PROFILE: Kari Traa was not a traditional athlete. With her self-irony, unfiltered and direct self confidence- she quickly became a role model for many women.
Crocheting beanies during breaks
At the time, there were not many girls who skied moguls at Kari's level, so she spent most of her time hanging with the men’s team. When sponsors finally came on the scene with clothing for athletes, it was only designed for the men’s team because of the majority.
Fortunately, Kari not only had a talent for skiing, but also an enormous creative power and a good eye for design. In between training and competitions, she crocheted and knitted her own beanies. Sometimes Kari also cut out the sponsor's logo and sewed them on her own creations - to make them exactly the way she wanted.
Eventually, her colourful beanies became so popular with friends and skiers that she decided to turn the hobby into a business. And so, the Kari Traa brand was born. Into an otherwise masculine sports industry, the brand distinguished itself from the get-go: with strong colors, feminine design and lots of playfulness.
Revolutionary wool base layers for women
What started as a small selection of colorful garments soon grew into a complete sports collection of jackets, ski and exercise clothing. But most of all, Kari Traa became known for what would revolutionize the base layer category, namely Rose wool underwear. From being something girls whould hide under their ski coats, the Kari Traa baselayers soon became something which they would happily show off at apre-ski.
It was on the Traa family's own farm in Voss that Kari found the inspiration for what has become the best-selling woolen long underwear. Kari used the pattern on the tapestry, which still hangs in the living room, and modernized it with new colors. .
ICON PATTERN: Wherever you go in the mountains today, you'll find girls wearing the iconic Rose wool base layer that Kari designed based on the tapestry that still hangs at her family cabin in Voss.