Tell us the story of Fjällräven.
In 1960, Åke Nordin founded Fjӓllrӓven in his basement in the Swedish town of Ornskoldsvik. Åke was inspired to start designing outdoor equipment after seeing other walkers trekking with heavy, unsupportive backpacks. An innovative framed backpack sowed the seeds for the Fjӓllrӓven brand and these packs were quickly followed by 2-layer tents, functional and durable outdoor clothing and more. Still family-run, we have continued to grow and develop, and Fjӓllrӓven clothing and equipment is now popular with outdoor enthusiasts all around the world.
Tell us about the Fjällräven philosophy - what is important to you?
Everything we do is guided by three overarching principals. Our core mission is to design and manufacture equipment that makes it easier for people to enjoy the outdoors. We also follow the philosophy that every Fjӓllrӓven product should be durable, functional and timeless – we believe in creating well-made and durable products that can be handed down from one generation to the next. Our third guiding principal is to protect nature and we are committed to choosing the most sustainable path where possible – from our PFC-free Eco-Shell waterproofs to our Down Promise.
Which products (and innovations) are you particularly known for?
We have a number products in our collection that have remained unchanged for generations and many of these are our most popular items. Many people know us for our durable and adaptable G-1000® fabric that can be waxed to adjust its level of weather protection. Adding more wax increases the garment’s water-resistance and durability, or you can simply wash the wax out for cooler, more breathable clothing. Other popular items include our walking trousers – particular bestsellers are the Keb and Vidda Pro models. Of course, our Kånken backpack has to be mentioned as one of our best known items!
Provenance is clearly important to Fjällräven - can you tell us about the origin behind your Greenland Jacket?
The Greenland Jacket is one of our most well-known products and its origins date back to the 1966 Scandinavian Greenland Expedition, during which Fjӓllrӓven’s tents were being tested. After the success of the tent and following long discussions with the members of the expedition about their clothing, Åke decided to manufacture a jacket and trousers for the outdoors. The jacket was made from a sturdy fabric that Åke had initially discarded as too heavy for his lightweight tents but that had the ideal properties for an outdoor jacket. Once combined with a mix of beeswax and paraffin, the fabric offered everything Åke was looking for. The jacket was named the Greenland Jacket after the expedition and the wax was called Greenland Wax.
We love the Kånken backpack, particularly how the timeless design has remained unchanged. What’s coming up in 2016 for this iconic design?
The Kånken was originally designed as a school bag after it emerged that heavy satchels were damaging the backs of Swedish schoolchildren. Its design hasn’t changed since 1978 and it is now a legend in itself. 2016 is going to be an exciting year for the Kånken – watch this space as we’ve numerous new options being launched!