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Style, innovation & equality

Back to the roots

Fjällräven follows up last year’s much-hyped collaboration capsule with Acne Studios with a new launch, saving Swedish wool from ending up as landfill.

Words: Johan Magnusson

Åke Nordin founded the Swedish outdoor label in 1960. He named it after the Arctic fox which he was intrigued by, a small animal living in the Scandinavian mountains, known for its ability to survive in the extreme Arctic climate. From the start, Åke’s vision was to enable people enjoying the outdoors, by making high-quality products that would make spending time in nature more comfortable, year round. He also had a strong belief in making products that would make sense and could endure in the long run.

Almost 60 years later, the brand has developed into being a global player, yet stayed true to those very same principles that Åke led the firm by; focusing on timeless product designs, long-lasting quality and versatile functionality that can be appreciated in a wide range of outdoor situations.

— I believe this is what makes us unique today. We have continuity with fabrics and constructions that we believe in overtime, and products that we keep in the product range over decades, says Henrik Andersson, Head of Design.

Last fall saw the launch of Fjällräven’s first-ever collaboration with another brand, Swedish Acne Studios.

— We felt that there was an interesting dynamic between our brands. We come from the same country and share a vision of creating excellent products, but we do it from very different perspectives. Acne Studios is all about artistic expression, and we have our focus on functional products for the outdoors, with a goal to bring people closer to nature. We decided to make a limited collection together and let the design team at Acne Studios interpret our iconic products, as seen from their point of view. I think the result is fun and I see the collection as a playful homage to our iconic and timeless products. It has also created a high interest globally, and more people than we expected took notice of the launch. We are happy to see how this has high-lighted our iconic products to a new crowd.

At ISPO in Munich a few weeks ago, you launched your new Canada Wool Padded Jacket, created in cooperation with Baur Vliesstoffe, for Fall/Winter -19. What makes it so unique?

— It combines a traditional material and style, with a newly developed production setup, where we use Swedish wool as insulation. The Canada Shirt has been a staple product in our range since it was first launched more than 30 years ago, and we have seen a steady interest around it. We love timeless products and we thought it would be a perfect product for introducing our new recovered wool padding.

Tell me more about the use of material?

— Wool is, of course, appreciated in first and mid layers, but it is really an underestimated material for the wider application. As a result, there has been an un-used resource of wool in Sweden for some time, with high-quality fibers ending up in landfills rather than being used, as the infrastructure has not been there to support. The Swedish wool industry is not as well developed as other European countries, so for us, the first obstacle was to find wool in the right quality in enough quantities. By partnering with Ullkontoret at the Swedish island of Gotland, we could find enough quantities in the correct quality. The second challenge was to find partners that could process it and make a material out of it. Here we partnered with Baur Vliesstoffe because of their longtime engagement in processing wool and making wool products. We share their philosophy in trying to minimize the amount of spill and use up as much of the material as we can. With the fine clean wool, we make the high-quality insulation for jackets like the Canada Wool Padded Jacket or the Singi Wool Padded Parka. With the courser wool in mixed colors, we make the back plates for our backpack Lappland Hike 15. Both materials are made in cooperation with Baur.

How do you balance your iconic products with creating new ones?

— In general, we are always eager to stick to the products and ideas that we believe in overtime, while challenging ourselves to evolve and develop where we can improve. The FW19 season, I’d say, is a good example of how with one foot we move into the future, launching new innovative products and fabrics, and at the same time keeping the other foot firmly grounded in our history and tradition.