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Style, innovation & equality
Stockholm Design Week

Celebrating the roots

The Julius jacket is based on a silhouette from 1956 and is dedicated to Didriksons founder. Swedish Didriksons celebrates its founder and more than 100 years of producing rainwear and functional clothing with this spring’s special launch Julius.

Words: Johan Magnusson

Didriksons’ rich history goes back to Julius and Hanna Didrikson back in 1913, when they began producing workwear for the fishermen in Grundsund on the west coast of Sweden.

— Their love for innovation is still present in everything we create. For them, innovation was a matter of protecting people from water. However, today it’s just as much a matter of finding new ways to reduce the water consumption within our own production, tells Jan Henning, who joined the company as European Sales Director for their Originals line from New Era Cap Company in 2015. Henning is also Country Manager for Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and other Central European markets, marking the brand’s strong international presence.

Julius and Hanna’s idea was to create clothes for the fishermen to give them better protection at work.

— Since then our mission is to protect the people from the elements. We have a simple philosophy: rather than challenge the elements, we adapt to them, says Henning.

In the 30s and 40s, Didriksons started to work with rubber as a fabric, which made clothes smoother and more waterproof than oiled cotton, which had been used before. In 1947 Didriksons bought the world’s first welding machines to finally get also the seams of PVC garments 100% waterproof. In the 50s, they went into sports and created a sailing collection.

— These garments were worn by the Swedish national team on the Olympics 1948 — who won a silver medal with the boat Slaghöken — and 1956, where the team actually won the gold medal wearing Didriksons. Since then our anorak carries the name Slaghöken, says Henning.

In the 50s and 60s, Didriksons also made its way into the fashion business and got well connected with the pop art scene in London and New York. The 80s saw another mark in their sporty history.

— During the golf boom in Sweden, Didriksons supplied the Swedish national golf team with rain gear. And there are a lot more stories to tell about the company and our rich history. These stories are getting more and more important nowadays as the consumer is looking for authentic brands and products and also have easy access to this information. In the future, there will probably only exist brands and authentic brands with a legacy left.

This spring sees the launch of the Julius jacket, based on the mentioned Slaghöken silhouette from 1956 and dedicated to their founder.

— Julius was a creative engineer, always trying to improve his products and his production, tells Henning. Even if the word sustainability probably didn’t even exist in the beginning of the 20th century, he was even back then trying to use the wind and the waves on the coastline to produce energy for his production facilities. This jacket now brings all this together in one product, tells Henning, continuing, — On top, we have our trademark fabric galon, which gives perfect protection from the rain. We combined it with a sustainable new fabric mix out of organic cotton and recycled polyester. It’s leftover fabric, which would have landed in the landfill if we would not have used it. That’s also the reason why there are only 150 pieces available. And to make this product even more sustainable it is designed to last almost forever. To honour the creativity of our founder we added a detachable bag on the back of the jacket and some more hidden and useful details like the handwarmer pockets on the inside and the 2-way zipper on each side.

How would you wear it?

You can wear it casual with jeans and sneakers, but also dressed up like in our photoshoot. Another key launch for this spring is the return of the Rex collection, first introduced one year ago. — The Rex Coat is a more dressed waterproof coat, made of 100% polyester. What’s so special with it? Even the membrane — usually made of PU — is 100% polyester. This way the whole garment can be recycled without using a lot of energy to remove the membrane from the shell.