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Into the Wild

When Tretorn realised it owned the rights to the brand name Sarek, a whole new line of outerwear was created, based on the wilderness of the Swedish national park. First out: a collaboration with the iconic British designer Nigel Cabourn.

Words: Konrad Olsson

The wilderness of Sarek is one of the last frontiers of Swedish outdoors. This vast patch of land in the Scandes, the western part of Jokkmokk Municipality in Lapland, is comprising 100 glaciers and a tortuous delta landscape. It is Europe’s largest untouched wilderness area.

It was this iconic place that inspired Tretorn to launch a series of outdoor products in the early 1970s. The rainboot Sarek was created to handle the terrain of rocks, bog soil and small rivers. Tretorn’s presence in the land was so strong at the time that they were able to trademark the name Sarek. Something that almost 50 years later became the starting point for a whole new line of outerwear.

— The name Sarek is a goldmine for us, says Fredrik Ekström, who was recently appointed Tretorn’s Creative Director after serving as the Head of Marketing for years.

— I always enjoy digging in our archives, constantly learning what’s in our DNA. When I went back to our heritage in hiking, hunting, and the outdoors, I felt that Sarek really aligned with our recent push towards timeless design and responsible production.

This sparked the creation of a new line of outdoor products under the name Sarek, launching in 2020. A new collection of camouflage prints, based on the intricate river delta of Rapa Valley, will be applied to a series of jackets. The original boot, that has remained in stock since the 70s, will be relaunched together with an updated version for 2020.

— Sarek is a way to strengthen our presence in hiking performance products, especially our boots. But it’s also an apparel collection for conscious consumers that like the outdoors, but who spend most of their time in an urban environment, celebrating the contrast between nature and city.

The most prominent launch under the Sarek name is a series of products designed in collaboration with the iconic British workwear designer Nigel Cabourn.

— I’ve known Nigel for some time. It was during a conversation at the Pitti Uomo fair in Florence that Nigel became interested in our Eco Essentials iniviative. He has a true passion for products that are timeless, that doesn’t chase trends, that lasts a lifetime. To combine that with our work with recycled materials and responsible production seemed like a perfect match.

— Fredrik introduced me to Sarek, an area I found very exciting and inspirational, says Nigel Cabourn.

— Nigel brought his experience working with military design, and created products inspired by the 70s but connected to our time, says Fredrik.

The collaboration is a three-piece collection containing a jacket, a bag and a pair of sneakers. All products are made in organic or recycled Ventile — a woven cotton fabric that is made from a cotton with extra long fibers which gives the unique features of weather protection. Only 2 percent of the global cotton crops has this unique features. It was previously used by military pilots due to its capability of providing an effective barrier against inclement weather. Ventile has become a recurring theme in Nigel’s own brand, but the Tretorn Eco Essentials initiative is the first time he is working with organic and recycled Ventile.

— Usually when I collaborate with brands we’re either making clothes, shoes or accessories but with Tretorn we’re producing all three — which I’ve never done before. But the magic of Tretorn is that this is possible so we’ve created a three-piece combination of jacket, shoe and, so this collection is pretty special.

— We made a lot of research into the Ventile material. The version in the jacket is really thin and made of organic Ventile. It feels lika a shirt, while the backpack and the sneaker has a thicker canvas weave, made from waste pieces in the Ventile production. None of us has ever done anything like this before, says Fredrik.

Nigel continues:

— Both Tretorn and I have a long heritage and strong connection to mountaineering and the military, and a shared desire to create the best products which ultimately will be passed on for generations. The result is that each item in this collaboration has a sense of Sarek and is made with care and respect to this natural environment.

The collection is on display at Revolver in Copenhagen this week.