Fjällräven is an outdoor brand known to city commuters for their iconic Kanken backpack or to the everyday wader or hunter for their G-1000 fabric. While they make an amazing backpack for everybody, they are arguably making some of the best outdoor gear there is on the market. Let’s rephrase that by saying the G-1000 is arguably the only material that matters when it comes to the outdoor market. What makes this material so special is beeswax. A dense weave of recycled polyester and organic cotton is woven together, and a Greenland wax is used to treat the surface. The result is a substantially more durable material, allowing for many different benefits including ventilation, wind-resistance, as well as UV protection. The main difference with this material is that it must be treated with its special Greenland wax, like how Gore-Tex fabrics are meant to be maintained with water repellency sprays. The material was first launched by Fjällräven in 1968 and it is the key to their success. A hardwearing material that is very difficult to compete with. Some of their most tried and tested products are their trousers. From the Keb trouser to their Vidda trouser, they are all designed with specific activities in mind, from trekking to mountaineering and hunting. Focusing on the placement of various kinds of G-1000 materials, along with the trouser design and articulation are why they are some of the most reliable pants for the outdoor community, and are truly appreciated as so. Their products and materials are tried and tested amongst the hardest wearing outdoor enthusiasts, and they are respected as one of the most reliable brands on the market.
They continue to innovate and challenge themselves in everything they do, and this is where the new collection really speaks on their brand. SAMLAREN stands for »Gatherer« in Swedish and that’s exactly what they did. Gathering their leftover G-1000 material to reconstruct classic designs. A new collection focusing on sustainability and minimizing the carbon footprint, the entire collection is numbered and created in limited releases to focus on using up only the surplus material left behind from the past. The Samlaren collection is exciting as it includes the Kanken backpack as well as the Greenland jacket, two items that are iconic to the Fjällräven brand. Rounding out the rest of the collection is a tote bag and a cap.
What makes Fjällräven so great is how understated they are. They don’t try to be on trend. They value their product, they live by their product, and they continue to innovate their product. The brand focuses on both the practicalities of life with cognizant design, but also gives a durability to their products allowing for an extreme potential. You could use a Kanken backpack as a lunch bag, or as a keep all on an expedition. There’s almost no in between and this is what we love about Fjällräven. They have been hard at work over the years and deserve the recognition for having some of the best products on the outdoor market. Samlaren is a well thought out collection as it focuses on the pillars of the brand. It will be exciting to see how Fjällräven moves into the future with this new collection. Innovation & design are important, sustainability is important, and this new collection embodies both for Fjällräven.
We asked Christiane Dolva, Head of Sustainability and Henrik Andersson, Global Creative Director at Fjällräven, a few questions about the Samlaren collection to learn more about the concept and creation.
Hussain Razvi / Adrian Bianco: What was the earliest inspiration for SAMLAREN?
Christiane Dolva: We realized that our production unit had stock levels of fabrics that could not be used in the normal run of productions, this due to variation in colour, limited quantities or similar. Perfectly functional and durable materials were left on the shelves. It is common practice to discard these leftover materials, but we simply refused to throw these fabrics away because we do not believe in waste especially considering that the production of fabric uses significant amounts of water, energy, chemicals, and raw materials. We wanted to turn this from being a problem, into creating products of value.
Henrik Andersson: The Samlaren name and logo scribbled in a notebook quite a while ago, together with the fact that we had leftover fabrics sitting in the shelves became the starting point for the concept. And we also realized that the idea of using leftover materials is nothing new for Fjällräven. Actually the very first Fjällräven garment – the iconic Greenland Jacket from 1968 – was made from a leftover roll of fabric that Fjällräven founder Åke Nordin considered as too heavy for his lightweight tent project. The fabric however turned out to be perfect for creating a durable and functional outdoor jacket. So you can say that the concept of Samlaren is almost as old as the Fjällräven brand itself.
HR / AB: From sustainability to innovation & design, what was it like putting the collection together? What were the main focuses and concerns?
Henrik Andersson: The challenge for our design team was that we had these small material quantities in random colours, not planned to be used together. We wanted to use it in the best way, and so the design team had to form the design and development process around optimizing the use of these fabrics. Usually, the materials will be the answer to the product need, this time we had to look at it the other way around. It has been a challenging but fun journey. Sometimes clear restrictions can open up great creative paths.
HR / AB: We love the classic products chosen for SAMLAREN, like the Greenland jacket and the Kanken backpack. Will we see more products join this collection in the future?
Henrik Andersson: The long-term vision for Samlaren is to actually eliminate the need for this concept in general, by minimizing waste and leftover fabrics in the production. This may however take some time so in the meanwhile we will use Samlaren and future drops to turn hard-to-use leftovers into want-to-use products.
HR / AB: Is there a possibility for collaborations with SAMLAREN?
Henrik Andersson: In general we are very selective when it comes to collaborations, but we are definately open for the right partnerships as we continue to develop in different areas. Wether this happens in Samlaren or elsewhere is to be seen.
HR / AB: With such a great collection, what does the future of Fjallraven look like?
Christiane Dolva: We are excited to explore many of the different alternatives and innovations that are spurred by our focus on sustainability, such as recycled materials, different types and uses of wool, and many more. For the upcoming Fall & Winter 2021 season we will introduce a new material called Pine Weave, which we have spent the past years developing. It is a plant based, durable material made of traceable wood raw material from cultivated and certified spruce and pine trees outside Örnsköldsvik, Fjällräven’s hometown, in northern Sweden. Pine Weave will be introduced first with a new and exciting addition to our iconic Kånken Family: Tree Kånken.
Apart from material innovations we also put a lot of focus on sharing experiences and working together with other brands in the industry through associations like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Swedish Textile Initiative for Climate Action etc. Collaboratively we try to find new solutions, innovative materials and production methods moving towards a more sustainable future.
The Fjällräven Samlaren collection is available at HHV:
Fjällräven Samlaren | HHV
Visual content: Fjällräven