Born from passion, created for necessity
Fjällräven was born out of one man’s vision: a vision to make nature accessible to more people.
Åke Nordin was born in Örnsköldsvik, on Sweden’s High Coast, in 1936. Combining rolling hills, deep forests and sheltered coastline it was the perfect playground for a young, curious Åke. And it was on one of his many adventures that the seed for Fjällräven was planted, deep in Åke’s mind.
The idea arose out of necessity: to create a backpack that swallowed up gear, but sat comfortably on his back. Åke knew there must be a way. With his mother’s sewing machine and his father’s tools, Åke created a wooden-framed backpack in his basement. And with it, the seed was sown. 10 years later, in 1960, in that same basement, Åke founded Fjällräven and launched his first product for sale. Guess what is was? Yep, a backpack; this time with an aluminium frame.
During the 1960s and 70s, fuelled by Åke’s stubborn belief that there must always be a way – a practical solution –the Fjällräven product range expanded significantly, with tents, sleeping bags, jackets and trousers. The Greenland Jacket, the Expedition Down Jacket and the Kånken backpack proved to be defining products. Virtually every other Swede, from avid trekker to enthusiastic nature lover, wore and trusted Fjällräven.
The 80s and 90s were more about geographical expansion. Trekking through nature, going slowly, carrying everything you need on your back while enjoying every step, shouldn’t just be something for Swedes. First we expanded throughout Scandinavia, then further afield in Europe. But it wasn’t enough for Åke to just offer the clothing and equipment to get out in nature. His dream was to actually enable people to get out there. He wanted more people to trek through the wilderness; because the more people experience nature, the more likely they are to care for it. And again, he knew there must be a way. His dream became a reality in 2005 with the launch of Fjällräven Classic: a 110km-long trek through northern Sweden.
And with nature being so important to us, here at Fjällräven, we’ve placed more and more emphasis on sustainable development; to develop on nature’s terms. Since the new millennium, we’ve launched Eco-Shell, our Down Promise and the Fjällräven Way – our Code of Conduct.
Then in 2017 we became very nostalgic. We returned to where Åke first drew inspiration, the Swedish mountains, to create our mountaineering collection: Bergtagen. And now, in 2018, we’re revisiting that first defining product, the Greenland Jacket and the collection it forged, to create Greenland Updated.
But whether we’re looking forward, backwards or sideways for inspiration, we’re always moving towards a common goal. Enabling and inspiring more people to experience nature was Åke’s vision and we now make it our mission. Nature is in our DNA. We simply can’t deviate from it. Without it, we’d be nothing. It is our past, present and future. It’s our forever.