November 21, 2013 | Alex
Have you guys heard of Fjallraven, the Swedish outdoor apparel company? Often compared to North Face or Patagonia because of their product lines, their brand recognition and reach in their home country makes them more like Swedish Nike. If the name-- swedish for "arctic fox"-- doesn't ring a bell, you might recognize their signature Kanken backpack, long a favorite among hipsters and celebrity children. (Barneys started carrying the Kanken back as early as 2009.)
Well, the biggest apparel company in Scandinavia is now making a big push to establish their brand more widely in North America. Although not inexpensive, I was happy to discover that their women's wear is great-looking and flattering-- not always the case with cold-weather duds. I especially love their color ways. Their red is a true fire-engine red, which for me is the true test. Don't you find that reds, whether in clothing or cars, are so often anemic? Not at Fjallraven!
Here are a few of my favorite products, including the iconic Kanken (#4):
- Ovik Melange Beanie - $30 (I look terrible in most hats, but in this one, I look sort of cute! I think.)
- Numbers No.21 Rucksack - $150
- Greenland Parka - $375
- Kanken - $75
- Nordic Heater - $65
- Greenland Wax - $3 (on sale)
The concept behind the wax is pretty neat. Any of their greenland line of products (like #3 above) can be treated with the wax to buff up wind and water resistance. You just rub the wax on and set it with an iron. Or if you'd rather leave it to the professionals, you can bring your greenland product into the "waxing station" at a Fjallraven store. I'm always heart broken when my cobbler or dry cleaner tells me that a beloved staple of my waredrobe is beyond repair, so I love the idea that a Fjallraven jacket could last decades with proper care.
If you find yourself in SoHo, their new flagship store on Greene St, is definitely worth checking out. Kitted out by NY's Anderson Architects, the design combines the original architecture of the SoHo loft space (soaring ceilings, hardwood floors and those ubiquitous cast iron columns) with the material palette of a Scandinavian forest. I think my favorite features are the European oak millwork (including oversized peg boards that allow merchandisers to customize the display) and a volume paneled in fern-filled wooly pockets.
Here's are a few ideas to bring the look of the flagship store into your home:
- Wally One, Wooly Pocket - $40
- Jeeves Coat Rack w/ Mirror, DWR - $206.25 (*on sale)
- Brass Gooseneck Desk Lamp, Urban Remains - $375
- Campaign Chair, Carmel Bay Company (via Remodelista) - $445
- Nehrolepis (Boston Fern), Ikea - $16.99
- Marble Coffee Table, Jason Pickens for Steven Alan Home - price upon request
In addition their commitment to environmental stewardship, I love that one of the company's founding principles is to "spark and maintain an interest in nature in as many people as possible." They believe that if they can get people out and into nature, they'll help to create a larger population of individuals committed to preserving the environment.
Fjallraven Polar is one of their main initiatives to get people out in nature. Every year, the company holds a contest to select 20 people from around the world to participate in a "300km long winter adventure across the arctic tundra." Participants receive gear and training to dogsled for 4 days, beginning in Norway and ending in Sweden. Breathtaking, isn't it?
I really can't explain why, but I have always been fascinated by dog sledding. I know-- why would a born-and-raised New Yorker dream of dog sledding? Maybe it was watching the animated film Balto as a kid. Maybe it was growing up walking past the statue of Balto, which inexplicably stands in Central Park (shouldn't it be in Nome, Alaska?) But somehow, learning to dog sled is at the top of my bucket list. So naturally, when I saw the Fjallraven Polar video that the SoHo flagship store has playing on loop, I thought "Yep. I have to enter this."
To make the entry video, I collaborated with photographer/videographer Elizabeth T. Jones and my snaggle-toothed pup Hektor. Check it out!
If you have a Facebook account, I'd love your vote! Click here to access my entry page, click "Log In" to login to your Facebook account, then click the big red "vote" button. I wish there were a way to vote without a Facebook account, but the contest is managed through Facebook to ensure that each individual only votes once. So please vote! Tell your friends! My entry is currently 16 of 32 in terms of number of votes-- a long way to catch up.
Participating in Fjallraven Polar would be the opportunity of a lifetime. But it would also make for some pretty phenomenal blog content, don't you think? If I do win, you can expect a very detailed play-by-play and lots of photos here at Common Bond Design. Besides, what better way to prove Fjallraven Polar's mission statement that "anyone with the right equipment and knowledge can be part of and enjoy the beautiful wilderness of the Arctic Circle" than to send a consummate urban dweller like me?
Alright, enough electioneering. One final Fjallraven-related tip: If you're as smitten with arctic foxes as I am a) follow FjallravenUSA on Instagram for #foxfridays; and b) pick up one of Brooklyn-based Coral and Tusk's Arctic Fox Ornaments for the holidays.
PS I apologize profusely for the complete omission of umlaut's throughout this post. Fjallraven has two! Alas, our blogging platform and the keyboard shortcut for umlauts do not seem to get along.