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Boulder Business Feature: Fjällräven

In Boulder, we’re no stranger to clothes geared toward the outdoors. With acres of recreational open space, mountainous surroundings, and a big emphasis on being active, Boulder definitely has a ‘sweet tooth’ for outdoor brands like Patagonia and North Face. But distinctively from these, Fjällräven doesn’t downplay design for functionality; Fjällräven is high design for outerwear. With an ambitious populace, Boulder is an ideal location for the new Fjällräven store (now open on Pearl).

Fjällräven, which means Arctic Fox in Swedish, is geared toward clothing and accessories that make even the most severe outdoor activities doable (and enjoyable).

Photo Courtesy of Fjällräven

Photo Courtesy of Fjällräven

Fjällräven ’s website notes that the Arctic Fox is a highly adaptable predator that lives in the Swedish mountains under the harshest conditions, making their name highly appropriate. In Sweden, Fjällräven is one of the most popular retailers and thankfully, the Swedes aren’t selfish. With brands like Ikea and H&M hitting it big in America, Fjällräven is likely to join the duo in popularity.

With few stores in the United States (and of those, the majority being on the east coast), Fjällräven has a feeling of exclusivity despite its humble beginnings. From Örnsköldsvik (northern Sweden), its founder  Åke Nordin decided that at the time (1950’s) backpacks just didn’t do what they were supposed to-so he made his own.

Photo Courtesy of Fjällräven

Photo Courtesy of Fjällräven

He built a wooden frame for his backpack, which more evenly distributed the weight, and by 1960 Fjällräven became the first to commercially make and distribute framed backpacks. Apparently, not much has changed since then aside from more colors and a few new models accommodating laptops and electronics.  They’ve expanded, but their focus remains on making timeless items.

In Boulder, we definitely know the value of this; though Fjällräven is a little pricey (along with most outdoor retailers), its equipment and clothing have a rare durability that can be passed down through generations. The company’s Greenland jacket is an outdoor classic from 1968, which was originally made from tent fabric, and is still their most popular garment. It’s now made of G-1000 fabric, which is a tightly woven, well tested, quick-dry fabric permeated with wax. In fact, it was recently field tested and chosen for the Winter 2013-2014 Outside Buyer’s Guide.

Photo Courtesy of Fjällräven

Photo Courtesy of Fjällräven

Fjällräven isn’t a stranger to media spotlight; Complex Style, Teen Vogue, InStyle and many others are huge fans of Fjällräven’s Rucksack No. 21 and Kanken. They’ve been named as some of the coolest backpacks out now. GQ’s assistant editor Mark Byrne gave a shout-out to the Greenland jacket in ‘goes –with-anything good looks’ and models like Cara Delevigne are Fjällräven enthusiasts as well.

In fact, the media can’t keep their hands off of Fjällräven. It seems that the Swedish company is the best of both worlds (both fashion and function) and fortunately, Boulderites won’t have to keep their hands off either.

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