by Neil Summers
In 1968 a 32-year-old Åke Nordin produced his first Fjällräven jacket. He called it the Greenland Jacket. It was made with his new G-1000 material (“G” standing for Greenland) that was waxed with his own wax, Greenland Wax. The story starts two years previously where Greenland was the destination for a team of Scandinavian alpinists and researchers who were in need of some gear before setting off. Step forward the industrious Fjällräven founder, Åke Nordin who offered them his aluminium-framed backpacks and new Thermo tents. Though at that time he didn’t have any clothing to contribute, so the team relied upon the materials of the time, boiled wool and leather. The team survived and the mission was a success though their clothing had let them down having been heavy, slow-drying and lacking resistance to the harsh Greenland climate.
Åke saw this as a challenge to create the perfect all-round outdoor adventure jacket. A jacket that kept you warm and dry; that wouldn’t wear out or weigh you down. A material quickly presented itself. A material Åke had experimented with before when creating his tents. He’d originally ruled it out. But with some tweaking and treatment, it could work as jacket material. Åke went back to the drawing board and testd a range of materials and impregnations. Though initially stumped he suddenly had a brainwave. In his youth, Åke and his friends had tried ski jumping where they’d spend many an hour hanging out at the huge Swoosh-shaped slope in Örnsköldsvik (his home town on Sweden’s High Coast). To avoid freezing their behinds off, they waxed the backs of their trousers to keep the snow out, their trousers dry and their behinds warm. Åke used this idea to develop Greenland Wax. And this wax offered that wind and water resistance he was looking for. It even improved the material’s durability.
With the material and impregnation sorted, he then set about using creating his perfect outdoor jacket, complete with practical pockets and a relaxed, loose fit. In continued honour to the research mission that inspired it, Åke called this jacket the Greenland Jacket. The rest as they say is history. The Greenland Jacket, launched in 1968, went on to enable a whole generation of nature lovers to spend more time outdoors and is now one of Fjällräven’s most iconic products, second only to their Kånken backpack.
Having reached this landmark of 50 years Fjällräven are celebrating with the release of a brand new Greenland collection, inspired by the original jacket. The new collection builds on the classic range, staying true to the look and feel of the originals, but evolving even further to ensure that this new generation of garments and accessories are made in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way.