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A Fjällräven and Specialized initiative Leave a comment

In 2050, two-thirds of the Earth’s population will live in towns and cities. Alongside that, our collective priorities are shifting towards good mental and physical health, as well as the health of our planet.

In this context, it has never been more important to reconnect with the outdoors. As Henrik Andersson, Global Creative Director for Fjällräven says, “It is key for people to get closer rather than more distant to nature. To see and rightly value the world’s eco-systems, climate, and sensitive balance, and become active stewards for a better future.”

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There is an assumption that for experiences in nature to have real value they need to be in far-flung distant lands or require months of advance planning. That is hardly the case. Often the best adventures happen at the end of a train ride, on the edge of town, or even just around the corner.

It is key for people to get closer rather than more distant to nature. To see and rightly value the world’s eco-systems, climate, and sensitive balance, and become active stewards for a better future.

That is why Fjällräven and California bicycle brand Specialized have united and developed a completely new collection: an exchange of ideas and culture, innovation and expertise. It combines Fjällräven’s dedication to timeless design and sustainable functionality in the outdoors with Specialized’s high-performance approach to pedalling the planet forward.

All of it culminates in technical apparel and equipment that empowers people to explore their own nearby nature areas. With the products you can bike and hike your way to new trails and perspectives, where the air is fresh, and the mind is clear. Like Erik Nohlin, Industrial Design Leader at Specialized says, “Nature’s the best medicine there is. Nothing is more real and nothing is purer and more important than connecting with nature. Nature is the best healer there is and something we can never take for granted – it has to be more cherished.” So, let’s roll into how the collaboration came about, and find out where it is headed.

Nature’s the best medicine there is. Nothing is more real and nothing is purer and more important than connecting with nature. Nature is the best healer there is and something we can never take for granted – it has to be more cherished.

The CaliSwede way

Biking and hiking. Technology and functional design. California and SwedenCaliSwede is not a type of root vegetable, but the word used to describe the spirit of cooperation between Fjällräven and Specialized.

Being separated by an ocean, 8,000 kilometres and several time zones, you would not necessarily think of Fjällräven and Specialized teaming up together. But if you consider that they are two heritage brands founded by stubborn entrepreneurs who built legacies upon their passions, the collaboration makes a lot more sense. In Sweden, you have Fjällräven. Founded by Åke Nordin, he used his love and knowledge for the outdoors to create a company that now enables more people to enjoy nature respectfully with durable, functional and timeless products. As well as events. In California you have Specialized. Founded by Mike Sinyard, he turned a passion for biking into an industry leading company for innovation and development. For nearly half a century, Specialized has been building safe, high-performing and long-lasting bicycles. All while minimising environmental impact during production and establishing effective paths for product reuse and recycling.

Though the seeds of the collaboration were sown in 2019, what is now the shared launch of a new collection started in 2020. Since then, “bike has met hike”, as the two brands exchange ideas and cultures while working together. Sharing their inspiration from the natural worlds around their offices, as well as their experiences from short trips and epic adventures, the two brands have developed a unique approach to collaboration.

Exchange Hub

Kicking off the collaboration during the global travel restrictions of the pandemic, Fjällräven and Specialized had to find creative ways to work together. In Sweden, the team set up an Exchange Hub in a barn just outside of Stockholm. Once settled there, they had the space needed to progress from new ideas, to sketches, to functional prototypes in a matter of days. Product development and lots of field testing could also be done fast. Instead of sending people over the ocean for hands-on work, it could be done “live” in both locations with video meetings.

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With such a dynamic way of working, the concept also benefitted from the team being comprised of a diverse group of people. Truly multi-disciplinary, everyone on the team had different backgrounds, areas of expertise and perspectives, but were all committed to bringing new concepts about biking and hiking to life.

Biking is new territory for Fjällräven, and the same is true for Specialized and outdoor expertise. As such, the two brands learned a lot from each other. During the exchange, Fjällräven developed an appreciation for Specialized’s design principles of high-tech innovation and high-performance function. In turn, Specialized gained a deep understanding for Fjällräven’s commitment to sustainability, timelessness and durable functionality.

Fjällräven Global Creative Director Henrik Andersson describes the feeling of working together so closely: “The process has been a lot about looking at the cultures and the activities and seeing where we can have a sweet spot in-between the brands.”

Biking and hiking and dinner

The result is a collection of apparel and equipment suitable for taking you from biking to hiking. And beyond. According to Henrik, “We kind of have this ‘Saddle to Table’ approach where you could ride all day and you can stop and have dinner at a place. So you go from the saddle to the table in the same garments, and you feel just as at home on the bike as in the restaurant.

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