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Design Thinking: Fjällräven

(Image courtesy of Fjällräven)

In Graduate School, one of the buzzwords professors love to discuss is "Design Thinking." Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding (Dam and Siang). Design Thinking enables a company to understand consumer needs to serve their audience better. For this project, I contacted different companies to learn how the organizations apply Design Thinking into their market offerings. I had the opportunity to talk with Phillipp Kloeters, Head of International PR, at Fjällräven to learn more about the mission and vision of the company.

(Image courtesy of Fjällräven)

1.What makes Fjällräven different from other brands?

Fjällräven is a brand with a long history of creating high quality, durable and timeless products that can be used for years in the tough environments of the outdoors and even passed on to the next generation. And while inheriting old clothes from your parents or grandparents is usually not something that you are thrilled about, it is somehow different when it is a beloved old Fjällräven product. I believe the reason for that is that timelessness and durability play a major role in our product design. We deliberately design our products to be relevant for more than only one season. This not only creates a very distinctive look that sticks out from the masses and can be recognized from a distance but also led to numerous product icons that have been developed decades ago but are still relevant today.

With sustainability deeply rooted in our brand DNA we also have quite a history of innovative and sustainable solutions committing to keep nature in business forever (PFC-free since 2015, Down Promise, etc.). This knowledge and commitment is putting us on the forefront of sustainability which we believe is one of the most important topics of our time.

(Image courtesy of Fjällräven)

2.How does Fjällräven stay ahead of upcoming trends?

At Fjällräven we have decided to make products that last instead of following trends, because we don’t believe in waste. We are not creating new products or styles only for the sake of it – they always need to fulfill a clear function and use. Many of our products – like for example the Greenland Jacket or the Kånken have become classics – maybe because they are simple and reduced to functional purposes and maybe also because they were never intended for a particular year. We don't work with trend colors that are changed every one, two or three years. Instead, our colors are inspired by nature and based on how timeless they are or how well they go together with other products, so that they can still be worn in 20, 30 or 40 years. In the fashion industry as well as in the outdoor industry, you can see a constant change in styles and colors - at Fjällräven however we strive for stability and a sharpened profile.

Staying clear from trends is not something we focus on; we just don’t use trends as fuel in our development. At least not fashion trends. Trends in society and in technology we are interested in, and these may affect how we look at products in different ways over time. We are just having a long-term approach, and never jump on trends just to make short term wins.

3. How does Fjällräven incorporate its mission and vision into its product offerings?

Since the start in 1960 we have based our development and design on the principles of durability, functionality, and timeless looks. We strive to offer outdoor equipment of unrivaled quality and function, while being at the forefront of sustainability. Our equipment should be repairable, or better still made so it never breaks and have an as low environmental impact as possible. As an outdoor brand, we’re acutely aware that everything we do also has an impact on the environment which is why we constantly want to identify more innovative and sustainable solutions. The development of a new product or product line often starts with a creative idea or a certain need that we see from a user perspective or where we see a gap in our collection. We look into different material solutions on the market, do materials test, evaluate the sustainability aspects, look into the material sourcing, the production processes and how we can optimize them, we look into fits and test them on models, we look into optimizing patterns, testing products, getting in feedback from product testers, users but also our customer service and repair departments and so on. All this to create products that make people feel home in nature. But there is more than products, materials, and design. At Fjällräven we love nature and we made it to our mission to help more people find their way into the woods, up mountains, and down rivers. With our events like Fjällräven Classic and Fjällräven Polar we want to inspire people to go out and discover outdoor life. We do this because we believe that the more time people spend in nature the more, they learn to appreciate and respect it and the more they will also understand why nature needs to be protected.

(Image courtesy of Fjällräven)

4.What is the future of the company?

As mentioned earlier, we see ourselves on a constant journey of self-improvement. We are excited to explore and discover new functional innovations and more sustainable materials that make life in the outdoors more comfortable and safe.

Especially in the last years we were happy to see that more and more people discovered outdoor activities and the nature surrounding us.

We will continue on the path of inspiring more people to discover nature and outdoor activities through our products, our events and by sharing our knowledge with the growing outdoor community. Whether you are an experienced expert or curious beginner, we want to invite everyone to the outdoors and to the community of outdoor enthusiasts to share experiences and walk together with nature.

(Image courtesy of Fjällräven)


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog! Please reach out if you have any ideas for content, partnerships, and more!

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