“Dad’s Anorak”: A distinctly Swedish take on quality and emotion
What makes a garment worth holding onto for a long time? The story of, “Dad’s Anorak,” explores the significance of quality, durability and emotional longevity.
History. Durability. Economy. Memories? What makes something worth holding onto for a long time?
In the case of Lars-Erik and his treasured Fjällräven Anorak from 1982, it’s a combination of factors. Including treasured family moments, Swedish heritage, and a conviction that quality is the foundation of an emotional product connection. Together, they’ve woven into a wholesome anecdote that Lasse’s daughter Siri (a Fjällräven team member) couldn’t resist sharing. Especially as it is the Anorak that inspired the new Vardag collection.
It all begins with a surprise connection to our founder Åke Nordin. In 1982, Lasse and his soon-to-be wife began thinking about starting a new life in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. Though residents of Gothenburg, they wanted to live closer to nature. While searching for jobs up north, Lasse’s girlfriend landed a position in Fjällräven’s marketing department. As Marketing Manager, she worked directly with Åke and the management team and had access to sample products for testing. His opinion of it – then and now – is to the point:
“I loved it from day one.”
Lars Erik, Anorak owner
Just the way he wanted it
Any avid skier will tell you that puffy insulation simply won’t do in a jacket. Particularly in deep powder conditions. In the seventies and eighties, when puffy jackets abounded, the Anorak stood out. It was an example of what is accomplished with an ultra-functional and versatile approach to outdoor apparel design.
“It had everything I wanted, like a storm collar with detachable hood, and a one-layer shell. In my experience these are the best solutions for skiing in deep snow conditions. It was the first jacket that fit perfectly. It felt tailormade.”
And, if you thought that a practical fellow like Lasse wouldn’t care about appearances, you’d be wrong. In fact, the colour is one of his favourite things.
“The jacket is red, and the shade is just right. It’s a smart-looking colour and it never goes out of fashion. I’ve worn the Anorak consistently since the eighties and there was nothing I would change.”
Quality creates emotional longevity
Lasse’s regard for the style of his jacket – or lack thereof – taps into some of Fjällräven’s most deeply held beliefs around product quality as a gateway to emotional longevity. These values were embodied by everyman Åke, and remain a cornerstone of Fjällräven’s product design philosophy to this day. Though Lasse wouldn’t consider himself an overly sentimental man, he will admit that the approach creates garments with value that transcends their practical application.
“I appreciate Fjällräven in its ability to be so consistent with their approach to design. The brand’s designers will absolutely not be dragged to the latest fashion trend when updating a product, or making a new one. The commitment to classic design makes Fjällräven stand out. It also makes it possible to use the products for a long time. And though I don’t think that products are inherently emotional, I do think that they can be charged with memories. Especially if their high-quality level creates longevity.”
When pressed to pick his favourite Anorak memory however, Lasse’s is decidedly personal: Christmas 1989.
“My favourite memory? That’s easy. We spent Christmas 1989 in the Swedish Grövelsjön mountain range. I was telemark skiing down the Storvätteshågna in 25-centimetre snow. Pulling our two-year old son in a pulka sledge. When we stopped in the valley he said, ‘One more time!’. I just had to climb the mountain again for him. And you know what? The second run was even better.”
Distinctly Swedish memories
“The Anorak has, and always will be, a conversation-starter with other Swedes. Especially when I’m travelling abroad. The Fjällräven brand simply tells others that I’m Swedish.”
Lasse’s decades’ long use of the same Anorak also has a national flavour. He considers the quality, functionality, and longevity of Fjällräven products, to be distinctly Swedish; as well as his commitment to using and caring for what he owns, rather than buying new.
Currently, he uses it for skiing: alpine, x-country and cross-country. He also bikes and hikes in it. And though it doesn’t need much more than a wash now and then, he’s committed to keeping it in good condition. Caring and repairing it himself when occasion calls.
"Like many Swedes, I was raised to look for quality. I take care of my possessions and consume wisely. In terms of wider meaning, I guess if you are serious about environmental issues you need to consume with care. The best way to do that is use what you have, and buy as little as possible."