Designing the new 1974 Expedition Series
Fjällräven now launches the new 1974 Expedition Series, a collection of jackets that are direct descendants of the legendary Expedition Down Jacket from, that’s right, 1974. Will the new series live up to the high expectations? We asked James Lee, Designer at Fjällräven.
If you didn’t read about it a few pages back, the story is that in the early 1970’s, Åke Nordin, wanted to create a jacket in which it was impossible to feel cold. And he did it by basically sewing two down jackets together, with alternating air ducts to minimise heat loss, and created an insulating hood that covered everything but the eyes when pulled tight.
After rigorous tests in the field, the finished product was launched in 1974 as the Fjällräven Expedition Down Jacket. Over the years it became a favourite among outdoor professionals all over the world - from rock climbers in the Himalayans to sled dog drivers in the Arctic Circle.
We take a lot of pride in creating clothes and equipment that last for generations - as an important aspect of sustainability - but for that to be possible, there has to be some measure of repairability built in from the start.
Designer at Fjällräven
Four new models
Now, Fjällräven is launching a new series of insulating winter jackets based on the design and high functionality of the original jacket. “We wanted to offer outdoor enthusiasts more versatility within our assortment, keeping to our high standards of sustainability while at the same time honouring our heritage”, says James Lee, Designer at Fjällräven The new series consists of three lighter, packable models that can be used both as effective midlayers on cold winter trekking adventures, and as reliable insulating outer garments during the milder months.
Expedition Lite Hoodie (Right)
Expedition Pack Down Hoodie
Expedition Pack Down Jacket
The fourth model is a well-insulated long parka for when temperatures drop to their lowest. The series comes in bright, clear colours and with iconic details that clearly salute the original Expedition Down Jacket from ’74. “Yes, the bright colours are certainly an acknowledgement of the original colours from our heritage, but those colours were there for a reason - to stay visible in the mountains - and that function is just as important today”, says James.
Expedition Down Long Parkas
Highest sustainability standards
The actual look of both the original jacket and new 1974 Expedition Series are a consequence rather than a focus, and that is something that has become a trademark trait for any Fjällräven product. Creating durable, functional, timeless clothes and equipment has always been their development-decree and serves as a clear compass throughout all aspects of the production process. Add to that the ambition to become the most sustainable outdoor brand in the world and you’ve got quite high expectations to live up to. “Sustainability is a very high priority at Fjällräven so we’ve worked really hard to ensure that the new Expedition Series stands up to scrutiny in that respect too.” All the jackets in the new series use 100% recycled nylon in both the face fabric and the lining. The models that use down as insulation, use only Fjällräven’s ethically sourced, 100% traceable down. And then there’s the element of repairability.
“We take a lot of pride in creating clothes and equipment that last for generations - as an important aspect of sustainability - but for that to be possible, there has to be some measure of repairability built in from the start”, says James. The drawcords on the hood and waist of the Expedition Pack Down Jacket have been designed to be easily repaired in the field and the front zipper can be replaced without any down insulation spilling from the down channels. The other models all have similar solutions.
The original jacket from 1974 became incredibly popular over the years - and still is. Will the new series enjoy the same successful fate? “Well, seen from the perspective of functionality, durability, design and sustainability, I think the new series will definitely get a lot of attention from outdoor enthusiasts everywhere, but the same fate? Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed” says James. If you haven’t, read the full story behind the original Expedition Down Jacket on our article Åke decides to never feel cold again here.