Let's dive deep into the wonderful world of Fjällräven wool. Our two experts, Johanna Mollberg (Product developer) and Erik Blomberg (Head of innovation) have some interesting things to tell us.
Erik, could you explain why and how Fjällräven uses wool in the collection today?
EB: You probably know that wool can keep you warm when you are cold, and cold when you are hot. Due to its ability to trap air between its fibres, it can be an outstanding insulation material. And due to its ability to store moisture inside the wool fibre, it feels dry, even in wet conditions. Wool as a fibre and yarn can be very soft and that is what gives wool its ‘cosy’ reputation. Water does not stick to the wool surface, which makes it resistant to bacteria growth. And moist air can travel freely through the wool fibre and take odours away with it.
Do you see a trend regarding buying wool products in recent years?
EB: I have worked in the industry for many years now and a very positive change I have seen is that there are more and more people interested in mending and taking in their wool products. Nowadays our customers want to know where the materials and the products are coming from and how they have been produced. It is an important development. Together, we can work towards inspiring others to see a high value in the products created from wool - and ensure we take care of them and use them over a long period of time.
Any news on Fjällräven wool? What are you currently working on?
EB: Wool as a material is nothing less than fascinating. Wool has a rich history spanning 10.000 years. It also has a strong future ahead of it and is an essential material for us at Fjällräven. That is not just because of wool’s inherent properties as a wildly functional material, but also because it is easier to recycle than other materials. It is also hugely diverse in its potential uses.
JM: Our goal is that all the wool we use is either recycled, recovered or traceable, certified, and audited. Some wool has been fairly easy to source while other wool has been a bit more complicated. We have come far and are proud to say that we are very close to reaching our goal to get all the Fjällräven wool into one of these categories.
JM: However at Fjällräven we are never really satisfied; we continuously push our goals and try to improve and become better. So this is more of a constant progress and this goal is “just” another milestone. We could take another step on this journey and have some very exciting updates on the traceable wool. Our partner, The New Zealand Merino Company from where we get the zq certified wool is launching a program on regenerative agriculture that we have committed to. It is called zqrx (short for regenerative index). On top of the strict criteria on animal welfare and environment for the zq wool, the aim is to focus on the regenerative aspects and to highlight practices in farming that go beyond and above the current zq structure. With zqrx, The New Zealand Merino Company has created a way to measure this progress over time which is another step towards a more sustainable future.
Can we expect some new exciting products?
EB:In the past four years we have spent a lot of time exploring what kind of products – outside of traditional sweaters and base layers – we can make with wool as a material. A really important fact for the Fjällräven team is that wool is not restricted to only Merino wool. There are so many other products and applications where we can work with different types of wool. For example, the backplate on the Lappland Hike 15 Backpack, or the wool padding in the Keb Padded Jacket, which both use recovered wool. Or the Övik Re-Wool Shirt, which is made from tightly woven recycled wool. We know that the clothing we choose to wear every day has an enormous impact on our planet and its people. It is for that reason that we are so excited about the future of wool and woollen products at Fjällräven.
JM: We really like our recovered wool. Not only because it is sourced locally, which allows a close contact to the producers, but also because it is a raw material that would otherwise have been thrown away. Recovered wool however, can sometimes be uneven in length and quality which has made it difficult for us to turn recovered wool into a yarn. Recently our partners have found a solution to overcome this challenge, which opens up new possibilities. With a yarn we can go beyond using wool as padding or backplate in backpacks. It can now also be used in knitted sweaters and woven fabrics, which is really exciting for us.
Do you have any advice on how to take care of wool apparel?
EB: It is pretty simple: do not wash your wool garments as often as you would others. Due to the inherent anti-odour properties of wool, they do not need to be washed as often as synthetic fibres. A handy tip is to hang your products out to ventilate instead. Or if your favourite sweater starts to break at the elbows, hand sew a fabric patch on. You will get many more years of wearing your favourite piece.