Fjällräven Launches Kånken Art Collection as Wearable “Art That Carries Stuff”

Designs by accomplished Swedish artists Cecilia Heikkilä and Erik Olovsson feature first ever Kånken prints
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BOULDER, Colo. (July 1, 2019) — As a tribute to the creativity and devotion kindled by the backpack first produced for Swedish schoolchildren in 1978, Fjällräven introduces the Kånken Art special edition for Summer 2019 on July 1. Kånken Art releases the first prints ever used on a Kånken backpack—resulting in two distinctive graphics created by Swedish artists, Cecilia Heikkilä and Erik Olovsson, each representing their personal connection to nature. Kånken Art prints are offered on the original 16-liter packs, the Kånken Art Mini, laptop packs for 13-, 15- and 17-inch sizes, and accessories including a card wallet, travel wallet, pencil case and toiletry bag.

Much like the Swedish artists used Kånken as a canvas to express what nature means to them, the larger Kanken line does the same for consumers. Beyond the ageless functionality of the pack, the latest iteration embraces Kånken as wearable “art that carries stuff,” offering a solution to carry everything from laptops to photography kits to lunch boxes. The four designs are a natural evolution seeing the entire Kånken line is primed for personalization with stickers, pins, patches and embroidery— leading the Fjällräven community to photograph, draw and share their personal pieces of art with the world.

First created to help prevent back problems that were emerging among Swedish school children, two A4 school binders determined the iconic 16-liter size and shape. Kånken was officially designated as art in 2016 by the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design, Svensk Form— comparable with music, film and literary pieces —citing its distinct design and high level of functionality. Kånken Art now joins the ranks of a heritage line recognized for its craftsmanship and ability to inspire creativity.

Pulling from the colors of the Swedish mountains, artist Erik Olovsson produced two patterns, named Spring and Summer Landscape. Olovsson’s version of the Kånken Art is an abstract way of describing the layers of nature connected to his own memories when hiking in the mountains with family throughout his childhood. Today, he is a designer working within the fields of product, furniture and graphic design at his own studio in Stockholm. His works have been exhibited in the U.S., Sweden and around the world.

“Having memories hiking in the mountains when I was a kid, to experience the shifting landscape and the ever-changing weather that created new sceneries in front of us, was something grand and meaningful to me,” says Olovsson. “My Kånken Art became layers of all these memories connected to nature and of the mountains. I aim to have an intuitive and experimental starting point for all my projects.”

The designs are at once similar in the desire to represent the expansive wilderness of Sweden and distinctive in their approach. Nature and animals are synonymous with Cecilia Heikkilä, a graphic designer who created the “Fable” Art design, featuring whimsical woodland creatures such as weasels, racoons and mice prancing across every corner of the pack. The story is complete with twigs, berries, animals and leaves on the Kånken, in green or blue editions, which was influenced by the sights, smells and animals found in the dense Nordic forests Heikkilä grew up exploring. Today, the mystery of the forest and its creatures are a consistent subject in her illustrations.

“To me, the forest and nature are places for unpredictability and coincidence, in both a dangerous and beautiful way,” says Cecilia Heikkilä, who, among other things, has written and illustrated children’s books. “But I believe that the closer we come to nature, the more we want to protect it. I’m lucky to have all of that outside my front door. Inviting everyone to find their own forest is what inspired my pattern for Kånken Art.”

Protecting nature and reduing its impact on the environment are key elements of the creation of the Kånken Art. The timeless backpack is made from the proprietary, durable and water-resistant G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco S fabric in recycled polyester and organic cotton. The bag’s straight lines have an additional advantage from a sustainability perspective by nearly eliminating all waste when the patterns are cut from the fabric.

“Kånken has been used as a canvas by many of our fans for years being photographed, graphically recreated in art and used as a styling accessory,” explains Henrik Andersson, head of innovation and design at Fjällräven. “Inspired by this, we decided to launch Kånken editions with original art from some of our favorite creatives. It adds a nice expression to the Kånken packs, and we’re happy connecting them to the Arctic Fox Initiative by donating 1 percent of the proceeds to conservation.”

Kånken Art 2019 original packs retail for $90, Kånken Art Mini for $80, Kånken Art Laptop 13” for $115, Kånken Art Laptop 15” for $120, and Kånken Art Laptop 17” for $125. Kånken Art packs and accessories are available online on July 1 at www.fjallraven.us and retail locations nationwide.

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About Fjällräven

In 1960, Åke Nordin founded Fjällräven in his basement in the Swedish town of Örnsköldsvik. Since then, Fjällräven has made a commitment to quality and timeless design, while staying true to our mission of developing timeless, functional and durable outdoor equipment, acting responsibly towards people, animals and nature and inspiring people to get outside. Today the company has presence in over 48 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit www.fjallraven.us

About Cecilia Heikkilä

Swedish based graphic designer and illustrator, Cecilia Heikkilä illustrates and writes childrens’ books. Cecilia believes humans and animals should have the same equality as a proud supporter and member of the Animal Rights, Sweden (Djurens rätt). Some of her inspirations are; Tove Jansson, Hayao Miyazaki, Richard Scarry, Pauline Baynes, Maurice Sendak, Beatrix Potter, E. H. Shepard, Michael Ende and my dog Mochi of course. She works with both small and large clients, a couple of them being Bonnier Carlsen, Rabén & Sjögren, Moomin Characters, Berghs förlag, Leopard Förlag, IKEA, Havsmiljöinstitutet, Djurens Rätt, Nikita, Teater 23 Malmö and Skissernas museum in Lund. Visit her website for more: www.issie.se

About Erik Olovsson

Erik Olovsson is a Swedish designer, who received his MA in Storytelling from Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. He has also studied fine art and photography in Stockholm’s Konstskolan and graphic design in Berghs School of Communication. Olovsson’s merits include working as an art director at the creative collective ACNE and designing for NakNak with Kyuhyung Cho. Studio E.O is Olovsson’s design studio in Stockholm, which he founded in 2013. The studio seeks to work in various fields and try alternative techniques. Olovsson emphasizes methods and creating systems in the process of design. Link to his work: studioeo.com 

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