On 16 November 120 wool sweaters will go on sale in selected Fjällräven Brand Stores and on Fjällräven’s ecommerce site. But they aren’t just any wool sweaters. The Brattlands No. 1 Sweaters are special. They’re made from 100% Swedish wool that has come from sheep partly owned by Fjällräven.
A few years ago Fjällräven decided to look into its wool supply chain and found it was difficult to trace all the way back to the farm.
“We often bought wool through yarn manufacturers or even fabric producers that contact yarn manufacturers, that have contact with spinners and so on. So it was challenging to source our wool directly from the farm that produced it,”
says Christiane Dolva, Fjällräven’s Sustainability Manager.
Fjällräven already had achieved traceability in its down chain and the resulting Down Promise had even been recognised as one of the best in the outdoor industry, so Fjällräven CEO, Martin Axelhed, wanted to apply the same thinking to wool: “we knew wool could be produced sustainably, so we wanted to find if we could take it to the next level.”
Together with Brattlandsgården, a holistic management farm just outside of Åre in the Swedish mountains, Fjällräven embarked on a best practice project to see just how much clarity they could get in its wool supply chain.The Brattlands Sweater No. 1 is the result.
The journey has been a bumpy one. The spinners, tasked with spinning 70 kilos of washed wool, had staff shortages (normally a two-person team it was down to one person for a while). The weaving process took longer than expected too. And communication between all parties, on reflection, could’ve been better. Add to that the challenge of reviving an industry that no longer exists on this scale in Sweden and you have plenty of reasons to give up. But Fjällräven preserved and the sweaters are worth all the hard work.
Simple, classic styling means this sweater will still look great in years to come. And the quality is fantastic – soft, tactile and not at all itchy. The wool is between 19 and 21 microns. By comparison, Merino wool is between 17 and 24 microns – the lower the number, the finer the wool.
“That picture you have in your head of a winter sweater, well, this is it. The sweater has this ‘it’ll last forever’ feeling about it,” says Sarah Isaksson, Fjällräven Product Designer. “The sweater is quite heavy and structured. But the wool itself is really fine. It’s incredibly insulating making it a really warm garment. It’s a raglan style sweater and this means the sleeves are attached straight to the neckline rather than being straight cut. It gives a really comfortable, flexible sweater than doesn’t restrict movement and follows the body’s natural contours.”
After this, Fjällräven hopes to expand the collection but also to take insights and experiences from this pilot project and apply them to its international wool supply chain.
Three Reasons Why You Should Fall in Love with Wool
- You’re most likely aware of wool’s ability to keep you warm by trapping air between its bres. But did you know that, strictly speaking, wool isn’t an insulator; it’s a heat regulator? is is because it can help you keep your cool as well as keep you warm and cosy.
- Wool also wicks away moisture, i.e. sweat, from your body. And when it wicks away moisture it takes odours with it. So even though you may spend all day trekking and working up a sweat, your wool clothing will hardly smell at all.
- Because of the structure of wool bres, it keeps you warm even when it’s wet.
How To Take Care of Wool
You should always follow the washing instructions on the product’s care label, as some wool should never be machine washed – such as Brattlands wool.
Furthermore, due to wool’s inherent ability to resist odour and dirt, Fjällräven recommends only washing your gear when it really needs it. Not only does this save energy and resources, but it also helps extend the lifetime of your product. A good airing is usually sufficient. And if you do notice a dirty mark, it’s better to hand wash that area rather than washing the entire garment.
If you really need to wash your wool clothing (and it’s OK to do so according to the care label), Fjällräven suggests either hand washing or using a wool/hand wash machine-washing cycle and a mild detergent. When hand washing, don’t leave your wool clothing soaking. Instead, lift it in and out of the water several times then remove excess water with a towel. Do not wring it out. Reshape the item after washing and lay it flat to dry. Do not tumble dry your wool clothing. You should store your wool garments away from direct sunlight. Fjällräven suggests a clothes cover or a cardboard box to keep your wool items aired but out of reach from wool-hungry insects and moths. Long-time storage on hangers may result in stretching and loss of shape.
With every purchase of a Brattlands Sweater No. 1, customers will receive a material bag to safely store their sweater. This bag is made from off-cuts of different kinds of G-1000 material – Fjällräven’s durable, hardwearing cornerstone fabric. The bag, with two simple shoulder straps, can also be used as a handy shopping bag.
Report by fjallraven.com