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Introducing Kånken Art

After Kånken was officially designated as craft art a few years ago by Svensk Form, we thought it high time to celebrate this achievement in style. It’s doing so with the launch of two special edition Kånken backpacks. Swedish artists, Cecilia Heikkilä and Erik Olovsson, were commissioned to design unique prints representing their personal connections to nature combined with a touch of Kånken playfulness.

Kånken started life in 1978 as a practical solution to a pressing problem. Back troubles were spreading across Sweden and not just among adults, but children too. This worried Fjällräven founder Åke Nordin. So he decided to find a solution. And it was Kånken. A simple backpack with space for two A4 binders and a pencil case it made carrying school gear easier and more comfortable. Over the years Kånken has become more colorful (there are now more than 50 color combinations), and more varied, with different sizes and materials (including Re-Kånken, made from recycled plastic bottles); but the basic shape and effortless simplicity hasn’t changed. That, along with its history, has helped catapult it to global success.

It has now become more than just a backpack. It’s an extension of the wearer’s personality. It’s photographed, graphically recreated in art and used as a styling accessory. So when it was protected by Svensk Form (The Swedish Society of Crafts and Design) as a piece of art, part of Swedish cultural history, we felt it was only natural to run a competition on social media encouraging Kånken wearers to share their Kånken Art.

  • Introducing Kånken Art
  • Introducing Kånken Art
  • Introducing Kånken Art
  • Introducing Kånken Art

We then commissioned Erik and Cecilia to produce Kånken Art prints. One percent of the proceeds from the sale of these special edition Kånkens will go to the Arctic Fox Initiative, a fund that will support projects that protect and preserve flora, fauna and outdoor life.

Cecilia Heikkilä

Cecilia Heikkilä is a graphic designer who, among other things, has written and illustrated children’s books. Nature and animals are synonymous with her work and her “Fable” design is influenced predominantly by Nordic nature.

“To me, the forest and nature are places for unpredictability and coincidence, in both a dangerous and beautiful way. But I believe that the closer we come to nature, the more we want to protect it. This is what inspired my pattern for Kånken Art. When Fjällräven asked me to collaborate, I immediately said yes. The goal of The Arctic Fox Initiative lies so close to my heart and I’ve always loved Fjällräven, so I’m proud and happy to contribute.”

Erik Olovsson

Erik Olovsson is also a designer working within the fields of product, furniture and graphic design. He runs his own studio in Stockholm, aiming to have an intuitive and experimental starting point for his projects.

“Kånken was always around when I was growing up and it’s deeply rooted in my childhood. So it’s been an honor and interesting challenge to work on this project. I have many memories hiking in the mountains with my family 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. My Kånken Art is an abstract way of describing the layers of nature connected to my own memories of the mountains.”

“Kånken has been used as a canvas by many of our fans for years,” 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.”

Kånken Art is now available in stores and online. 

Fjallraven Canada Outdoor LLC


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