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.