The 1970s isn’t a decade renowned for its forward-thinking design; Rollerblades, Spirograph and post-it notes might have all provided hours of fun, but nonetheless they have not entered the history books as some of our most functional creations. Until that point, backpacks too were not best known for their user-friendly design, and towards the end of the 1970s, many Swedish children were reported to be suffering from back pain and injuries as a result of the cumbersome design of contemporary shoulder bags. In response, Fjällräven’s Åke Nordin decided to create a new bag with a typically Scandi minimalist design that was simultaneously lightweight, robust and big enough to house all your school essentials. And with that Fjällräven’s best-selling backpack was born; the Kånken was officially launched in collaboration with the Swedish Guide and Scout Association in 1978. Almost 40 years later, the Kånken backpack has become one of Fjällräven’s—even one of Sweden’s—most iconic exports, shared with the world in its full rainbow of different colours.
A lot has changed since the Kånken was first designed. In order to keep up with contemporary agendas, two years ago the design team at Fjällräven set itself a bold new challenge: to come up with a new Kånken backpack that retains all the timeless features of its design while leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the planet. The result, aptly named Re-Kånken, achieves just that, with a manufacturing process requiring a reduced amount of water, energy and chemicals and thus with a radically reduced carbon footprint. The new process crafts the Re-Kånken from a single yarn made from eleven recycled plastic bottles. A brand new, state-of-the-art dyeing technique called SpinDye also radically reduces the amount of water and chemicals used in the dyeing process. The result is a backpack that retains the same robust, durable construction and the signature square design of the original Kånken while also being the most sustainable bag Fjällräven has ever made. The Re-Kånken is built to carry life’s essentials far into the future, at which point it can simply recycled and reincarnated as your new favourite Kånken.