As the demand for high-end, technical outdoor clothing increases and what was traditionally deemed as ‘outdoor’ begins to blend into the mainstream there is a raft of new brands popping up across the globe. The new contenders however lack the history and experience of one of the most prestigious and respected Norwegian brands around; Norrøna. Since 1929 Norrøna have been working diligently to innovate and reimagine how our outdoor kit can perform – and it is this wealth of experience which makes the brand a global leader in technical outerwear.
Norrøna's original 1929 Logo
The History of Norrøna
Like many of the leading outdoor brands Norrøna was born in the landscape where it is most relevant. The brands history stretches all the way back to 1929 and to the heart of Norway’s harsh and rugged wilderness. It is in this setting that Jørgen Jørgansen began his search for durable and well designed outdoor equipment that will withstand the demands of the Norwegian wilds.
Beginning with simple innovations such as leather straps, canvas backpacks and cotton clothing Jørgansen set the path for Norrøna to become a world leader in performance products. This ethos to create products that advance the boundaries of product function while still equipping customers with the highest grade, weather-protective gear for every expedition.
While it wasn’t until 2002 the term “Loaded Minimalism” was coined this ethos is evident all the way back to Jørgen Jørgansen’s early days. Despite a team of designers and manufacturers working to redefine the meaning of fit, fabric, function and finish the products are loaded with features while remaining as visually clean as possible.
91 years on from the first inkling of what Norrøna would become they have remained a family run operation – now in their fourth generation of Jørgansen’s and still loyal to the cause of advancing what outdoor clothing can fully achieve. Over the brands near hundred year history they have had numerous firsts including Europe’s first Gore-Tex Jacket, Outfitting Norway’s first Everest Summit and the first solo South Pole expedition.
Along with pushing the boundaries of what is achievable with outdoor clothing the brand are also at the forefront of the sustainable revolution, changing the way we look at the outdoor kit we purchase and its effects on the wider environment.
Sustainability as a Foundation
In a world where greenwashing has become the norm Norrøna and their approach to sustainability is a refreshing change. With an aim to become a 100% responsible company the brand are entirely transparent in both their successes and their failures and their environmental qualifications can easily rival any brand on the planet.
Sustainability is such a core focus for Norrøna that in 2015 it was added as the 4th building block of the company (alongside design, quality, and function). It was in this year that the 1% for nature initiative was introduced where the brand donated 1% of all sales to causes and organisations working to promote sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives.
Along with their pro-active approach to giving back the brand integrate sustainability into all of their production. The certifications and accreditations provided to the brands products are like a roll call of environmental credibility. You can follow these links to see all of the organisations Norrøna are currently involved with in their attempt to make a more sustainable brand; Oeko-Tex, Bluesign, Fashion for Good, ETI, Outdoor Industry Association, Textile Exchange, SOG, RDS and RWS.
While Norrøna’s drive to sustainability is an ongoing operation they have come on leaps and bounds since first making it one of their benchmarks back in 2015. Since they first introduced recycled fabrics into the collection they now make up almost 100% of the brands fibres used – Norrøna don’t only use recycled polyester and nylon but also regenerated wool to help close the loop.
While we could wax lyrical about the sustainability credentials held by Norrøna there is nobody better than themselves to show you the progress they have made. You can follow this link to watch a six-part mini series exploring the brands environmental mission.
Norrøna Spring Summer 2021 Highlights
While it’s fair to say that the whole Norrøna Spring Summer collection is full of winners there are a couple of products which really stand out. We’ve picked out just a few of our favourites below and you can shop the full collection online now.
The Fjøra Equaliser Long Sleeved is the perfect top for high intensity activities this season. Originally designed for mountain bikers the style blends a great fit with some of the best innovations in fabric technology. The T-Shirt is constructed from Norrøna’s Equaliser material which is constructed from an Oeko-Tex approved polyester which includes more than 50% recycled fibres. The interior of the Equaliser Long Sleeved has a waffle construction which helps trap air and provide a high warmth to weight value while wicking sweat away from the body.
While Norrøna are masters of the technical, sometimes it is the classic fabrics which prevail and the Svalbard Cotton Jacket is the perfect example of this. Much like the G-1000 styles from Fjallraven the Svalbard Jacket is constructed from a hard wearing Organic Canvas which has been treated with a PFC free DWR to provide some water resistance. In bold colourways this is a jacket which will look just as good in the city as on the trails and will offer great wind protection and breathability.
One of Norrøna’s most popular womens styles has been recreated with slightly slimmer fit as part of the new season and these are a serious winner. The Falketind Flex1 Slim Pants are a versatile softshell trouser which has been developed with the outdoors in mind. Falling somewhere between an outdoor trouser and a pair of running tights the double weaved flex1 fabric is soft and stretchable while still providing wind resistance and water repellancy. Team this with the trousers excellent level of breathability and you have a contender for outdoor trousers of the year.
The unique Flex1 fabric showcases some of the best in Norrøna’s sustainable innovations with the fabric being Oeko-Tex approved, Bluesign certified and constructed with more than 50% recycled fabrics. Add to this the DWR used to provide water resistance is entirely DWR free and the Falketind slim pants are constructed in an inspected factory and you have a pair of trousers which are good for both you and the planet.
We’re spoiled for choice this season when it comes to great rucksacks. Along with the brilliant selection we have on offer from Fjallraven and Klattermusen we’ve now taken in the incredible Bitihorn 20L Rucksack from Norrøna.
The Bitihorn 20L is the brands lightest 20L daytrip pack and has been designed with the weight conscious adventurer in mind. Not just a good looking pack the Bitihorn Rucksack is packed full of functional detailing such as side compression straps, single ice axe attachment, a reflective flashlight loop and a large front mesh pocket.
As always the Bitihorn 20L pack is a sustainable design from Norrøna thanks to its Econyl Yarn construction. Econyl is a 100% regenerated nylon yarn which has derived from pre and post consumer waste such as discarded fishing nets. Since 2019 Norrøna have constructed all of their Rucksacks using Econyl technology.