15 April 2011

Hiking 101 with Fjällräven

I love this video from Fjällräven (super cool Swedish outfitter that is beginning to gain a foothold in the US market; fyi "Fjällräven means arctic fox [see photo of wee little arctic fox pups above] in Swedish. The name honors the resourceful predator that inspires us to design equipment that is functional in all weather conditions.") and have been meaning to share it for awhile. Some of you may have already stumbled upon its two minutes of videographic brilliance, but it's certainly worth another viewing. For those new to Fjällräven and their witty, educational, and sartorially excellent approach to outdoor recreation, you're in for a treat. In a very general sense, Fjällräven does a fine job motivating people (yes, they might be customers, which raises a variety of issues/concerns/topics about economic (in)equality, social mobility, (anti [and/or] hyper)consumerism, etc., but my interests here relate to the educational component) to get outside, be active, and better situate themselves geographically and [perhaps] ideologically.

A great retro aesthetic. An uncomplicated (yet complexly relevant) rhetorical approach. There truly is a school/educational film vibe that is hard to dismiss. The intentional mimicry of the late 1970's/early  1980's educational film works both as an homage to the retro-fashison image that is so popular right now, but also makes the important educational message more subtle. Rather than bonking you over the head with the "Go play outside" mallet, Fjällräven makes hiking seem so simple, so fun, and oh so good for you (and, if you happen to learn a little bit about your surroundings and place in the wider socio-cultur-environmental world along the way, all the better). Really a wonderful model for environmental education (or at least the early stages thereof; clearly there are deeper ideological assumptions to address, but this video does a fine job of turning potential into kinetic energy). Spending time out of doors really is this simple! Even when mired in the hustle and bustle of NYC. If New Yorkers can find a bit of space for wandering and exploration via public transit, it seems achievable for the rest us as well.

And they have a great blog to boot! Although, would you expect anything less from the Purveyors to the Swedish Crown?