Stylish Swedish outdoor brand, Fjällräven, opens its third BC retail store in Victoria, a place where outdoor enthusiasts can connect with like-minded adventurers.
Rain poured down as we boarded the DHC-6 DeHavilland Twin Otter float plane for the hour-long hop from downtown Vancouver to downtown Victoria. With most on-board ignoring the no cell phones sign to share digital take-off tidbits with friends and followers, we feasted our eyes on mossy-green turtle shell islands and scanned the open water for orca pods.
Once landed in Victoria harbour, the 100-step shlep to the timeless and downright gorgeous Fairmont Empress hotel was followed by a quick room refresh and pre-party huddle at the Q-bar. Our taste buds were pleasingly stunned by a couple gin cocktails made with 1908 Empress Gin from Victoria Distillers. The gin is distilled with butterfly pea flowers, which gives it a deep purple hue that changes colour once mixed with anything acidic.
We would love to say we walked the couple blocks to the Fjällräven Victoria Opening Party, but that would be fake news. Instead, we talked the doorman into giving us a 30-second Government Street guided tour in Fairmont’s swanky BMW 7 series. Don’t judge, you’d do the same. Plus, the sky was hucking water bombs.
Once inside we immediately took stock of the colourful wall of Kanken bags, warm glossy wood floors and carefully curated earth toned apparel.
Eye catching red Fjällräven logos were splashed about, setting off the surrounding earthiness. The pride and excitement on the tips of tongues was palpable. After an easy self-guided tour of the custom tailoring and hand waxing stations followed by several effortless conversations with the heads behind the brand, we were excited too.
We sampled some of the tasty local craft beer and gin beverages that were being passed around and fell in love with the Ovik recycled wool shirt. We tried it on and are not embarrassed to say we looked like proper Swedish resistance fighters dressed to fit in at a Yukon River expedition planning party. You can wax the G-1000 fabric on the elbows and shoulders in case you happen to lean back on a lichen arm rest while nestled deep in the Cathedral Grove forest.
Thoroughly invested in the hands-on community oriented vibe and the ethically sourced development program, we saw the Mayor of Victoria chop a ribbon with an axe and felt a sense of hope for the retail world. It is possible to manufacture and very successfully sell high quality, socially connected clothing to humans without tossing all your free-range eggs in one online store basket.
Vancouver peeps, go check out the Fjällräven shops here and when you hop over to BC’s capital, stop in and load up before your next expedition.
Photo by Molly Jane Photo