Things are changing. The world is changing. A harsh, political landscape has been etched into our beautiful countryside and brought with it a thick smog that is all but impossible not to breathe in. Bi-polar politics rule the airwaves and I can no longer hear the birds chirp or the rain fall over the incessant chanting from the Thunderdome. Must. Get. Beyond. Thunderdome. AGGGHHHH! It’s as though all the beautiful things in the world have been swaddled in a dirty blanket and forced to take a stress nap. But wait, what’s this? A fox? An arctic fox? In Portland?
Amidst the chaos, this wonderful woodland soul cuts through the smog like a hot knife through butter. A welcome addition to balance the polarization.
“Sweden?! Oh man, you’re not a socialist, are you?
“Not going there.”
“Good. You passed the test.”
“Hmmm. You’re a strange man.”
“And you’re a talking fox.”
“Ok, Ok. So what’s your name?”
“It’s Swedish for “Arctic Fox.”
“Ahhh. I see. So what brings you out this way?”
“Buck, asked for my help. I’ll be setting up in your shop.”
“Buck? Buck the Buyer?”
“That’s Swedish for, “indeed.”
“Got it. Starting to come together, Pepper.”
“Right. That’s a sweet jacket you have there. Is it waxed canvas?”
“Verkligen. Our company specializes in outdoor gear and waxed canvas is a cornerstone of our brand.”
“You’re going to enjoy, Portland.”
“It is quite the adventurists’ dream, isn’t it?”
“You’re catching on.”
“Well, it was a pleasure meeting you, Fjallraven. This seems to be the start of a beautiful relationship.”
I thought about my run in with Fjallraven and thought I’d ask Buck a few questions to get a buyer’s perspective.
So, Buck, what made you seek out the Arctic Fox?
[Buck] At US Outdoor we seek out partnerships with companies that have similar goals and outlooks to our own. They care about their customers and products and they convey that through lasting quality and taking care of their customers. They are determined to innovate. Another big reason was listening to our customers. We have had a lot of people in the shop asking about waxed canvas, or any variety of non-laminated waterproofing. A number of customers want good looking technical outerwear and find Fjallraven to hold a simple balance of style and function. Like so many of the companies we carry, Fjallraven is a brand that has stood the tests of time, and their staple products have been unchanged for decades.
All of that makes a great deal of sense. What inspires you about Fjallraven?
[Buck] Fjallraven really holds their roots in the mountains. They focus on making things that are rugged, and leave the light-weight chase to the newbs. It’s an idea based more on spending extended time in the wild, apposed to racing back to reality.
About 7 years ago Fjallraven made the leap to the United States and based itself in NYC. Having not been there myself, Brooklyn is said to have a pretty similar vibe to Portland, which is where Fjallraven is really said to have taken off. Its leather accents, and adorable little fox logo, captured the eyes of the trendiest of markets, and for good reason; it really is attractive. But here at US Outdoor, our staff plans to put Fjallraven back in the mountains. We will educate customers on how to make their outerwear versatile 4-season clothing. For anyone utilizing the expansive natural world we appreciate what Fjallraven has to offer.
The fox is covering ground. What are some key features you’re stoked on?
[Buck] Self induced waterproofing. I was stoked when I got my Keb Jacket. I went to go to Goodwill and got myself an iron to start mapping out my wax pattern. (US Outdoor is getting set-up with its own Waxing Station for visual demonstration). Cotton/Polyester canvas is almost a perfect mix functionality wise. Cotton is breathable, durable, and sustainable (most of Fjall’s is organic certified), whereas polyester helps to tighten the weave which effects durability, UV protection, wind protection and increases moisture management. The strength of the fabric is also a huge plus for anyone using crampons and ice-axes or hiking off trail to hidden waterholes and hunting sites, or just standing around a evening fire. All of that and it looks good! That is a huge plus.
Feeling pretty good about this Arctic Fox. Let’s find him a friend. If you could set Fjall on a blind-brand-date; which brand would you choose?
[Buck] Lets paint a serious picture here: Fjall has just recently gotten himself out of a relationship where he was tied down by a beautiful Swede. Not that it was a bad relationship, in fact they still talk, but now that he is traveling the world his eyes are open wide, cleverly searching and always living. He dates periodically, between baggin’ himself some peaks. Coming down from Mt. Adams he runs into some Poler, gives her a wink and moves on. He’s city bound and knows when he gets back into Portland he has a nice, sensitive, but intelligent Brixon honey out on Vendetta’s patio. She is always sitting under the same tree, reading Ben Marcus, sipping on some Bullet Rye.
“Damn, Buck, I’m going to call you Chuck Woolery from now on.”
[Buck] “Who is that?”
“I hate you.”
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