Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven has come up with a material innovation for its Kånken backpack: the so-called Tree-Kånken is a tribute to Kånken’s first design from 1978 and is made from a patinaed fabric developed as a potential alternative to fossil-based materials: Pine Weave.
Pine Weave is a wood-based fabric developed by Fjällräven produced out of filament fibers and is said to be optimized for extra strength and functionality.
“In very short, wood chips are boiled down to a cellulose mass. The mass then goes into the lyocell process, which is a sort of solvent-spinning technique. The dissolved cellulose pulp is pushed through spinnerets. It is finally washed, dried up and spun into yarns. The yarn is then woven into a plain weave and coated with a mixture of pu and wax to prolong the lifetime of the fabric and make it more durable than existing lyocell fabrics out on the market,’ explains Fjällräven’s product developer Johanna Mollberg.
The wood raw material sourced by Fjällräven comes from a cultivated and certified forest outside Fjällräven’s hometown of Örnsköldsvik in northern Sweden–and never from virgin forests, as the company states. According to Fjällräven, the available industrial process that turns wood into cellulose today is not able to keep certified, traceable wood separate from other sources of wood. So the pulp used in Pine Weave is mixed up with the total amount of wood going into the pulp-making process. This is referred to as a 'mass-balance' approach.
According to Mollberg, finding ways to use materials that do not use finite fossil-based resources is a vital task: “We always strive to improve, but we need to avoid a scenario where improvements in one area creates challenges in others, such as biobased materials vs. biodiversity.”