"In short, learn to speak the language of sustainability. Inspire those around you to take action. Use your creative skills to do good. Implement integrity and responsibility into the heart of the process and implement a growth mindset to you and your company’s sustainability journey." Elísabet Elfa
The Establishment of Sustainable Design: Interview with Patagonia's Elísabet Elfa Arnasdottir - Part One
"The best things any owner of clothing can do to lessen its impact on the climate and earth’s resources is to keep it for a long time, maintain it and repair it when needed." Elísabet Elfa
Meet the designer behind the Swedish company's wildly popular trekking tights.
This article was originally published in Day 3 of The Daily (summer 2018).
Elísabet Elfa Arnarsdóttir grew up in Iceland. Playing outside and exploring the country’s vast wilderness was part of everyday life – and so was wearing functional outdoor clothing that had zero style. So Arnarsdottir made her own. Now, she’s making clothes for the world. As a product designer in Sweden for Fjällräven, she creates the wildly popular Abisko Trkeking Tights.The tights were inspired by the frustration many women have always had with leggings: They’re too comfortable to ditch, but too flimsy to last.
Trekking Tights through the paces, Elfa and co-workers rode the overnight train from Stockholm to Låktatjåkka and then set off. “Over the next four days we hiked in the mountains and valleys back to Abisko tourist station,” says Elísabet. “There was still snow in the valleys and we took the rain covers off our packs and used them as sleds. All of us turned into children. We sledded down and pitched out tents in the valley and then ran up to the mountaintops. At one point, taking it all in on a ridgetop, this huge herd of reindeer came beneath my feet. I can’t describe it, it’s was just magical.”
Elísabet Elfa lives the life she designs for. As a designer for the outdoor gear company Fjällräven, she gets to solve the problems that come up when she’s out traversing the globe and trekking/ climbing/ hiking/ skiing/ being a badass. Tired of bulky trekking pants? Make tights. Pants snag on a sharp rock while sliding down a rock face? Make ones that won’t. If you’ve got shorts that don’t shred when you’re sliding down a rock face at Joshua Tree, you’ve got someone like Elísabet to thank for keeping you modest. We’re also pretty sure we can finally say Fjällräven correctly now. So, we’ve got Elísabet to thank for that, too.
I think connecting with nature, and not just Wi-Fi, is important. We need to ensure that our future generations have an understanding and respect for nature and the planet and I believe the best way to do so is teaching all children the basics of outdoor life. And our brand mission is to help and inspire more people to get out in nature, that’s why we have events like Fjällräven Classic, which we’re expanding to the US and Hong Kong next year.
“We’re experts when it comes to trekking trousers and it could be said that what we have created here is a tighter form of trekking trousers,” says Elísabet Elfa Arnarsdóttir, the designer behind our latest addition to our trouser collection.
The idea with Abisko Trekking Tights is to combine the freedom and flexibility of tights with the tough durability of trekking trousers. And we think we’ve done it.
The island, without it’s summer leaves, looks desolate. It’s also remarkably quiet. The birds have recently flown south for the winter. The only sound is our chatter over the swish-swosh of waves breaking on the rocky shoreline.
For some, this kind of isolation would be disturbing. But for Elisabet this is comforting. She feels most comfortable when surrounded by nature. She feels connected to it. As if it’s part of her. This could be because she’s from Iceland. A country that almost feels alive what with its active volcanoes, vast slow-moving glaciers, thundering waterfalls and wind-battered coastline.
Elísabet Elfa has always loved being outdoors. It’s where she gets her energy from; it’s where she feels most free. When she was just a child she’d head off into the outdoors in big hand-me-down jackets and trousers and explore. But most outdoor clothes back then were really boxy and bulky. Not at all feminine. So Elísabet Elfa took matters into her own hands.
“I need to know how a product sits and whether all the details are necessary, or whether there’s anything missing. And the best way to find out is in a real world environment,” says Product Designer Elisabet Elfa.
Nar jag var barn och i tonaren holl jag pa med massor av friluftsaktiviteter. Pa den tiden fanns knappt nagra tjejmodeller. Kladerna var boxiga och raka. Jag ville kanna mig och se ut som en tjej, sa jag sydde om mina klader. Midjan, armarna, torson - jag ville bade att kladerna skulle bli battre att rora sig i och se mer feminina ut.
Efter utbildningen i sustainable fashion design i Kopenhamn borjade Elisabet Elfa Arnasdottir arbeta pa Fjallraven. Och dar har hon kunnat forverkliga ideerna fran ungdomen.
Outdoorsy women are nothing new!
Fashion designer Elisabet Elfa Arnarsdottir had a similar experience when she grew up in Reykjavík. Today, she works in Fjällräven’s design team, which has produced several notable models targeted at women.
THE HEKLA SAGA
"Elísabet Elfa Arnarsdóttir will also be with us as a guide she speaks fluent Danish and wantsto become a clothing designer."
"Elísabet recently participated in the final exhibition of clothing- and textile design and visual arts, the exhibition was at Marel where she exhibited clothing inspired by architecture of Orkuhúsið in Reykjavík."