SCANDINAVIA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET - BY ALI GEORGE HINKINS
Designed to function anytime or place, with or without rain.
Picture the scene: you find yourself on the West Coast of Norway surrounded by mountainous peaks, glaciers and deep coastal fjords on one side then, on the other, lay urban sectors like Bergen and Ålesund. When such contrasts between natural beauty and man-made civilisations occur, it calls for utilitarian apparel that meets the demands of these two polar opposites.
This is where BLÆST comes into sight: the Scandinavian label deeply inspired by the unique topography and natural beauty that lies at its front door. It has long been known that Scandinavia, geographically speaking, a subregion in Northern Europe that comprises Norway, Denmark and Sweden, breeds a distinct way of living; the people inhibiting these nations are representative of the lifestyle. This is a region synonymous with a minimalist way of living, astounding natural beauty and a more liberal perspective, all of which feeds the narrative of the brands coming out of this geographic area. In this instance, this all feeds into BLAEST’s design language and overriding narrative.
Founded in Ålesund, circa 2005, BLÆST has been forging a path of its own for the last sixteen years in an area where the terrain and climate are as rugged as it comes, with steep overhanging mountains and deep fjords forming a part of the natural landscape. Inhabitants of the region are accustomed to the ever changing harsh climate and it’s these exact conditions that inform the design process of BLÆST products. While the rest of the world seeks refuge against adverse weather, BLÆST engineers its garments through a Scandinavian-tinted-lens - embracing the harsh climate in the process.
‘Extreme weather rated products made for the complexities of city living.’
Understanding the landscape, in a geographical sense, you begin to understand how Scandinavia alone has bred some of the most trusted and hardiest outdoor-focused brands. The team at BLÆST builds upon the pre existing foundations laid by the likes of Haglöfs, Fjӓllrӓven and Klättermusen whose roots are deeply entrenched within an environment where functional, utilitarian garb is a necessity.
Immersed in and inspired by such natural beauty, it only makes sense that BLÆST’s mission statement is one that seeks to protect the environment of which their gear is designed to operate in. While their street-to-trail styles seek to prepare the wearer for the complexities of day-to-day living, they never compromise the brands overriding conscientious and sustainable approach to design. The brand aims to and has perpetually done so, reduce its carbon footprint through the sourcing of recycled materials, promoting circularity and a commitment to well-built gear.
With sustainability fresh in your mind, it’s important, especially in today’s age, to recognise BLÆST’s wider endeavours across the board to become more mindful throughout the supply chain. This is achieved in a number of ways but one that is overall representative of the brand is their commitment to delivering a long-lasting and durable garment; it is far better to have a jacket last you a lifetime than last you one year. Unlike other pieces of outerwear available on the market, the muted colour palette accompanying each piece is timeless, providing a core look year after year that doesn’t age or give way to transient trends.
Alongside BLÆST’s pledge to durability, they actively source recycled materials in the construction of their garments through scouring the market for high-quality recycled fibers, as well as working with their suppliers to increase the recycled content in their pieces without compromising on either form or function. This is exemplary in their SS22 RR200 (Ripstop) material that is GRS certified - Global Recycled Standard. Sustainable measures don’t end there: BLÆST uses a PFC-free coating on the outer of their garments which ensures water repellency without sacrificing environmental integrity. Many of the components that go into each product have been expertly ratified by Oeko Tex who test for harmful substances. With many products bearing this certification, it gives consumers a high degree of confidence in the garment they select.
One of the styles that BLÆST has become known for is their Signalen Anorak, a modern and Scandinavian take on an outdoors classic brought up to a sustainable spec. It has been constructed using a 3L Dry-Tech Pro that prepares the wearer for most conditions, especially those in Norway, and the interior features taped seams! There is a large zipper running up the side which allows for easier access, as well as two spacious ‘Kangaroo-style’ pockets on the front. Technical details don’t end there with the addition of a protective collar, adjustable hood and cuffs, and an elasticated hem for a more locked-in fit that keeps the elements out.
As the worlds of outdoor wear and fashion collide, BLÆST is uniquely positioned within the market to supply the changing needs of these modern consumers who demand features like technical prowess and clean-cut silhouettes.
Now, go out there and be comfortable in your new skin.
Words by Ali George Hinkins