How Helly Hansen’s technology innovation disrupts the market

Founded in 1877, Helly Hansen has developed a long list of first-to-market innovations, including the first supple waterproof fabrics more than 140 years ago. Other past breakthroughs include the first fleece fabrics in the 1960s, the first technical base layers Lifa Stay Dry Technology in the 1970s, and the award-winning and patented H2Flow temperature regulating system. Most recently is the launch of their most innovative and sustainable waterproof and breathable technology to date, Lifa Infinity Pro. Category Managing Director Philip Tavell, who joined Helly Hansen from Red Bull and then Craft Sportswear after an 11-year long professional athletic career, explains how it’s challenging the industry norm.

— I’d say that it [the technology] pushes the envelope in apparel design, he says. Through advanced textile engineering and development, we wanted to disrupt the industry to find a way to completely remove all added chemicals without losing the performance of the products, as the whole textile industry has a challenge with added DWR treatments to create water repellency. We are currently using the technology in 2 garments and will expand it into more products this year.

How did it come to life?

— We realized that our proprietary LIFA technology — a lightweight and hydrophobic fiber where the fully waterproof and breathable membrane, as well as durable water repellent performance, are achieved without the use of chemicals — that is currently used in baselayers and insulation had some great properties that we explored to use in other types of products. Combining the solvent free Lifa Infinity membrane with 100% Lifa hydrophobic solution dyed face fabric — which saves roughly 85% in water consumption — Lifa Infinity Pro is a ground-breaking technology, with extreme waterproofness and breathability. With everlasting water repellent protection that never needs to be reproofed with chemical treatment after use, it delivers long-lasting, responsible, and superior professional-grade performance. We are the only brand globally using this technology and being able to create a performance garments without any added chemical treatments, says Tavell.

What was the hardest challenge?

— Our textile engineers have pulled the heaviest weight in this development. Being the first brand to use it, all advanced developments have been a first for everyone. There has been a couple of years of trial and error to get the right structure of the face fabric and working very close to the production engineers to fine tune production methods.

Do you have any other special technology coming in 2021?

— We are continuing our work to do more responsible choices and create garments ready to be recycled at end of life. Currently, we are promoting a concept called Mono Material where all garments are made out of 1 fiber to be easily recycled into new yarns and garments. For 2021, we are including ski apparel into this concept to expand our effort in this area.


The five best jackets for fall, according to our editor of sustainability

On a short-term basis, we need to dress appropriately for the challenging Scandinavian autumn. On a long-term basis, we need to do it sustainably for the sake of our planet. Thankfully, one approach does not exclude the other and fashion brands are slowly and steadily starting to find new and more innovative ways in how they produce their garments.

— The future of innovation is sustainable innovation, and what the world really needs is that brands support a systematic change and take a lead in transforming our approach to ethical and sustainable manufacturing. These five brands all have their own ways in tackling the issue and find ways in how they as brands can find ways to collaborate for change rather than compete for growth, says Fredrik Ekström, Fredrik Ekström, our editor-at-large for sustainability and branding.

Acne Studios repurposed trucker jacket

Acne Studios’ released a fully repurposed capsule collection as a part of this years autumn/winter drop. Part of the collection is this fully repurposed women’s jacket, with cuts and contrasts of tweed, denim and leather. The sleeves are detachable with marked zippers, and the shirt is cut from two contrasting cloths.

66˚North Dyngja jacket

Icelandic outdoors brand 66˚North has tackled the gruesome conditions of Iceland for close to 100 years now, so it’s safe to say that their products can handle cold autumn days pretty much anywhere. The unisex Dyngja jacket is a water-resistant down jacket that was originally designed ten years ago, but the up-to-date version is made out of recycled polyester from discarded PET bottles. We prefer non-biodegradable materials in our clothes rather than landfills and oceans.

Timberland Climate Pack jacket

We know that Timberland has set high standards for their environmental responsibility, and the new reflective, water-resistant Climate Pack jacket proves just that. It is insulated with 100% recycled insulation, and the polyester shell is patched together in materials made from reused PET bottles. The jacket also comes with matching boots and a duffel bag.

NN07 Columbo jacket

The Columbo jacket resembles a coach jacket, but still has the feel and look of an overshirt. Furthermore, it’s padded to give you an extra layer of warmth when the temperature drops. The padding is also made out of PrimaLoft Eco-Padding, that consist of 60% post-consumer recycled materials.

Helly Hansen Mono Insulator jacket

Norwegian outdoor pioneer Helly Hansen has been around for almost 150 years and was among the first to adopt plastic in clothing production in the early 1900s, revolutionizing water-proof clothing. The sporty and unisex Mono Insulator jacket’s shell is made from 100% polyester and is insulated with 100% recyclable down-feel PFC-free polyester.