Important Years and happenings
After many wet and cold years at sea, Norwegian captain Helly Juell Hansen starts producing oilskin apparel using linseed oil, in Moss, Norway. His waterproof gear is an immediate success, and Helly Juell wins a diploma for excellence at the World Expo in Paris the year after, and begins exporting the products.
The transition from oil garments to plastic started. The very successful Helox garments made from PVC was launched, giving Helly Hansen a head start on the competition due to extensive material research abroad. The Norwegian delegation all wore Helox during the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.
Helly Hansen partners with Norwegian Fiber Pile Inc. and develops the original Fiberpile – the first fleece. The success still lives on and the developed and improved ProPile is still in production today.
With the development of the wonder-fibre LIFA®, the first technical baselayers were launched. Its unsurpassed ability to move moisture away from the body revolutionized everyday life for outdoor workmen. The latest generation LIFA® technology is still used in our baselayers today.
The new waterproof and breathable fabric Helly Tech® is launched and HH receives “The Quality Award”. Helly Tech® set a new standard for waterproof, breathable fabric and also provided the final layer for the 1986 introduction of the Helly Hansen 3-Layer System™.
The Prowool (today named HH®Warm™) baselayer for cold weather was launched, combining Lifa® Stay-Dry Technology™ with Merino wool for both moisture transport and added warmth. Designed for the coldest conditions, it catered the need for a greater range of baselayers for activites with varying intensity levels.
To offer complete element protection, footwear was added to the product line. Today, HH footwear’s broad range of shoes and boots for outdoor and marine conditions are used by top athletes in multiple sports, with the Ericsson Racing Team’s participation in the Volvo Ocean Race as the most recent.
Launched summer 2008, the Odin gear is the materialization of our 3-Layer SystemTM. Made for serious mountaineers and athletes, it’s a complete, technically evolved checklist for all high-altitude environments and conditions. The Odin collection won the Red Dot Design Award the same year.
Helly Hansen Heritage
The story of Helly Hansen started in 1877. After many years at sea, norwegian captain Helly Juell Hansen and his wife Maren Margarethe began producing oilskin jackets, trousers, sou'westers and tarpaulins, made from coarse linen soaked in linseed oil.
They certainly struck a nerve in the market, because over the first five years they sold approximately 10,000 pieces. In 1878 the company won a diploma for excellence at the Paris Expo, and began exporting its products.
In the 20th century, Helly Hansen made several breakthroughs in product development to complete the layering principle today known as the 3-Layer System™. In 1949 the Helox, a thin sheet of translucent PVC plastic sewn into waterproof coats, took over for the oilbased outerwear and became the must-have protection for outdoor use. With a production of 30,000 coats each month the success was almost immediate.
The original fleece, the fiberpile, was developed in 1961 and has been perfected for almost 50 years since. This new insulation layer was warm, lightweight and fast-drying, ideal for wearing under the protective layer. It was soon embraced by workers because it offered extraordinary insulation against the cold, and ventilated well during hard, physical work. It even protected against snow and light rain, staying extremely durable and warm after many washes.
The layering story was completed in the 1970s, with the development of LIFA. This wonder-fiber, used in LIFA, kept the skin dry and warm by pushing moisture away from the body, making it the ideal baselayer fabric for outdoor and workwear use. The latest generation of LIFA is still used in our baselayers today.
In 1980, the Helly Tech technology was launched, using both hydrophilic and microporous technology, which meant the apparel was both waterproof and breathable. This meant that anyone who participated in high-activity outdoor sports could expect their clothing to work with them, not against them. The evolution of breathable, waterproof jackets had a profound effect on the outdoor industry. Helly Hansen now produced technical outerwear garments.
The heritage from Helly Juell Hansen is still our cornerstone. Today our gear is used by world-class sailors, skiers and adventurers who spend their time between human will and nature’s forces, and demand full protection and performance when the conditions are at their worst.