130 years of success – reason enough to look a little more closely at the story behind the Norwegian company Helly Hansen.
From the oilskin jacket to high-tech work wear
The Norwegian company Helly Hansen began its history back in 1877. At the time, Captain Helly Juell Hansen had developed a methodology that revolutionised work clothing: he impregnated sailors’ canvas trousers and jackets with linseed oil. An idea as simple as it was ingenious: from then on sailors enjoyed effective protection from the cold and wet. Something they’d never had in this form before. Helly Juell Hansen manufactured the first garments together with his wife. But soon demand for weather-resistant work wear was so great that a factory had to be built in the Norwegian town of Moss.
Work wear made to measure
Helly Hansen work wear has long been worn by people other than sailors: the company’s protective work wear is used on oil platforms and research stations, in processing, fire protection and the construction sector – to name just a few. Every branch of industry places its own demands on its work wear. Helly Hansen meets these with made to measure solutions using production processes tested against stringent guidelines. Which means today’s range of work wear extends from individually tailored, functional clothing to highly specialised safety and buoyancy suits.
Quality plus innovation
Central elements of the company’s philosophy are high standards of quality, an open mind to innovation and the knowledge that things can always be just that bit better. This is how new materials and innovations such as PVC in the 50s, synthetic fur in the 60s and Helly Tech in the 80s came to be used to optimise the functionality of work wear while at the same time opening up new application areas.
Helly Hansen today
130 years on, Helly Hansen is the world’s oldest technical outdoor brand and no longer just an outfitter to captains and sailors in the tiny town of Moss. With production facilities in Norway and Great Britain, warehouses in the Netherlands, the USA and Canada, and sales outlets virtually everywhere in the world, Helly Hansen has now become the sector’s renowned manufacturer with a unique tradition. Helly
Hansen is active in three sectors: Sport and leisure, protective work wear and survival wear. Three sectors that are also treated independently: Helly Hansen Sport, and the industrial arm Helly Hansen Pro for work wear und survival.
In March of this year, the protective work wear branch of Helly Hansen Deutschland GmbH became an independent company: Helly Hansen Pro GmbH. As a separate firm and 100% subsidiary of Helly Hansen Spesial Produkter AS, Norway, the business will take on the protective work wear and survival wear branches, while Helly Hansen Sport will continue to dedicate itself to Sport and Leisure Products.
The Helly Hansen group has an annual turnover of approx. € 250 mil. of which Helly Hansen Pro contributes on average 35%.
Helly Hansen Pro is also involved in the work wear sector and it’s here, really, where Helly Juell Hansen’s original and innovative idea lives on and is continually advanced. And it’s been a long time since the result was limited to people working the high seas.
The protective work wear is used on oil platforms and research stations, in processing, fire protection and the construction sector – to name just a few. Every branch of industry places its own demands on its work wear. Helly Hansen meets these with made to measure solutions using production processes tested against stringent guidelines. Which means today’s range of work wear extends from individually tailored, functional clothing to highly specialised safety and buoyancy suits.
So this year’s A+A comes just at the right time with so many reasons to celebrate. As well as the new company being formed, and a 130 year anniversary, Helly Hansen Pro is now preparing its biggest collection in the company’s 130 year history. Safety, functionality, and a user-focused design were the maxims behind the creation of a collection that originated from close collaboration with end-users and above all, intensive laboratory research. Striving and dedication that for 130 years have served one clear goal: safety in the workplace!