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Unravelling the history of Napapijri

A combination of enigmatic origin and a name that’s difficult to master have given the Napapijri brand an air of mystery. That suits us perfectly, as we’re all about exploration and pushing boundaries. Ours is a story of fused cultures, inspired design and an unceasing drive for a better future. But to know how we got here, it’s good to know where we came from. Here’s our journey so far.

Close up of Napapijri logo

How do you pronounce Napapijri?

Napapijri is pronounced “na-pa-peeh-ree” – the “J” is silent. The original Finnish word on which the brand is based is spelt “Napapiiri”, which shows the pronunciation more accurately – the third syllable -pii- is slightly longer, often with a breathed “H” sound at the end (as in “mojito”).

Most English-speaking people automatically sound the “J” when saying “Napapijri”. We love that the name itself is said differently around the world – it’s the essence of our culture and ethos. But if you’re the type of person who wants to be absolutely precise, remember, it’s na-pa-peeh-ree.

What does Napapijri mean?

In Finnish, the word “napapiiri” means “Arctic Circle”. “Napa” means “polar” and “piiri” means circuit or circle. The brand name of “Napapijri” is based on that word, as the clothing is associated with cold climates and adventure. 

Despite the change of spelling, “Napapijri” retains the pronunciation of “napapiiri” as explained above. 

Why does Napapijri have a Norwegian flag?

Napapijri is an Italian brand with a Finnish name, so the Norwegian flag can seem like a mystery. But the flag is a nod to the great Norwegian pioneers from the golden age of exploration: people like Roald Amundsen, the leader of the team that conquered the South Pole.

The nation of Norway has had a long history of exploration, which you can date back to the Vikings, who are known to have visited Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, France, southern Spain, Turkey, and North Africa around a thousand years ago. There’s even evidence that they reached what we now call Newfoundland, in Canada.

Norwegians’ ability to cope with cold climates made them natural polar explorers. Fridtjof Nansen crossed Greenland in 1888, and in the mid-1890s reached 86° 14′ North – that’s just 400 km from the North Pole. Roald Amundsen led the first team to reach the South Pole in December 1911. 

This spirit of adventure inspires not only our name but also our clothing; the parka coat was invented by Caribou Inuits, and the Rainforest jacket points to the vast areas of the world that remain unexplored – in addition to our commitment to protecting the environment.

What country is Napapijri from?

Napapijri was founded and is headquartered in Italy, but we have a global manufacturing and distribution operation. Our name is sort-of-Finnish, it features a Norwegian flag and the brand was inspired by the climate and lifestyle of Mont Blanc, on the French–Italian border making us a truly global brand. 

When it was first founded in 1987 by pioneering entrepreneur Guiliana Rosset, Napapijri only made bags, and its original bag design, the Bering duffle bag (named after another explorer, the Dane Vitus Bering), is still among our most popular products today. It was not until 1990 that we started designing and manufacturing clothing – including the Skidoo in 1990, and the Rainforest in 1995, plus footwear and children’s clothing. We opened our first store in 1997 at Chamonix, France, right at the foot of the feature that first inspired us, Mont Blanc.

Past, present and future, all in one brand

Napapijri is inspired by the past, the present and the future. The past is represented by our respect for the great names of the age of exploration. The present is displayed by our ever-evolving collections and the use of technology to make them continually better. And we’re doing our bit for the future pioneering the future of circular fashion by combining design, sustainability and innovation in our products, particularly the Circular Series.

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