The morning is a bright one, crisp and fresh. The clunk of the car door signals the start of the weekend, another adventure and freedom. ZO•ON’s founders Jon, Martti and Halldór walk into the scenic valley of Reykjadalur, South-west of Iceland. It’s a place they’ve been many times before. The geothermal river snakes its way through the electric green valley, and hot steam rises up towards mottled brown and red hills. Freedom begins….
This is Iceland – awe-inspiring beauty and a fickle, capricious climate. Freezing Arctic winds meet the warm Gulf Stream and cause extreme fluctuations in day to day conditions. It’s this climate that has inspired ZO•ON’s founders to design outdoor apparel engineered to get out there, whatever the weather.
On an especially rainy, foggy hike in the same valley back in 1994, Jon Erlendsson and Martti Kellokumpu committed themselves to creating ZO•ON. Two avid adventurers, with a passion for hiking, fishing, golf and skiing, they would jump at every opportunity to get out into Icelandic nature. ZO•ON was their answer to the extreme climate that would throw everything it had at them – dazzling sunshine, pounding hale, Arctic gale-force winds and what the Icelanders call ‘horizontal rain’. There was simply no outdoor clothing capable of dealing with it all. At the same time Reykjadalur is just a 30-minute drive from the city of Reykjavik. This inspired ZO•ON’s urban outdoor clothing, with functionality at heart, and style that works in the city. With Martti –a World Cup champion skier– as head of ZO•ON’s design and Jon responsible for sourcing and production the ZO•ON adventure began.
Today the adventure is global, and the next generation have joined the ranks of this unique urban outdoor movement. Halldór Örn Jónsson, the son of Jon Erlendsson is naturally a keen outdoor enthusiast himself, regularly packing his rucksack for trips into the mountains and weekly dips in the geothermal hot springs. He has been at the helm of the ZO•ON brand since 2013 and oversees the intense process of designing ZO•ON’s collections. Designs are rigorously tested in controlled environments but must pass the ultimate test of keeping the ZO•ON team warm, comfortable and dry when they all get out there.