Unlike many of the other Scandinavian rainwear brands that got famous with relatively heavy-duty yellow rainwear, Rukka is a comparatively new company and the focus has never been on workwear for the fishing industry. In 1950, Roger Storling founded his family business and started producing a range of running clothes. In 1953 a welding machine was purchased making it possible to weld PVC and the first Rukka rainwear was being produced, as well as other PVC products like flooring mats and swimming pools. In this time the first yellow PVC Rukka raincoats were produced, although it wasn’t until 1966 till the company actually changed its name to “Rukka”. The vintage image below shows clear links to commercial fishing, especially with the Southwester hat, but as far as I can see the brand never targeted this audience. They always focused on regular people needing raincoats for a rainy day.
During the following decades the basic raincoats stayed a staple in the line-up of the company that was adding new clothing ranges every couple of years. First boating and motorcycle clothes were added, then jogging and golf attire, only to be followed by ski-clothes and other low-temperature attire in the 1990s. Currently the company has 4 main clothing categories: sport, motorsport, rain, and pets, which all have their own section on the Rukka website. The focus seems to be on the sport and motorsport categories, with most of the innovation and R&D being invested in the motorsport clothing category. Simple reason for this might be that there is just much more money to be made in this segment, as opposed to raingear where it is much harder to stand apart from the competition. Looking further into the rainwear category it stands out how extremely limited it is with only 3 different types of jackets for adults, 1 type of pants, and a southwester hat in yellow on the English site and 1 yellow coat and 1 pair of pants, in 2 colors, on the Finnish site. Below a screenprint of the Finnish site showing the very limited range available in Rukka’s home country.
It seems the limited range of rainwear available is something more recent, as a search on vintage and second-hand sites shows Rukka used to make rainsuits in many more different colors and especially the long raincoats for women showing a wide range in materials and colors. Especially the long PVC coats seemed to have survived pretty well over time, not only because of the durability of the material but also because of a more timeless overall design. Below an example of a “vintage” Rukka raincoat in blue from a second-hand site that could very well make a perfect raincoat 40 years after it was produced.
That is not to say that I would recommend going for any vintage Rukka rainwear you are able to find, as some models of coats, or materials, age much quicker and they would be much harder to incorporate in a fashionable outfit these days. Especially the brightly colored or ultra-shiny wear would demand a more acquired taste, as can be seen below.
While the current range of rainwear is very limited I do think that Rukka is an interesting brand for rainwear to look at. The reason for that must be a combination of the iconic yellow raincoat in all its simplicity, the association the brands evokes with Finland, and an overall sporty image of the raincoat which I have not seen before in other brands producing PVC rainwear in yellow.
That sporty image might come from the fact that their rainwear, even though it is in yellow and made from PVC, was never aimed at the fishing industry making it possible to make it slimmer fit and overall more stylish. While that might not come out completely in the PVC rainwear line, it stands out better with their range of “normal” coats that are waterproof. Unlike the real rainwear these coats are made of PU and have a narrower cut, adjustable cuff links, and even an adjustable waist on the women’s models making them much more stylish.
These “Essi” women’s coats are available in 4 colors with variations of yellow, and the “Enrik” coats from the male lineup are available in 3 colors, namely blue and 2 variations of yellow. And while these coats are not listed as “raincoats”, they will protect you completely in the rain.
For me it is not very difficult to have a preference for the PVC raincoat over the PU waterproof “Essi” raincoat. While I do like the stylish cut and tighter fit of the waterproof coats, I would always prefer the slightly more bulky cut of the raincoat. For some reason it just has a better “raincoat” look, something I prefer in rainwear. And while their color range of the raincoats is very limited with only 1 color available, it is not something I would complain about as the yellow color would have my preference anyways. The picture below from Marianne Saarinen shows perfectly how such a simple raincoat can be the basis of a stunning outfit; there is not much more you need to create a great look. Picture taken from her blog with permission.
The previously mentioned “sporty” association I have with the Rukka raincoat translates perfectly back when you combine this coat on a more sporty outfit. Generally I would recommend stylish jeans and sneakers but in this case I would really love the look of black sweatpants and a pair of sport shoes to go with the yellow coat. Add maybe some woolen scarf or hat to break the bright yellow shiny PVC look and you will be ready to go with wet and cold weather.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts about the Rukka rainwear brand, or other brands you would like to see discussed here. I am also always looking for nice pictures of the items and brands covered, so if you own any of the raingear discussed and wouldn’t mind me using your pictures, including a backlink to your page, please let me know.
p.s. some interesting comment can be found below from a reader who points out that the quality of rainwear in the earlier has been different from what it is now. Over time the materials used have become more modern, read thinner, meaning some people lost their interest in this brand over time. Ths would also explain the relative interest in vintage rainwear from Rukka, something similar you can see with other brands that changed their materials over time.