CULT BRAND: THE NORTH FACE
By Kasia Hastings, 7 October 2017
No brand has conquered the cold-weather market quite like The North Face. From techy outerwear favoured by top athletes and middle-aged men to cult items coveted by streetwear fans across the world, its outdoor armour has been the coolest way to keep warm for nearly five decades.
The unofficial uniform of Lake District-loving dads and grime MCs alike, The North Face is known for its snug fleeces, sell-out collabs and the unrivalled insulation of its down-filled jackets. Originally founded by hiking enthusiasts Douglas Tompkins and Susie Tompkins Buell in 1966 as a small mountaineering shop, The North Face as we know it started designing its technical take on climbing gear two years later.
Since then, its ubiquitous half-dome logo has sat pride of place on iconic styles like the Summit jacket, Mountain parka and padded Nuptse. With most brands bending over backwards to stay relevant, The North Face is something of an anomaly. It’s stuck by its mission statement to produce advanced pieces of performance outerwear, transcending trends and style tribes to remain the pinnacle of cool every autumn/winter.
Clever collaborations with Supreme and Japanese designer Junya Watanabe have cemented the brand’s cult status among the streetwear community since 2006. Supreme designer James Jebbia’s bold reworkings of classic The North Face styles have included leopard print, multi-coloured maps and ridiculous resale prices.
Elsewhere, the Japan-only Purple Label, Europe-only Black Label and the brand's latest collection inspired by the colours of the Nepalese prayer flag, are seeing the label scaling new sartorial heights. The North Face’s ability to uniquely unite streetwear aficionados and people who prioritise the practical will undoubtedly see it reign supreme for generations to come.