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Where does outdoor end and streetwear begin? Let's talk about The North Face


When top quality, functionality and intriguing design go hand in hand with noble ideas, there is no way to think about any other brand than The North Face. It was born out of a great love for mountain expeditions and at the same time out of the need for a close contact with nature and the constant desire to take up challenges. Today, it is one of the best companies not only for travelers but also for sneakerheads. Keep reading our article to learn how The North Face was created and why it is so successful!

Kicking off in a rock style

It all started in 1966 in San Francisco, the city of dreams and fantasies. This is when an inconspicuous shop with skis and tourist equipment was built in one of the picturesque streets of the city. The journey of Doug Tompkins (the founder of The North Face) began with a pompous opening of the store - he decided to invite there a favorite band of hippie youth and a rising rock star, Grateful Dead. When talking about the history of The North Face, it is worth learning more about its abovementioned founder, Doug Tompkins. Doug grew up and studied at the elite Connecticut Pomfret School, however, he didn’t manage to graduate. A peaceful life full of rules wasn't for him so he left his hometown and chose his beloved mountains. He spent some time living in Aspen and working in restaurants and shops. Back then, he was spending all the money he earned on traveling around the globe. He took part in the expedition to Fitz Roy, which is considered to be one of the most demanding peaks in the world. The mountains were the greatest love of Tompkins and unsurprisingly, the name of his brand somewhat refers to that feeling. When trying to figure out the symbolic meaning of The North Face, it is worth noting that the northern walls of the mountains are considered more dangerous and difficult to penetrate. Do you think it is a coincidence? Because we don’t.

Never ending changes…

After two years of operating on the market, Kenneth "Hap" Klopp, the friend of Tompkins, who eventually took over all the shares, joined him. By implementing a strategy of designing, manufacturing and distributing his own outdoor equipment, he managed to turn the local business into a global brand. 1969 was the breakthrough point in the history of the brand when a very innovative product, rucksack backpack, was launched. Thanks to being ultralight and extremely packable, it quickly became a favorite of the lovers of mountain hiking. The same year, the brand decided to sponsor the first expedition - the research at Mount Logan conducted by the Arctic Institute of North America. After the rucksack success, it was time for a tent revolution. Obviously, we are talking about The Oval InTENTion with a spherical and aerodynamic design that can effortlessly withstand the strongest gusts of wind encountered in the mountains. The tent was created in cooperation with Richard Fuller, an American constructor, architect, cartographer and geodesist. Gore-Tex, the membrane fabric, used to make The North Face trousers and jackets in 1977 also deserves special attention.

Never stop exploring - striving for perfection

The North Face has been supporting trail runners, snowboarders, skiers and climbers since it emerged on the market. There have been numerous mountain expeditions under the brand name and each of them was a perfect occasion to launch a new line or refine the existing collections. However, the story doesn’t end simply with the promotion of sport. In 2004 The North Face decided to subsidise Himalayan climbers who founded Khumbu Climbing Center supposed to prepare people to work at height. Additionally, on the initiative of the brand, in 2010 there was created a foundation to motivate children and youth to outdoor activities.

From outdoor to streetwear fashion

The North Face has numerously convinced its customers that the products are made of solid and innovative fabrics and this has undoubtedly contributed to the huge success of the brand. Throughout the years, the collections had been aimed primarily at mountain climbing enthusiasts, skiers, snowboarders and tourists. The situation slightly changed in the 90s… Thanks to The North Face, outdoor got affiliated with fashion. The clothing of the brand drew the attention of the New York rappers who were eagerly buying its jackets. Consequently, new opportunities arose - the brand had the chance to cooperate with a real streetwear giant, Supreme. This is how The North Face's clothing and accessories emerged on the streets of the biggest cities and became a base for many fashionable outfits.

But does the combination of streetwear and outdoor have any chance to survive? Of course it does! Top quality, meticulous workmanship and intriguing design ensure that The North Face clothing and accessories will be in fashion for a long time.

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