In terms of global brand recognition, there is probably no outdoor brand more ubiquitous than The North Face, with its famous logo being seen on people across many countries, demographics and subcultures. Aphrodite are pleased to welcome the premium The North Face range to our lineup of brands for Fall/Winter 2017; channelling the storied history of the brand through a contemporary streetwear lens, The North Face’s latest collection takes the high-performance fabrics and construction the company is known for, and applies them to more wearable, casual silhouettes, ideal for those who want to stay protected from the elements — and look stylish doing it.
The History of The North Face
The North Face’s status as a global outdoor giant is a far cry from its more humble beginnings. In 1964, Doug and Susie Tompkins — an outdoors-loving couple living in San Francisco, California — founded The North Face, Inc., as a mail order company selling high-quality climbing and hiking apparel to the rapidly growing number of enthusiasts in the region. By 1966, they opened their first store in the city’s trendy North Beach neighbourhood, complete with an opening night that boasted a show from The Grateful Dead and Hell’s Angels working the door as security, in keeping with outdoor sports’ counterculture associations at the time. Two years later, the Tompkins had been designing and selling their own in-house range of apparel and equipment, and had made a name for their brand as purveyors of some of the highest-quality gear in the world. But by this time, wanderlust had got the best of the pair, and Doug Tompkins sold his company for $50,000 to his friend Kenneth ‘Hap’ Klopp, who built The North Face into a multi-billion-dollar brand over the next 20 years.
Klopp continued the brand’s spirit of constant innovation and investment in technology, catering to the ever-growing and evolving outdoor sports market, adding gear for skiing and camping to the lineup, including a revolutionary dome tent designed in 1975, inspired by the work of influential architect Buckminster Fuller, which was lighter and more aerodynamic than traditional A-frame designs, and became a worldwide hit as people pushed further and further to the extremes of the wilderness. As the Eighties rolled around, The North Face was firmly established as a market-leader in skiing equipment and continued to push the boundaries of apparel for extremely cold climates, including the future classic Summit range of jackets.
By the Nineties, demand for high-quality casual clothing was at an all-time high, and this led to The North Face diversifying into unknown territory, with non-technical apparel like t-shirts, sweats and lightweight jackets being introduced for the first time, all bearing that instantly-recognisable logo. This led to the brand’s biggest growth yet and pushed them into the 21st Century as one of the titans of sporting, technical and casual clothing.
The North Face Black Label Clothing
Since their embrace of the casual fashion market, The North Face has diversified from its roots as a solely technical manufacturer and introduced a number of diffusion labels, that are often exclusive to specific overseas markets. Japan has long had their exclusive Purple Label collection, which reinterprets classic tailored and casual pieces with high-end technical fabrics and finishes, and is subject of envy from stylish men the world over. Inspired by this, The North Face’s Autumn/Winter 2017 range takes design cues from the classic The North Face styles of the Eighties and Nineties, the latest versions update them with more modern cuts and fabrics, while still maintaining their vintage appeal, and translating them for a more casual, street-savvy audience. The range is sure to appeal to those who enjoy The North Face’s long-running collaborations with streetwear giants Supreme, especially the Mountain Parka and Mountain Light styles, which are staples of the brand’s classic range.
Shop Aphrodite’s full collection of North Face online and in-store now.