The North Face Begins
Despite being a brand designed for the harshest, coldest conditions The North Face actually started on the beach.
In 1966, hiking enthusiasts Doug and Susie Tompkins opened a mountaineering store in San Francisco’s North Beach area. The store quickly became popular among outdoor enthusiasts.
In 1968 the store was named “The North Face”, the name was inspired by the fact that The North Face of a mountain is usually the coldest side of the mountain. 1968 also saw the store move to the other side of the bay so they could start to design and manufacture its own brand of outdoor apparel and equipment.
1969 saw the company launched its first original product, the 'Ruthsac'. The 'Ruthsac' was a backpack that slashed the weight of a traditional backpack, making it much lighter and more comfortable for the wearer.
Throughout the 1960s The North Face sponsored expeditions to largely unexplored remote locations across the world, this is where The North Face mantra “Never Stop Exploring” comes from.
The North Face spearheads innovation
In 1971 The North Face got its logo courtesy of graphic designer David Alcorn, the half-dome of the logo is inspired by the Yosemite National Park.
As the 1970s rolled on The North Face continued to establish itself as an innovator in the field of outdoor performance clothing with strides in performancewear and equipment.
The company released groundbreaking designs in equipment, the Oval Intention tent hit the market in 1975, it was the first-ever geodesic tent, designed to distribute tension evenly over the surface of the tent, a far cry from the basic triangular tents of the time.
In 1977 The North Face introduced Gore-Tex technology to their products, Gore-Tex repels liquid whilst allowing vapour to pass through. The Gore-Tex fabric is lightweight and waterproof, Gore-Tex brought an unprecedented level of user protection to The North Face products.
Hitting the slopes
Throughout the 1980s The North Face's popularity grew as it became one of the most recognisable names in outerwear.
The company introduced Gore-Tex technology into more of its products, bringing top tier technology to all of its mainline products.
The iconic mountain jacket and pant were the brand's headline products, making them a ubiquitous name in the world of outdoor adventure.
The 1980s also see The North Face expand into ski wear having noticed a gap in the market for extreme ski apparel.
By the end of the 1980s, The North Face was the only US supplier to provide a comprehensive high-performance range of skiwear and accessories.
During the 1990s The North Face entered the sportswear market with a focus on extreme sports. Tekware was yet another innovation from The North Face.
Tekware proved to be the ideal fabric for extreme sports as it is strong and lightweight whilst being very hard to tear.
The new Tekware range provided rock climbers, hikers, trail runners and backpackers with the ultimate outdoor wear.
In the 2000s, The North Face continued to sponsor ambitious climbs including Kit Deslauriers climb-up and ski-off of Mount Everest.
In 2006 North Face athlete Dean Karnazes completed 50 marathons in 50 states, in 50 days.
The North Face proudly sponsors a huge range of athletes including climbers, skiers, snowboarders and ultra runners.
The North Face athletes also play a part in the development of products, the 2015 Summit Series line was designed to be the very best of technical outdoor wear and was tested in the most extreme environments by The North Face athletes.
The North Face isn’t just about the outdoors, the brand has become a huge part of streetwear.
Their collaboration with the New York label Supreme has cemented The North Face as an essential street style brand. The collaborations see Supreme put their own twist on classic The North Face styles since 2007.
The North Face also has its own range of diffusion lines and sub-brands which are more fashion-focused. The North Face is no longer just for those scaling mountains, their coats and hoodies can be spotted everywhere from Liverpool to London.
Today the brand remains one of the biggest names in outdoor wear, bringing the latest technology to its customers.
Check out the latest range of North Face products now at MandM Direct and get the ultimate in outdoor style for unmissable prices!
Be the first to hear about our best deals, biggest savings and newest arrivals by signing up to our emails today!