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And yet, today, the label commands collaborations with Supreme and Junya Watanabe.It fits perfectly into the wardrobe of the studied practitioners of normcore, and adorns the backs of health goths.Today, it’s been adopted by London’s grime artists and fans – go to any show and you can expect to see their famous logo both on stage and off.
Monochromatic and, when worn en-masse, undeniably striking, menacing even.
Since the turn of the decade a derivative subculture of what most would probably called scallies – or occasionally ‘Johnheads,’ drawing from the name of the St John’s Shopping Centre they’re known to frequent – have emerged as perhaps unlikely aficionados of niche ski-wear brands.
How did it come to encompass so many disparate subcultures? Back in 1986, the notion of fashion collaborations was still a novel concept and the word Apple was synonymous with fruit baskets rather than i Phone and Mac Books.
That year, the California-based tech brand launched a short-lived clothing line, with dad caps embroidered with their iconic multi-coloured motif, Apple-emblazoned tracksuits and Nautica-esque outerwear, all looking like a streetwear collection that could have dropped last week.
LA: Overpriced cocktails at a trendy restaurant in Venice.
SF: At pm, wearing a North Face jacket and sneakers.
North Face’s down-filled outerwear has become a staple within London, along with a host of brands that specialise in tech-based sportswear from Stone Island to Nike, but it is perhaps less recognised for its popularity outside the capital.
There are groups of Liverpudlians whose penchant for technical skiwear is equally borne out of the harsh practicalities of hanging around outside in inclement weather, but also somewhat of a desire for a uniform.
The great irony of North Face’s urban popularity is that is was conceived for altogether different purposes.
Strangely, some people even use their GORE-TEX parkas and down-filled gilets for what founder Douglas Tompkins intended it for back in 1968, namely traipsing up mountains, scaling glaciers and hiking over terrain that certainly wasn’t tarmacked.
The 1993 video for Wu-Tang’s Method Man saw the North Face’s Tech Steep jacket make an appearance – the same style that Supreme reissued earlier this year as part of their on-going collaborative relationship.