Wearing Multiple Hats

The North Face is at the crux of becoming one of the most influential clothing brands in consumer culture today. Outside of fashion’s wandering eye, it’s exemplifying what it means to cleverly cater to a wide customer base who, independent of each other, have individually gravitated to the brand’s unconventionally fashionable allure and best-in-class technical innovation.

The North Face, similarly to Nike and Apple, has found itself in a unique position where different consumer groups have cultivated around the brand. It’s been that way since the ’90s, when rappers and everyday folk embraced the brand’s attire, expanding its reach beyond those looking for performance apparel for climbing, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits. Back then, its “off mountain” strategy, as the brand calls it, wasn’t fully developed and represented a small part of the business.

“There’s definitely something happening; we’re about to see that grow in a big way. There’s a bigger opportunity to welcome more people to the brand.”

Kelly Cortina, Global VP of Product Merchandising & Development, The North Face

It’s evolving far beyond the outdoor professionals the brand once solely catered to. Identifiers from camping dads to VC bros to yummy mummies to TikTok stars to your grandmother’s walking club are creating their own attachment to the brand. Where the relationship with one group revolves around archive puffers, collaborations with Brain Dead and Gucci, and buying at luxury multi-brand retailers, the other praises the brand for the affordability of its footwear and accessibility.

“Now, with everything gone gorpcore on one hand and Depop on the other, the brand can point to things like Prep School Gangsters, the Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and that famous Biggie x MA$E pic to say ‘we’re authentic’ to almost everything in culture.”

Alex Rakestraw, writer and founder, Coat Checking


The North Face® fundamental mission remains unchanged since 1966: 
Provide the best gear for our athletes and the modern day explorer, support the preservation of the outdoors, and inspire a global movement of exploration.