I've lived near the Peak District for a lot of my life. It is renowned for attracting walkers, hikers, climbers, cyclists and pretty much any outdoor activity you can think of. I also lived in South London for four years out of the 10 I lived in the capital. While the comparisons aren't exactly easy to come by or particularly obvious, I know there's one thing that brings the two places together: The North Face. Outdoor sports enthusiasts wear the label on Stanage Edge, as do teenagers in Brixton.
Believe it or not but the brand has become the ultimate fashion status symbol. This is probably news to your dad and anyone else who wouldn't consider themselves to be bothered about fashion (no disrespect to the dads who are super stylish). I'm not completely surprised by this turn of events. The fashion industry has been repackaging outdoor items for years and making them "cool." Hiking boots, checked lumberjack-style jackets (aka, the shacket), fleeces and waterproofs have been recreated by some of the biggest power fashion houses—from Prada to Balenciaga. It was only a matter of time before the traditional outdoor brands, such as The North Face and Patagonia, got a slice of the action, especially as street wear began its rise a few years ago.
A street styler wearing a North Face jacket
The North Face's ongoing collab with Supreme (since 2007) arguably made it an easy transition for the brand to go from die-hard streetwear followers to the fashion week crowds. Over the past few years, street stylers have been spotted wearing The North Face at various shows, but it was from about 2017 onwards that I saw an uptick in popularity.
However, there is one person who we can't leave out of this whole trend and that's Drake. To quote my colleague and Who What Wear UK Editor in Chief Hannah Almassi, "All trends begin with Drake," and when it comes to The North Face, he's definitely been one of the most high-profile people wearing the brand. And you can't deny the influence of someone who remains the most-streamed artist on Spotify.
And now, for 2021, the final cherry on the fashion cake, is an upcoming collaboration with arguably one of the hottest fashion houses right now, Gucci. While we don't know much about the two brands' plans, the fact that boundary-pushing Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele is keen to team up with The North Face says a lot. So if you're suddenly thinking that a puffer coat with the brand's logo on it sounds good, then keep scrolling to see how street stylers are wearing theirs then go on to shop the ultimate jackets right now.