The North Face is named after the coldest, harshest side of a mountain. Ironically the brand was launched in 1966 in the North Beach area of San Francisco, when Douglas Tompkins, a hiking fan, decided to open a mountaineering boutique. The North Face then started to produce their own equipment and hiking gear, to reach global recognition.

The north face

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The North Face : the beginnings.

Douglas Tompkins and Kenneth "Hap" Klopp owned a retail store for climbing equipment in San Francisco in 1964. In 1966, thanks to a significant change in the design of tents which became highly targeted goods, the ordinary store started to be successful, and they renamed it “The North Face”. Later, they added equipment related to climbing and backpacking activities.

The North Face : name’s origin.

This name was inspired from a hiking trip they had on the Eagle Mountain in Minnesota, when they realized that the North face of a mountain is most of the time the hardest, due to cold and icy wind, but also the most perfect side to climb. One other reason is also that the first boutique was opened in North Beach.

The North Face : expansion.

In 1980, they expanded the goods in their store and sold clothing dedicated to skiing like parkas or jackets, fashion shoes and camping equipment such as backpacks, tents and sleeping bags. The North Face audience is rather wide and mostly constituted by young people from colleges as well as practitioners of outdoor sports like climbing, skiing, snowboarding, or hiking. Therefore, the brand sponsored professional athletes like Lizzy Hawker, winner of the Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc in 2005, 2008 and 2010, for instance. In 2000, an American company for clothing distribution, VF Corporation, purchased the North Face.

The brand’s areas of distribution.

The North Face owns big stores and outdoor shops, and also numerous outlets in U.S.A, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and many others spread over 61 countries around the world.