The North Face
Mantra: Never Stop Exploring
|Headquarters||Alameda, California, United States|
|Area served||North America, South America, Europe & Asia Pacific|
|Products||Clothing, outdoor gear|
The North Face brand was established in 1968 by Douglas Tompkins and Kenneth "Hap" Klopp, in San Francisco the two renamed a San Francisco climbing equipment retail store they'd founded two years earlier. The idea of The North Face originated after a hiking trip on the Eagle Moutain in Minnesota. The north face of a mountain in the northern hemisphere is generally the coldest, iciest and most formidable route to climb.
For a time the store offered only highly selected merchandise targeted to climbers and backpackers. By the 1980s, skiwear was added, followed by camping equipment.
Today, The North Face is a wholly owned subsidiary of the VF Corporation. Its headquarters is in Alameda, California, co-located with its corporate sibling, JanSport. In 2007, JanSport was the world's largest backpack maker; combined, the two manufactured nearly half of all small backpacks sold in the United States.
The North Face maintains strong links with the outdoor community through sponsoring athletes, including Lizzy Hawker, winner of the Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc in 2005, 2008 and 2010.
Rise in popularity
With the rise of wilderness chic in the late 1990s and early 2000s, The North Face became a well-known brand and its popularity increased substantially. The attractiveness of these high priced products resulted in a market developing for counterfeits. This prompted the creation in 2004 of an informational website for consumers intending to purchase North Face items online.
The North Face's wilderness chic's allure has resulted in wearers of the line becoming the targets of robbery. In early 2005, a group of teenagers from Washington D.C. were arrested on charges including the armed robbery of specifically The North Face jackets from students on the street.
In December 2008, The North Face filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against The South Butt, its creator James A. Winkelmann, Jr., and a company which handled the firm's marketing and manufacturing. In the legal action, The North Face alleged trademark infringement and sought injunctive relief. After the court ordered mediation in the case, the parties reached a closed settlement agreement on April 1, 2010; however, in October 2012, Winkelmann admitted in court that he and his father violated the settlement agreement with The North Face and agreed to pay $65,000, an amount that will be reduced by $1,000 for every month of compliance.
In addition to selling through department stores and outdoor retailers, The North Face operates over 40 retail locations in the United States, 19 locations in the United Kingdom  and many others worldwide. The first corporately owned Canadian store was opened in October 2011 in Toronto, Ontario. 
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- VF Corporation – VF in the News
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- Szabo, Julia (1997-03-09). "Geared for the Grocery, or Mount Everest". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
- The North Face Guru
- "Feeling Trashed on the Web?", Businessweek interview
- "Suspects nabbed in jacket, car robberies". The Washington Times. 14 February 2005. p. 2.
- Frankel, Todd C. (2009-12-15). "The North Face is suing The South Butt International clothing company accuses teen's Ladue-based operation of trademark infringement". STLtoday.com. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Billhartz Gregorian, Cynthia (2010-04-03). "North Face, South Butt reach agreement". STLtoday.com. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- "South Butt Clothing Falls Off a Cliff". Couthouse News Service. 17 October 2102. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
- "The North Face Stores in the UK"
- "North Face Store Finder". November 26, 2009.
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