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The North Face

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The North Face, Inc.
Founded1968; 53 years ago (1968) in San Francisco, California, US
Area served
Key people
Arne Arens, Global Brand President
  • Clothing
  • Outdoor gear
ParentVF Corporation Edit this at Wikidata
Footnotes / references

The North Face is an American outdoor recreation products company. The North Face produces outdoor clothing, footwear, and related equipment. Founded in 1968 to supply climbers, the company's logo draws inspiration from Half Dome, in Yosemite National Park. By the late 1990s, the label had expanded beyond outdoor enthusiasts by focusing on street couture and since the 2000s it is regarded as a streetwear style symbol label. In 2000, it was bought by VF Corporation.


The North Face began in 1968 as a climbing equipment retail store in San Francisco, founded by Douglas Tompkins and his wife, Susie Tompkins.[1] It was acquired two years later by Kenneth "Hap" Klopp.[1][2]

The North Face takes its company logo from a stylised drawing of Half Dome, in Yosemite National Park.[3]

In 2000, The North Face was acquired by VF Corporation in a deal worth $25.4 million and became a wholly owned subsidiary.[4][5]

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 that handled the firm's marketing and manufacturing. In the legal action, The North Face alleged trademark infringement and sought injunctive relief.[6] 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 US$65,000, an amount that will be reduced by US$1,000 for every month of compliance.[7][8]

In May 2019, Leo Burnett Tailor Made, a marketing agency for The North Face Brazil, revealed that they had surreptitiously replaced photos of popular outdoor destinations on Wikipedia with photos featuring persons wearing North Face products in an attempt to get these products to appear more prominently in search engine results.[9] Following widespread media coverage and criticism from the Wikimedia Foundation,[10] The North Face apologized for the campaign, ended it, and the product placement was undone.[11][12]

The company was headquartered in Alameda, California, co-located with its corporate sibling, JanSport.[13] In 2020, the company's headquarters relocated to Denver, Colorado.[14]


By 1997, purchasers of North Face attire had expanded beyond those looking for technical clothing for skiing, climbing, and other outdoor pursuits to rappers in New York City, but remained only a small part of the company's business.[15]

In 2005, wearers of the North Face attire became the targets of robbery in Prince George County, Virginia.[16][17] A similar trend occurred in South Korea in the early 2010s where it became a status symbol, resulting in children being bullied or having their North Face apparel stolen.[18]


  1. ^ a b c Finz, Stacey (April 8, 2012). "Business booming for once-troubled North Face". SF Gate. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  2. ^ "Bruce B. Johnson's History of Gear webpage".
  3. ^ "North Face Logo | Design, History and Evolution". Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  4. ^ "The North Face Acquired by VF Corp. in $25.4M Cash Deal". Sports Business Daily. April 10, 2000. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  5. ^ VF Corporation – VF in the News
  6. ^ Frankel, Todd C. (December 15, 2009). "The North Face is suing The South Butt International clothing company accuses teen's Ladue-based operation of trademark infringement". Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  7. ^ Billhartz Gregorian, Cynthia (April 3, 2010). "North Face, South Butt reach agreement". Retrieved December 8, 2011.
  8. ^ "South Butt Clothing Falls Off a Cliff". Couthouse News Service. October 17, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
  9. ^ "The North Face used Wikipedia to climb to the top of Google search results | AdAge". Ad Age. May 28, 2019. Archived from the original on May 28, 2019. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  10. ^ "Let's talk about The North Face defacing Wikipedia – Wikimedia Foundation". Wikimedia Foundation. March 13, 2020. Archived from the original on March 13, 2020. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  11. ^ Mervosh, Sarah (May 30, 2019). "North Face Apologizes for Adding Its Own Photos to Wikipedia to Promote Its Brand". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on May 30, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Bootnotes: Egg on North Face: Wikipedia furious after glamp-wear giant swaps article pics for sneaky ad shots – and even brags about it in a video". Biting the hand that feeds IT. The Register. Part of Situation Publishing. May 29, 2019.
  13. ^ Horovitz, Bruce (August 20, 2007). "New 'badge' of cool: High-tech, high-fashion backpacks". USA Today. p. 1A. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
  14. ^ SGB Media (August 13, 2018). "VF moves to Denver". SGB Online.
  15. ^ Szabo, Julia (March 9, 1997). "Geared for the Grocery, or Mount Everest". New York Times. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  16. ^ "Suspects nabbed in jacket, car robberies". The Washington Times. February 14, 2005. p. 2.
  17. ^ Takanashi, Lei (October 31, 2018). "How The North Face Took Over '90s New York". The Cut. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  18. ^ Jung-yoon, Choi (January 16, 2012). "In South Korea, North Face jackets tied to wave of bullying, theft". LA Times Blogs – World Now. Retrieved May 31, 2019.

External links