The North Face brand was established in 1968 in
San Francisco, California,
Douglas Tompkins and Dick "Hap" Klopp
created an equipment retail store that eventually
acquired the current name "The North Face".
This name was chosen because the north face of a
mountain in the
northern hemisphere is generally the most difficult
face to climb.
By the 1980s, skiwear was added to the line of products,
and eventually camping equipment was added as well.
The North Face is now a wholly owned subsidiary
Today, The North Face is based in San Leandro, California,
near its corporate sibling,
JanSport is the world's largest backpack maker,
and together, JanSport and The North Face manufacture
nearly half of all small backpacks sold in the United
The North Face's logo consists of a slightly skewed
quarter-circle with two lines running within it.
This image is an interpretation of Half Dome, a
rock formation in Yosemite National Park,
viewed from the west, with the sheer north (or northwest)
face of Half Dome to the left.
The North Face maintains strong links with the outdoor
community through its sponsored athlete program.
Athletes such as Lizzy Hawker who recently won the
Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc have benefited greatly
from the programme.
In addition to selling through outdoor retailers,
The North Face operates 34 retail locations in the
United States (as of June, 2009), and additional
retail locations can be found worldwide.
Rise in popularity, counterfeiting,
In the late 1990s and early 2000s with the rise
of wilderness chic, The North Face became a well-known
brand and its popularity, especially among youth
and college students, increased substantially. An
upper-end The North Face winter jacket currently
costs about $500 USD. Due to the high demand for
and the high prices of these products, a market
developed for counterfeit (illegally replicated)
The North Face goods. Sold on eBay or in other unregulated
venues, counterfeits can usually be detected by
their misplacement of logos and obvious inferiority
of craftsmanship. In addition to this, many counterfeit
The North Face products are not made of
Gore-Tex or HyVent, despite being so marked.
For the same reasons that The North Face products
are counterfeited, they are also prime targets for
theft. 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 randomly picked students on the street.
Allegedly, the thieves would then resell the products
for a substantially decreased price.
The massive counterfeiting has prompted the creation
of a website with information for consumers intending
to purchase North Face items online in 2004.
In August 2007, Businessweek interviewed
the owner and featured the site in one of their