We all know that The North Face is producing overpriced outdoor gear for people who just don’t know any better. My girlfriend once worked for a big outdoor company. She used to tell me that other brands offer the same quality and materials as The North Face but for a small part of what they are asking for their products. Apart from that, their designs are just horrible. Really. Many people still do have the opinion that practical clothing doesn’t have to be pretty. I beg to differ. Just look at what White Mountaineering or nanamica release on a regular basis and you instantly know that functional clothing can be fashionable as well.
In Japan, however, I have seen good-looking North Face clothing time and time again. I was pleasantly surprised that the well known outdoor brand obviously changed their designers and was seriously considering to buy some pieces. Who would have thought that The North Face did produce some tasteful garments with exactly the perfect degree of excentricity towards their designs.
Exclusively for the Japanese market
At the time, when I was in Japan, I didn’t know that this was a special line of clothing that was produced exclusively for the Japanese market. But it was obvious that the purple North Face logo just had to have a special meaning to it. The name of the collection is simple: It’s called “The North Face Purple Label” and even if it’s still produced in China like all the other North Face stuff, I’d definitely pick up one of these Liberty X The North Face Purple Label Jackets. It’s the white one with the flower print and black hoody.
I recently learned that The North Face Purple Label is in fact designed by the nanamica team which consists of the two founders Eiichiro Homma and Takashi Imaki. Back in 2007 they started their first collaboration with the infamous outdoor brand and are putting out new fashionable outdoor gear ever since. Still to this day the collections are only available at select stores in Japan (apart from the nanamica stores themselves) and online-only via the namamica webstore.
I just don’t understand why these clothes are only released in Japan. Maybe big companies should have more confidence in people from western countries to try out new patterns and designs. Maybe functional fashion is still merely seen as being appropriate for plain doing their job and not seen as the fashionable clothing it could be. I’m always on the lookout for technical gear or to be more precise. For companies that are trying to integrate “intelligent” fabric into their cuts. There are already a couple of brands out there which more or less fit my taste like Acronym from Berlin or Outlier from New York.
Nevertheless, this should become a wider trend and be more thought after. Just imagine that your favorite jacket not only looks perfect but is just as useful and comfortable to wear in the city then it would be on a hiking spree.
If you want to order from the nanamica webshop you need a proxy who’ll deliver the goods from Japan to your place. Check my guide on how to order from japan.