Founded by husband and wife Douglas and Susie Tompkins in 1966, acquired by Kenneth Klopp two years later and ultimately taken over by the VF Corporation in 2000, The North Face has specialized in technical mountaineering equipment and apparel including sleeping bags, hiking packs, tents, skiwear and high-performance outerwear, as well as performance apparel, footwear and equipment for explorers, climbers and endurance runners (among others).

By the late 1990s, the notoriety of The North Face’s attire meant that its customer pool expanded beyond those merely looking for technical clothing and entered the lives of rappers and various other subcultural stylings; for instance, the North Face’s Tech Steep jacket featured in Wu-Tang’s Method Man music video in 1993. That withstanding, the fashion and music scene remains only a small part of the company’s business, with it focusing more intently on creating advancements within outerwear and equipment for serious hikers and climbers.

The North Face Franchise