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Wu-Tang Clan Legend Lends Jacket to The North Face Archive

The North Face has amassed decades of experience outfitting explorers with gear to guard them against the elements. Now, the company has put together a campaign to celebrate its wearers’ many adventures.

Launching Tuesday, the It’s More Than a Jacket archive project honors the memories that both mountaineers and everyday nature enthusiasts have created in The North Face’s outerwear. The Bay Area brand teamed with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) to collect and showcase a curated selection of The North Face’s designs alongside consumers’ photo submissions. Consumers can contribute their photographic memories to social media using the hashtag #MoreThanAJacket. Set to go live later in the season, the exhibition will remain on display into 2022.

“Our customers, the feats they have achieved, and the memories they have created are such a big part of our brand’s rich DNA,” Mike Ferris, The North Face vice president of global brand, said in a statement. “With this archive, alongside SFMOMA, we are memorializing the people, products and stories that continue to inspire our community and move the world forward.”

Adding that the program will feature “inspiring public programs” designed to bring together the San Francisco community, Neal Benzera, the Helen and Charles Schwab director of SFMOMA, said that the partnership “champions exploration, creative expression, and innovation that are critical to both of our organizations.”

As the campaign evolves, The North Face will concurrently release six new collections drawing inspiration from its most-loved styles and pay homage to its heritage. Each capsule will promote exploration,  including a reimagining of the Expedition Parka, which was used in the first non-mechanized crossing of Antarctica in 1990, employing 100-percent recycled fabrics.

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The VF-owned brand tapped high-profile collaborators including Wu-Tang Clan legend and filmmaker RZA, L.A. pop group Haim, American professional rock climber Conrad Anker and professional skier Ingrid Backstrom to be the first contributors to the archive.

Hikers summiting Everest in the Himalayan Down Parka.
Hikers summiting Everest in the Himalayan Down Parka. The North Face

“As an artist, style has always been an expression of identity and a way to mark a moment in time,” RZA said. “In the 90s, not only was The North Face the rugged, stylish gear we needed on New York City’s streets, it was more than a jacket because it was a witness. It was a witness to the brotherhood that we were inspiring, and that inspired us.”

“By entering this jacket into the archive, I get the chance to relive and preserve the memories lived in it forever,” RZA said.

Sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, who form the musical trio Haim, have been long-time fans and wearers of The North Face outerwear. “From experimenting with different rhythms and instrumentation to discovering a new style or city, exploration is a part of everything we do,” they said. “Through these adventures, our jackets from The North Face have been with us along the way and have become more than a source of function—they’ve comforted us when we’re away from home and remind us of everywhere we’ve been.”

Haim in their The North Face gear.
Haim in their The North Face gear. The North Face

The campaign will launch with a feature anthem film that illuminates the stories “woven into every jacket.” Three extended films featuring adaptive athlete Vasu Sojitra, freestyle skier Jossi Wells and Will Stegar, leader of the 1990 International Trans-Antarctica Expedition, will follow this fall.

“For more than 55 years, The North Face has enabled exploration and helped people strive for greatness by providing the best gear to get them there,” Ferris said.