When The North Face first set out to source an all-cotton hoodie within 150 miles of its Alameda, California, headquarters for a locally produced line it wanted to call “The Backyard Project,” it quickly realized it would have to look further afield for yarn. Specifically: to the Carolinas.
So when the VF-owned outdoor clothing and lifestyle brand launched the limited-edition collection in December 2014, the unisex hoodies were labeled Made in the U.S.A., instead of Made in California. Not a bad thing, but not exactly its intention. That’s why The North Face set itself a new goal for the second year of its project: expand and scale to increase both domestic production and impact.
The latest installment of the line did just that: Backyard scaled nearly 15x, tapped new partners across the U.S. and evolved production to bring eco-preferred fashion to more consumers. Released Tuesday, the collection now includes men’s T-shirts, as well as men’s and women’s full zip and pullover hoodies, available in more than eight colors—all sourced and manufactured domestically.
“The Backyard Project is about connecting with local artisans right here in the U.S.A. It’s about knowing which farms grew your cotton, who spun the yarn, or how your product was dyed. We learned a lot during Backyard’s 2014 introduction and challenged ourselves to produce a bigger run of locally sourced clothing this season,” Sumi Scott, director of sportswear, shared.
In order to scale the project, The North Face moved the majority of its production from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. This allowed the company to work with JC Industries and Care-Tex Industries, using cotton ginned in California and Arizona and spun in South Carolina.
Paul Kang, director of Care-Tex Industries, commented, “The Backyard Project emphasizes the importance of ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ The more that large brands can raise awareness of the potential for domestic production, the more likely the consumer will be to seek out domestically produced garments.”