On Monday morning, the first sunny day after a weekend of torrential downpours, Maria and I headed to Spring Studios for our first show of the day. As we waited the typical 30-or-so minutes for it to begin, I watched fellow attendees file in; and instead of zoning out or getting lost in my Twitter feed, I began to notice a pattern forming: One after another, guests took their seats in some variety of a North Face jacket. Some were black and cropped with a subtle logo embroidered on the chest or arm; some had accent panels in neon or complimentary colors; and the rest were the unassuming kind you'd typically find in your local outdoor retailer, with hoods, long hemlines and enough puffy down stuffing to protect you from whatever elements nature decides to throw at you.
If you've ever lived somewhere with a cold climate, it's highly likely you've owned a product by The North Face. Durable and super-warm, the brand's outerwear was, at a time, a status symbol among certain groups of affluent suburban high schoolers — as well as their dads. However, The North Face has been very savvy with its collaborations in recent years, teaming up on styles with the likes of Supreme, streetwear boutique Extra Butter, Timberland, Junya Watanabe Man, Sacai and Comme des Garçons, to name just a few. These high-fashion co-signs certainly helped the American purveyor of outdoor sports gear attract a new type of customer, but there's another key factor at play here: Back in January, just after the birth of his daughter Chicago, Kanye West was snapped outside of his Calabasas office wearing a North Face puffer, likely inspiring hypebeasts all over the world to snatch up a similar style.
After this particular show — at which I counted nearly a dozen North Face coats — I kept my eyes peeled for more throughout the week. Of course, street style photographers tend to shoot the flashiest, furriest, most colorful, most exclusive and most expensive designer outerwear for their respective publications, so combing through images to find these jackets, despite their immense popularity, was a difficult task. Aside from a Supreme version that read "By Any Means Necessary" and another that came in a very on-trend camo print, I came up with very little photographic evidence. (For the record, Tyler tells me that trendsetting super-stylist Christine Centenera wore a white North Face coat to the Michael Kors show on Wednesday morning.)
It was much easier to find The North Face gear represented at the menswear shows, from Milan to Paris to New York. Perhaps it's because men are more drawn to utilitarian, sporty outerwear than the pastel faux furs, allover patterns, eye-popping colors and statement patchworks lady editors tend to reach for. But whatever the case may be, it's time to pull your trusty North Face out of the back of your closet, as it's officially "fashion" again. If you're feeling particularly nostalgic (and brave), go ahead and pair it with your Uggs. Don't worry, nobody actually knows what year it is anymore.