When I was in college, I carried my North Face backpack every day. One day I was approached by someone from The North Face on the street, and because of that connection, I now have a professional relationship with the brand. I wore The North Face down jacket every day this winter; as a kid I used to wear it a lot too—so I’m very familiar with the brand. I like the design of TNF Urban Exploration, which can be worn indoors or out, in your local neighborhood or in the city centers. I also like that they’re made of recycled materials and has beautiful cuts. I mostly dress casually, like in tank and jeans, it will come in handy in early spring as a light outerwear that I can throw on. Although The North Face is an outdoor brand, their clothes are not bulky; they are urban and sharp, yet functional and lightweight. The brand also puts a lot of effort into nature and environmental issues, and I have deep sympathy for their philosophy. The North Face was always a part of my life, and it’s a brand that allows me to feel natural in my own way.
After spending her high school years in Germany, Haru published a zine at the tender age of 17. While attending Tokyo University of the Arts, she launched HIGH(er)magazine, and in 2019 established HUG, a content production and artist management company.
I believe that Urban Exploration’s Ventrix is the best functioning material in The North Face’s history; it’s rare to find clothes that are both warm and breathable. I don’t like feeling temperature changes, so I always try to keep my body temperature constant. I like fashion, but perhaps because of my job, functionality is especially important to me. I wear it when I shoot in the mountains, in the car, and even when I sleep. I also wear it as an underlayer when shooting in cold places overseas. When I sleep in the car, I don’t wear down jackets, so I basically sleep with the Ventrix on. It dries quickly after washing, so I once wore it for 30 days straight (laughs). Its ability to pack up into a compact size is very important for my work, so I find it very useful. In places like India or Nepal, it may be over 30 degrees Celsius on the plains, but the temperature may drop below freezing up in the mountains. It’s perfect for these environments, and something that I can travel with all year round—it’s become indispensable for me. The North Face has become a big company, but they still have their risk-taking spirit and has not stopped challenging themselves; they continue to inspire me.
Born in Tokyo in 1989, Abe is a photographer who loves the great outdoors and ethnic minorities, which are the focal points of his profession. Including commercial photography for The North Face, he has continued to capture images in the harshest environments. His work in Japan includes a series of portraits titled ‘Family’.
I think the appeal of the brand The North Face is that their items can be adapted to any individual who wears them. The price point is reasonable despite the high quality, and the cost performance is just great. I often wear them when I’m shooting on location, and I frequently see others wearing them on the set. When I see vintage Baltoro Light down jackets, for example, I still think they’re cool—one of their charms is that they continue to make universal products that are timeless. Their Futurelight jacket also looks sharp yet unpretentious, which I like; it’s not uptight and can be worn effortlessly. Their functions are super high-tech yet have an analog vibe that are versatile—it might be interesting to wear it together with a tailored or tweed suit. Just like the quote from a manga series called ‘The Fable’: “What you learn in the forest will apply in the city, but what you learn in the city will not apply in the forest”—I think that clothes that work in a harsh environment can be used in many ways by city dwellers.
Yamada has worked as an independent stylist since 2007 with a wide range of projects including magazines, advertisements, and fashion brand campaigns under his belt. He uses his extensive knowledge of music, art, travel, and storytelling in his styling.
I frequently wear items from The North Face, including their fleece jacket when purchasing flowers at the market and their raincoat for rainy days. I like designs that don’t make too much of a statement; I like monochromatic colors that complement the flowers in my store and the clothes I wear. Their Ventrix Zepher Cardigan is lightweight, water resistant, stretchy, and provides both warmth and breathability—it is perfect for my work. I’ve always wanted to express something new by mixing flowers with other cultures, just like how fashion and music created a movement together. The North Face, while sustaining a solid foundation, is not just an outdoor brand—they’re involved in various cultures, aren’t they? I can relate to that. Even when they collaborate, you can still feel the uniqueness of the brand—which I think is rather difficult to accomplish. I think it’s impossible for a brand to exist if the ego was too strong. I respect the brand’s sincerity in dealing with the people involved, and by doing so expanding their horizon. I admire that spirit, and it makes me feel good wearing their items.
Shinozaki is a floral designer involved in various fields such as magazines, advertisements, music videos, in-store decorations, and product packaging. She runs a weekend flower shop called Edenworks Bedroom in Yoyogi Uehara.
|Photo Asuka Ito (P122, 123)
Naoto Usami (P124, 125)
|Edit & Interview & Text Tatsuya Yamashiro||Edit Takayasu Yamada
English Translation Akiko Watanabe & Rei Matsuoka