The North Face BLACK SERIES: “Performance Through Bold Styling and Innovative Materials.”. Alright, now, let’s not focus on the pictures of Margo Hayes and really think a little, isn’t that the slogan for the entire brand regardless of it’s Black, Purple, and other colorful lines. This brings us back to the question, “Is the BLACK SERIES over-engineered for its purpose (like city strolling)?”
In fact, The North face utilizes it’s signature FUTURELIGHT™ membrane and Honeywell Spectra® that is 15 times stronger than steel, ultra lightweight, and moisture resistant. Yes, we like the collection and we think it’s great, however we also think it’s too familiar. The vest and jacket remind us of 1017 ALYX 9SM and NikeLab, the layering and pattern of Adidas by Stella McCartney, the slide of Visvim and Suicoke.
The North Face claims that it utilizes the most technologically advanced materials and construction to create a range of city outfits, inspired by mountaineering gears. Now, how many of us actually need such gears to climb the skyscrapers instead of using the elevators and stairs? If we are talking about city strolling, how would the mountaineering functions actually enhance our daily life? To be fair, it seems like a norm that brands nowadays integrate such marketing tactics in their growth strategy, for example, Rolex’s Sea-Dweller Deepsea allows you to dive 12800ft (or 3900m) underwater, it sells like a piece of hot cake. The trick works not only in the luxury segment but also in the mass market! Ask anyone who wears that particular watch if they ever dive!
Do not get us wrong, we think the design is definitely a nice touch – the modern classic, the reengineered iconic styles. We also can understand the unimaginable challenges to develop a new range without losing one’s DNA. What missing here is the “relevancy”, this “repurposed” range should be emphasizing urban day-to-day usage instead of mountaineering.
We love its pop colors, it is trendy and eye-catching, however, the huge (and visible) logo and the over-accessorized details seem a bit over the top. The range seems to target the casual and streetwear folks, as for the formal (or business) folks, if your boss allows you running into client meetings looking like you just got off from the ski lift, then this can be your urban armor. Nonetheless, as most of us are living in the free world with free will, if you dig it then go for it, wear it with pride!
In the aspect of technology, The North Face is a world-renowned brand with a rich heritage, it produces superb quality products for extreme weather situations and high altitude. It has equipped some of the world’s greatest athletes to accomplish the ultimate challenges in mankind’s history. The North Face’s FUTURELIGHT™ membrane is definitely worth mentioning here, unlike GORE-TEX, it is an ultra-thin nanomembrane that creates airflows for high breathability and keeps water out at the same time. In addition, FUTURELIGHT™ is ~90% made of sustainable materials, although it is not perfect, it is definitely great to see established brands taking initiatives. Durability wise, hats off to The North Face!
Price is rather subjective, regarding value for money, we think the technology developed by TNF is amazing, it has great versatility (except for business or formal events) with proven durability and admirable heritage. The BLACK SERIES will definitely last long in your wardrobe.
Overall, we think the design is interesting yet familiar, the functions might have been over-engineered for its purpose. We would like to see brands reemphasizing the purpose of clothing rather than looking for a “design theme” (in this case, it’s mountaineering) and apply it in another collection (in this case, the urban scene), especially in techwear.
Performance RatingPerformance Rating
Design50/100 NeutralHeritage look on a modern silhouette, the combination has been tossed around for a while, it's nothing new.
Practicality60/100 NormalStreetwear is now the norm, the collection can be worn on many occasions. Not to your merger and acquisition meetings though.
Value70/100 GoodIt is too expensive!
Technology80/100 Very goodFUTURELIGHT™ is an ultra-thin nanomembrane and Honeywell Spectra® is 15 times stronger than steel, ultra-lightweight, and moisture resistant.
Sustainability70/100 GoodFUTURELIGHT™ is ~90% made of sustainable materials, although it is not perfect, it is definitely great to see established brands taking initiatives.