Tag Archives: the north face



On the North Face front, the Scott Schmidt Steep Tech line seems to get plenty of attention, but the original money was with the earlier, ultra sophisticated TransAntarctica collection, created for the 1989-1990 foot, ski and sledge expedition, where a global crew of six men from six nations that included Will Steger and a pack of huskies would travel 4,000 miles across the Antarctica over 220 days — the first ever crossing without any motorised assistance. With their heavy fabrics, doomed explorers like Captain Scott and his party would find out that apparel mattered earlier that decade, but this twelve-piece collection, custom created by Erickson Outdoors for The North Face, GORE-TEX and DuPont and made in the USA, was integral to the crew’s success. It even included shoes for the dogs to protect their paws.

It’s interesting that, for functional reasons, the shells were linerless, exposing the GORE-TEX membrane and the system’s colourway of three colours were specially chosen to be visible in a low visibility situation as well as visible for the extensive TV coverage of the journey — orange is considered more visible than red, turquoise, according to the 1990 Ski magazine feature above and below is “…psychologically soothing” and purple is apparently amplified when it’s contrasted against snow. Erickson managed to twin technology with Eskimo traditions that had been common sense for centuries. You can see the gear being worn for its purpose here and in this 20th anniversary video.

The North Face would put out a TransAntarctica collection at retail in 1990, with the vast GORE-TEX stitching on the shells and the six-flag logo, representing America, Britain, France, Japan, Russia and China (not a combination often seen in this kind of unity), plus some rugged stretch fleece designs, plus 3M detailing — all inspired and modified from the expedition spec rather than being 1:1 copies. Those expedition pieces are definitely world’s best jacket contenders and — with all the crazy patches — they’d probably be Homer Simpson approved.



Lifted straight from Stephen Schuster’s Always Hungry blog and wildly appropriate at any given time.

It’s time to get my Tumblr on and post lots of images and videos with a minimum of text. Except I can’t be bothered to Tumblr, so I’ll post it all here today. If you’re one of the five people who follow this blog, then you’ll have noted a lack of focus, subject matter and the distracted nature of each entry. That’s deliberate and it’s intended as a simulation of my psyche. Sometimes you might get a 1000 word essay that’s laden with poor grammar and the next, a solitary paragraph. It’s like a lottery, in which the prize is a bunch of bullshit. All I can muster today is a collection of things that I’m into on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 at around 10pm.

On a recent quick visit to BKRW in Paris, the homie Jay showed me the phenomenal ‘Euro Punk’ (based on the exhibition) book — a large softcover tome on the history of punk in Europe during the second half of the 1970s. The downside for a Brit-ignoramus who deals with language barriers by speaking in English v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y a-n-d LOUDLY is that it’s coming out in English this July. Can’t fucking wait.

I’ve been pondering my love of ‘Demons II’ (1986) during the much-delayed run-up to the release of the Blu-ray, from the opening title font to the fact that it’s the very thing that introduced me to the Smiths. Were it not for this bloodthirsty, logic-free nonsense, my wait to hear Morrissey and company would have been significantly longer. They even got a shout on the opening titles and they’re played at the house party gone horribly wrong (incidentally, the demon through the TV effect beats ‘Ringu’ and is an underrated scene,despite the bizarre and unnecessary dinner and band scene from 4:49 to 5:49 in that clip) when a load of kids in fleck jackets (led by party girl Asia Argento) bop to ‘Panic.’ The only thing that’s appropriate, given later circumstances, is that song title.

On a film note, why doesn’t the 1995 Canadian out-of-control-kids flick ‘Little Criminals’ get props? Sure, it’s a little sensationalist, but because it’s not as hipster-friendly as 1995’s ‘Kids’ (with Harmony influenced by the excellent but grim ‘Pixote’) or as laden with slacker appeal as 1979’s ‘Over the Edge,’ like its sullen protagonist, it doesn’t get the love it needs.It’s surprisingly sweary for a TV-movie and Brendan Fletcher’s performance is excellent. Kudos to the person who put this rarity on YouTube.

It’s a good time to be a Jodorowsky fan. I have no idea how I overlooked the fact that the ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ documentary about the 1970s pre-production of the best film that never was is being put together. Between this and a slew of hi-def reissues of the great man’s classics, maybe ‘Sons of El Topo’ might actually get made.

I saw these baby LunarGlide IIs in Silverlake’s Undefeated branch and they made me broody. Tiny Jordans are nothing new (it’s creepy that I can recall baby VIIs from the first time around) but tech runners for tiny feet is next level. Does a baby need Flywire? That’s not the point.

‘Crack & Shine International’ got a nice little trailer that’s atmospheric and evocative of the book and there’s a collection of tie-in tees with Vans (limited to 15 of each design) that you can pick up from the Topsafe store.

Jonas kindly sent me a picture of this little publication that comes with the Nike Sportswear Free Run+ 2 City Series releases. Titled ‘The Expression of the Run’ I was bugged out by the fact my name’s on it and that it’s next to lots of people far more talented than me. While the NYCs are out (and the Rio de Janeiros are the illest), I believe the Londons are dropping to coincide with the return of 1948. Shouts to Rob and Ben at Dualforces for their patience.

‘Industrie’ #3 has more fine content. I’ve grown a little restless with print of late (though the prospect of a Scott Campbell special of 032c is exciting), but I always feel that my £7 is well spent with this publication. The interviews are vast, the right questions are asked and the choice of subjects is refreshingly diverse, rather than picking from the most vocal and exposed in the fashionista PR pool. The interview with Moncler CEO Remo Ruffini is particularly relevant to my interests — especially the revelation that he frequently has a coffee and morning conversation with the North Face’s president who lives near his (presumably plush) abode. This issue cements my initial opinion that ‘Industrie’ is one of the best magazines to come out of the UK in recent years.


The right has given us some of the best action films ever. Left-wing action cinema rarely hits the high notes that ‘Three Kings’ did back in 1999  —  ‘Green Zone’ anyone? That was an ordeal. Raised on ‘Death Wish 3’ and ‘Conan The Barbarian,’ reactionary, ultra macho revenge missions that spit on PC output like Steve Jobs’ empire are the only fix. This is something that’s been prevalent as long as I’ve had access to VHS – bad Russians or street punks getting a cinematic buckshot shampoo was perfect entertainment. It’s certainly doesn’t reflect my political views in the real world, but I like my action movies sprinkled with a right-wing agenda. It’s the necessary component for a mindless 2 hours. John Milius however, is a very clever man.  With nimble typewriter digits to match his itchy trigger-finger, he’s the man behind ‘Dillinger’, ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘Big Wednesday’, the aforementioned barbarian adaptation, Robert Shaw’s USS Indianapolis speech in ‘Jaws’ that kills seafaring merriment stone-dead, ‘Extreme Prejudice’ and ‘Dirty Harry’. Unfuckwithable cinema.

Then there’s ‘Red Dawn’. Arguably the dumbest of the mentioned movies, it’s endlessly re-watchable, and astonishingly violent for a teen flick of the time. Curiously, one ‘Red Dawn’ screenwriter, Kevin Reynolds, went on to direct 1988’s ‘The Beast’ (aka. ‘The Beast of War’) — a far more liberal treatment of invasion that everyone should watch at least once in their life. I’ll make no secret that Conan’s mantra of “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women...” beat most life coaching in the quest for happiness, but ‘Red Dawn’ has a huge influence on me growing up. It didn’t educate me in the slightest on matters of race-relations, and whatever message other than shoot-the-bad-guys went over my pre-pubescent head. I was too short to catch anything other than explosions and good outfits emanating from the idiot box.

The best teen films of the ’80s were aspirational — combating vampires, werewolves and Black Lagoon creatures, hunting pirate treasure…’Red Dawn’ created a pinnacle. A parent-free, survivalist situation where people didn’t just get up with superficial wounding. That was it. Brat packing with the bonus of a body count. The current craze for covering a slow blog week by claiming that anyone wearing a nice coat pre-1980 is some kind of style role model is played, but it was ‘Red Dawn’ that instigated a personal preoccupation with military looks and outdoors gear. The Wolverines are dressed like standard 1984 teen douches at the opening of the film, but on running to the mountains, the goose-down, hood-up, brat pack backpack look begins — they evidently raided a North Face retailer before hitting the hills for some man-hugs and thankfully Robert’s father owned a wilderness store. It’s good gear for navigating Arapaho National Forest. The bags are scattered throughout the film, but during the first quarter, a grey down-filled coat is visible on 2 male leads. Beyond that, the whole damned film could be a great video lookbook for whatever brand has decided to “go outdoorsy” now. When W(Taps dropped their ‘Red Dawn’ collection in 2008, that fusion of militaristic collegiate was no coincidence.

1991’s ‘Toy Soldiers’ couldn’t reach the same heights, and Australian film ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’ can’t compete either. Alas, a real ‘Red Dawn’ remake is coming, with the Chinese, rather than a Russian, Nicaraguan and Cuban army as the bad guys. While I’m opposed to it for its lack-of-ideas, much like John Milius, who railed against the script a couple of months back and bemoaned Hollywood’s current idea vacuum, anti-reddawn2010.com is a Chinese site created by those furious that they’re about to be demonised. One thing’s for certain — those surviving kids won’t be as well-dressed as they were in 1984. As camo creeps back into your wardrobe in appropriately stealthy style over the coming months, pay homage to the Wolverines  — Capone-N-Noreaga’s impending ‘Camouflage Season’ mixtape says it all. It’s baaaaaaaaaack. Flicking through the Fall Nike Sportswear Japan lookbook, we’re about to be invaded stylistically too. That’s an invasion I’m anticipating…

I’d recommend this photo album to any fellow ‘Red Dawn’ fans – titled ‘Williams Photo Album’ it’s an album of on-set shots from the 1983 shoot in Las Vegas. Presumably a local and extra in the film took the pictures. There’s some great closeups of the movie’s propaganda designs in there…