Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Now Face North
I don't think many people who wear The North Face fleece jackets have ascended the north face of anything. What's more, The North Face wearer announces his superiority of dress, his authority on yuppie sportswear, without ever actually showing his face. I am starting to hate The North Face, because of its lack of a face. All I see is its cold shoulder.
Until this strange positioning of embroidery coupled with the always already "away" positioning of the North Facers faces when in close proximity to non-North Facers faces really started to get to me (which it did, after a cool season of riding the 'L'), I did not even know if there was a logo on the front of The North Face jackets. So often did they turn the other shoulder that I had to visit The North Face dot com to look at a fleece jacket for myself, to determine if it was to blame for its wearers' paradoxical simultaneity of coldness and warmth. The jacket, as it turns out, does have a front logo. So maybe it is not wholly to blame for its apparent one-sidedness? But yet -- could it be that the front logo is intended for the admiration of the sporty affluent fuck's sporty affluent fucking friends, while the back logo is there for the rest of us to covet? The fleece aficionado can keep his power structure of branding in place, without having to gaze upon the pitiable face and shabby woolen garments of the less warmly outfitted citizen of winter.
Have North Facers even seen the commercials for these products? I think the fleeces are so much a part of their cultural code they need not be sold to. The North Face gear, at any rate, is advertised to real outdoor adventure types. Those real outdoor adventure types do amazing things in those advertisements. They don't just stand around on the 'L' ignoring humanity and iPodding their brains to shit. You can do that in a Kmart jacket.
Now I want to punch one in the shoulder blade.
I am not averse to outdoor wear for city use. I am wearing REI pants and a Columbia sweater as I write this on the commuter train. (But those are store-brand and low-end outdoor garments, respectively.) I am also not totally averse to wearing The North Face gear (don't you love how they've built "The" into the name so you can't even write about it properly?). I have an awesome pair of ("The") North Face pants that I got on clearance. They have a logo embroidered on the back pocket. But dammit, if you want to see the front of them, I will gladly turn around. And if you want to say "Hey, nice pants!" I will gladly turn around and say "Thank you!" with my face.