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The North Face resets outerwear expectations with Futurelight apparel launch

The North Face claims to have changed the future of the outerwear industry with the unveiling of Futurelight jackets, pants, and bibs in its Summit Series, Steep Series and Flight Series collections.

Developed using innovative nanospinning technology, Futurelight will offer first of its kind breathable, waterproof protection.

The concept for Futurelight was born in the mountains out of specific requests from The North Face global athlete team looking for increased performance and breathability in their waterproof gear. Determined to reset the expectation that waterproof product is uncomfortable, heavy and stuffy, The North Face commenced a multi-year journey to create a waterproof fabric that’s not only soft, light, flexible and comfortable – but also durable and sustainably designed. After three years of research, product development and extensive lab and field testing, The North Face introduces the first apparel made from the brand’s proprietary, Futurelight fabric.

Scott Mellin, Global General Manager of Mountain Sports at The North Face, said: “Product innovation, pushing the boundaries and having the courage to disrupt have been a part of The North Face DNA since our company was founded over 50 years ago. For far too long, we have been forced to adapt to our clothing and environment. With the introduction of Futurelight, we are finally offering clothing that adapts to our needs. The introduction of this fabric is a pivotal moment for our brand, for the future of the apparel industry, and for consumers who will no longer need to sacrifice comfort or air permeability for waterproof protection.”

The nanospinning process used to create Futurelight fabric has allowed the brand to add unmatched air permeability into the membrane of a fabric for the first time. The process creates nano-level holes, allowing for incredible porosity while maintaining total waterproofness, letting air move through the material and provide more venting than ever before.

Nanospinning also gives The North Face designers the ability to adjust weight, stretch, breathability, durability, construction (knit or woven), and texture during the manufacturing process to match both athletes’ and consumers’ end-use, activity or environment. Designers can customize the fabric for specific usage, for example, by increasing breathability in garments for aerobic pursuits or increasing protection for harsh, wet climates. The ability to adjust these factors in fabric construction and manufacturing is pushing the limits of innovation in apparel, equipment and accessories.

Mellin said: “We are starting with jackets and outdoor apparel, but we won’t stop there. Futurelight can theoretically make anything breathable, waterproof and for the first time – comfortable. This technology is paving the way for the future of technical fabrics and provides endless possibilities across The North Face product categories.”

With the launch of Futurelight, The North Face is also aiming to deliver industry-leading sustainability practices through its new fabric creation process. These advances have allowed the brand to responsibly create three-layer garments with face and backer layers made up of 90 per cent recycled materials.

Futurelight has been tested extensively for more than 400 continuous days by 15 members of the brand’s global athlete team, proven through use in the highest peaks and harshest environments, including the Himalayas’ Lhotse and Everest, in temperatures ranging from -50 degrees F to 60 degrees F.

While testing Futurelight The North Face team alpinist, Jim Morrison climbed, and skied three 8,000 metre peaks 2018, including Everest, Cho Oyu and the world’s first descent of Lhotse Couilor with his partner Hilaree Nelson.

Nelson, The North Face athlete team captain, said: “During the past two years, our world class team of climbers, skiers, alpinists, snowboarders and trail runners has been rigorously testing Futurelight across every discipline to prove this technology in varying weather conditions and climates all over the world. In all my years in the mountains, I’ve never experienced a product that moved and performed as well as Futurelight. It is creating a new paradigm for what I expect out of a waterproof material.”

Beyond The North Face athletes and internal testing labs, the brand worked with third-party independent experts including UL, a world-renowned safety science organization, to push the limit of the Futurelight fabric. UL tests waterproofing for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an organization that certifies first responder gear for firefighters, EMS and hazmat responders.

To celebrate the brand’s most anticipated product launch to-date, Futurelight apparel is brought to life through a campaign film and imagery featuring several world-class athletes including The North Face Team Captain and ski-mountaineer Hilaree Nelson, snowboarder Leslie Pelosi, and climber Jimmy Chin and Andres Marin.

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