In January 2020, The North Face reintroduced a throwback 90s line called Extreme. As the moniker implies, the original collection launched in 1988 uniquely for the brand’s big-mountain skiers. Extreme would be draped over the most progressive athletes who pushed the sport to new limits. To make that possible, Extreme apparel was designed to perform at the highest level and look like nothing else on the mountain.
Over the last 30 years, suffice it to say that The North Face has pushed the needle in big-mountain tech and gear. Extreme is no longer, well, that extreme. From new futuristic breathable membranes to insanely warm layering systems and slick gear that would belong in 007’s backpack, The North Face is now light years away from Extreme when it comes to elite athlete outfitting.
But there’s something about the 90s we can’t seem to shake. (BTW, Dunkaroos are coming back and it’s time to freak out.)
As The North Face relaunches two Extreme lines— the first on January 15 and the second on March 25, 2020— it’s banking on a heavy retro mood. The brand said the throwback 90 Extreme Collection is intended as streetwear. It’s similar to the 7 Summits Collection, if you spun it through a time warp.
Using an Extreme logo and ’90s styling and color blocking, the eight-piece Drop 1 shied away from hardcore mountain apparel and let its retro flag fly. We’re seeing a massive resurgence of ’90s sportswear transitioning to urban style in other brands like Fila and Reebok, so we’re not surprised The North Face came to play, too.
“Featuring design lines and inspiration from the 1990 edition of Extreme while incorporating a crossover color palette that meets us in the modern era, this collection reimagines the ’90s off the slopes look as a must-have for the city,” says a rep for The North Face.
In Drop 1 you’ll find a fleece pant, pullover hoodie, ball cap a la road cycling, short sleeve, shoulder bag, two jackets, and an Extreme Wind Suit — the most mountain-worthy piece in the line.
Each piece in 90 Extreme Collection draws on old school silhouettes and colorways from the OG collection. Fun fact: original Extreme pieces from the 90s are still being preserved and traded on the vintage market today and we’d expect a similar collector’s trend to happen with this relaunch.
The fiery red colorway is mixed with electric blue and black panels, and the ‘Extreme’ name is re-created in the font of a cursive neon sign. It’s fun to imagine TNF athletes rocking up to the mountain in these radical pieces, during a time when in-resort skiing was safe and dripping in pastels.
The North Face says Extreme was one of the first collections to shatter this status quo, inspiring a new era of athletes who sought bigger mountains, performed gutsier moves, and featured more style than ever on the slopes.
Yes, there have been updates to the 2020 iteration. The North Face will use all current materials to bring the 90 Extreme Collection back to life (i.e. gnarly zippers, nylon WindWall shell, Polyester Knit With FlashDry, etc.). In comparison to other sports-streetstyle brands, The North Face is the closest you’ll get to real outdoor and cold-weather apparel. It’s not just for looks … even though it has good looks.
In late March, Drop 2 bring an asphalt gray colorway to the mix, available online and in select retailers. Prices of the collection range from $30 to $240.
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