Get yourself an article in The New York Times and suddenly you’re everywhere. After a May 2019 feature on the Brooklyn-based Kaws, Brian Donnelly’s painter identity, the artist’s work now appears everywhere. In the last year alone, his double-exxed eyes are on Reese’s cereal boxes, Supreme shirts, Nike kicks, and, as of February 17, now on a brand line designed for The North Face.
The North Face XX Kaws collection delivers high-tech performance, functional style, and limitless inspiration for epic days of exploration. The winter gear is made for the mountain and the lodge — a snappy, signature curation, all blended lines and fabric patches covering high-quality coats and snow pants on The North Face’s Freeride and Icons of Exploration collections. Impossible-to-look-away patterns, on the other hand, shape a subtle yet bright color palette — blue on black, bordered by purple swaths, forest pine dancing with sea green, black atop of black.
Initially assigned to bring 1994 Mountain Light Jackets to life in at least three distinct The North Face colorways, Connelly wasn’t able to just stop there. The collection spills over into a psychedelic series of multi-colored Nuptse jackets, Freeride fleeces, tracksuits, down pants, a balaclava, beanies, and bags. Each item is, of course, tattooed with the Kaws XX tag alongside The North Face’s recognizable logo.
Like The North Face, Kaws ascended lofty peaks that few are able to claim to have surmounted. Unlike The North Face, Kaws was wearing a jet pack when he launched, giving a simple, graphic that cast all Xs for eyes. Donnelly’s work would first appear in a telephone booth, figures invented in his head and reinvented recognizable ‘toons. His riff on Mickey Mouse in “Companion,” was one of the first to receive Kaws’ signature double Xs.
Kaws worked his way up from the concrete before the catchy characters became toy staples. Connelly transcended the illegal for the commercialized, jumping into collaborations of all sizes like a twisted real-life Krusty the Clown — Xs on toys, tees, and all types of products. Kaws opened his Tokyo apparel store, OriginalFake, before he ever had an art exhibition. Now his work is a staple of 21st-century American culture.
The North Face XX Kaws collection is the brand’s very first line designed by the legendary artist. For this curated clothing, Kaws uses The North Face’s iconic silhouettes as a canvas, reimagining his work in the great outdoors. The result finds its identity in the American landscape’s solid colors and organic patterns.
Available in the U.S., select global markets and on The North Face’s homepage, pieces in this special curation range from $55 to $550.