The North Face's Search and Rescue line, which boasts an array of the brand's most iconic archive pieces, is hard to improve upon, but the recent collaboration with artist Shantell Martin might have done just that. Whilst the line is designed for bold explorers of nature and the outdoors, the London-born, New York-based multi-media and visual adventurer is no stranger to exploration themselves. At first glance, Martin's instantly recognizable black-and-white works are playful and fun, but they examine much deeper themes of intersectionality and identity, conveying important messages behind their aesthetically pleasing and beautiful lines.
Having worked with Nike, PUMA, The New York City Ballet, and Kendrick Lamar, Martin is adept at collaboration. Instead of just licensing out their works for random placements, with each partnership Martin focuses on portraying a message. The North Face collaboration is no different. For this project, Martin has produced original prints that symbolize not only the importance of overcoming challenges, but humanity’s desire to connect, create community, and yet still retain individuality.
On the collection, Martin says: "The North Face Search and Rescue archives provided a platform for me to examine what exploration means, not only for myself but for others who feel the need to connect both with nature and the world around them. I’m excited for everyone to see the work come to life!"
Although the collection counts everything you'd need for a trek through alpine terrain including wind jacket, hoodies, sweats, duffel bags, hiking sneakers, and ripstop wind pants, thanks to Martin's artistic touch, it slips seamlessly into your everyday wardrobe, making it the ideal gear to equip you for the winter ahead. Our personal highlights have to be the classic Sherpa fleece and Himalayan Parka. Both silhouettes are not usually seen with all-over prints and are legends in their own right but Martin's work brings them to G.O.A.T status.
The release is accompanied by a short film that follows Martin's creative process, examining the link between their inspiration, flow and the meaning of exploration. To further bring the launch to life, The North Face and Martin have unveiled a mural at Truman's Brewery on Brick Lane in London that gives access to an exclusive AR experience. The experience features six unique digital worlds that are inspired by the concepts of identity and self-expression, tying back to the campaign film's narrative.
Londoners, head to Truman's Brewery on Brick Lane to check out the AR experience. Everyone else, shop the collection at The North Face.