It’s not heresy to say that the North Face is better known for its winter-ready puffer jackets than for springtime clothes. But the outdoorsy brand’s latest “Urban Exploration” line, set to drop this month, seems ready to change all that. It is the third collection produced in collaboration with Japanese designer Kazuki Kuraishi, who has been doing his thing to elevate the legendary brand’s basics for several years now. The entire collection is built to be mixed and matched, and feels like the kind of thing that’ll kick-start any spring wardrobe—whether you live in the city, the mountains, or any other socially distant space in between.
Familiar North Face signatures abound: windproof parkas, water-resistant overshirts, and bold graphic T-shirts. But a closer look reveals that Kuraishi has pared back many of the garments to their essentials. Details like buttons and stitching are tonal, matched to the fabric, making for a simplified silhouette without distraction. Utilitarian accessories such as straps, zippers, and clasps are used sparingly and effectively. The collection works with the primary palette of earthy colors—tan, blue, and gray—and adds pops of bold yellow and red just when things are feeling slow.
It’s easy to forget that collaborations can be more than brand-building exercises. But this is that rare next-level combo: Kuraishi has taken the most advanced materials and construction that the North Face offers and tweaked and freaked them to create outdoor-friendly clothes…that you can also wear to the bodega. For decades, mountain climbers and stylish city dwellers alike have turned to the North Face to stay warm when the temperature starts to drop. Now, the brand is showing that it knows a few things about utilitarian-inspired spring fashion too. So, don’t be too surprised when you continue to see that familiar Half Dome–inspired label in the upcoming warmer months.