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The North Face addresses inequity in the outdoors with new council

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Outdoor brand The North Face has launched the ‘Reset Normal’ global initiative aimed at encouraging people everywhere to reset their lives through exploration, while also targeting Black and ethnic minorities to get outdoors.

As part of the campaign, the brand is launching the Explore Fund Council, a global fellowship with the goal of bringing together passionate experts across culture, entertainment, academia and the outdoors to develop ideas and potential scalable solutions to help support access to exploration. A full council is expected to be in place by spring 2021.

To kickstart the initiative, The North Face is donating 7 million US dollars and partnering with Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, producer and actor Lena Waithe as well as sponsored athlete, climber and Academy Award-winning director Jimmy Chin to help create “meaningful change”.

Both were chosen by The North Face for their work resetting their own industries for years, with the brand adding that they “bring unique perspectives and expertise to tackling the obstacles that currently prevent equitable exploration for all”.

“For me, exploration has always been a mindset. As a creative I see myself as a constant, curious explorer and I believe everyone can have and should have access to this right,” said Lena Waithe in a statement. “The only real way to see change happen is by helping to create it yourself. I’m excited to work with The North Face and all of the Explore Fund Council members so our collective perspectives can help diversify the outdoors and make it a more equal place for all.”

The North Face launches Explore Fund Council to make exploration accessible to all

Steve Lesnard, global vice president of marketing and product for The North Face, added: “For ten years, we've been working to reset the barriers to exploration and make it more accessible for all through our Explore Fund.

“But 2020 has proven we need to radically accelerate that work and collaborate with a broad-reaching community to help us do so. We’re really excited to work alongside changemakers like Lena and Jimmy, and I believe the Explore Fund Council will help us foster a new, more equitable era for the outdoor industry.”

The ‘Reset Normal’ campaign launches with a video by Sid Lee, featuring a voiceover from Waithe and music by Aloe Blacc that brings to life the crucial turning point being experiencing culturally in 2020 and shows how people can reset through the power of exploration.

In addition, The North Face athletes and ambassador partners will also create personal pledge videos that share their individual stories and aspirations about how they would like to reset their normal in 2020. The brand also plans to release easily shareable Instagram AR lenses and TikTok filters to encourage people everywhere to get involved and share how they pledge to reset their normal in 2020.

The North Face plans to address the need for equity and opportunity in the outdoor industry via additional programmes. This will include working with other partners and charities that help empower future explorers who are curious, interested and passionate about the outdoors, but may not have access to equipment, adventures or outdoors experts they can look up to and learn from.

Images: courtesy of The North Face

The North Face