The North West Of England: A  Love Letter To The North Face and Nike 110s

The North West Of England: A Love Letter To The North Face and Nike 110s

Jake Ivill has belonged to the Biancissimo family since we both met in Tokyo last summer. His Manchester way of seeing things and his connection to the fine and sometimes not so fine art of growing up in the streets of the North West of England made him one of my number one sources for UK culture. A while ago I've asked Jake to explain to me how The North Face got so famous on the streets of England, and instead of just writing me a normal answer he sent me this love letter to the North West and dead good coats.


The North West Of England: A  Love Letter To The North Face and Nike 110s

pictures by @oi_mon

It rains a good 50% of the year in the North West, and most other days it’s looking like it’s gonna piss it down at any minute. So it’s really no surprise that the North West has gotten really, really quite good at a game of coats and outerwear. Match that with there being so much rain that most people are stuck inside either at home being creative from making music for the diverse music scene to practicing their letter forms to hit the walls and other things with as soon as a nice day (or night) comes along.

Or they’re down the pub, trying to impress the other half by being best dressed while consuming the best substances an area with 2 successful ports can offer. This means there is plenty of musicians, artist, scallies and shop owners out there constantly looking for the best outerwear and coats to keep them looking fucking mint and dry. It’s an important balance.

Growing up on an estate in Salford there was one thing clothing wise we were all obsessed with wanting to have, that was a pair of 110s (the Air Max 95 to anyone who doesn’t know). None of us had a pair though, apart from the older lads but when you’re 12 and you’re going to your parents for an £110 pair of trainers it’s not happening, also they’re shite for taking free kicks like Beckham and that’s all we were arsed about being able to do.

One thing everyone had was a proper good coat though, when you’re out all day playing manhunt (a kind of hide and seek with fighting involved) and heads and v’s you’ve gotta be prepared to be doing it in the rain. The estate we grew up on was just over the road from the Henri Lloyd factory so thanks to the smack heads needing quick money most of us were decked out in them, made in England Henri Lloyd coats for £30 a go. Mad. But Helly Hansen and more importantly The North Face were what everyone wanted. Helly Hansen in navy for school and then The North Face in black for the streets. No one had them though, and if they did it was one or the other.

What happened though was once we all started getting to the age where you could earning  everyone started getting on them. 110s and The North Face jackets, you always knew if someone was earning because they’d have them and you’d either be proper jealous or you’d be judging them loads on whether they had the right ones. I’m still like that to this day, wear 110s religiously and even though I’ve got pure coats now, I still keep a few The North Face ones in there, dark colours, always goretex and always a proper good peaked hood, got to have a good hood. Wasn’t mad rough where I grew up, but that hood felt like a safety blanket when you had to cut through the other estates to get to McDonalds.

As I got older we moved away from where I grew up, somewhere a bit safer for my Mum and that, but no matter what when you’re in town, abroad or on the internet you attract those lads with the same stories, and not just from estates in the North West, all over England. Those lads with haircuts done by their mums in kitchens who grew up coveting dead good coats and Nike trainers went on to become musicians, graffiti artists, gobshites in the pub, office workers and your average weekend drug dealers but you best know they’re all doing it in a dead good The North Face coat, no matter where they are in the world.

So next time you see someone with a proper good haircut and an even better coat, you best know how much it means to them. Oh, and remember, North West is best.

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