2020.06.03 Wed

Story of the development of the new standard Doro Light pants as told by Mr. Otsubo, Director of The North Face


The North Face, a long-established outdoor brand, was founded 55 years ago.

As is well known, this company has created a lot of wonderful outdoor gear and clothing, including the Sierra parka, which was developed by capitalizing on the expertise gained from manufacturing sleeping bags and set the precedent for Gore-Tex® down jackets and mountain parkas that keep out rain while letting warm, moist air out.

One of the materials used by The North Face, which continues to create advanced outdoor clothing, in recent years is Solotex®.

In order to hear the story behind these products, we interviewed Mr. Otsubo who organizes the planning, design and even promotion as the product director.


A range of wear pieces from The North Face is winning support not only as outdoor wear but also for urban use due to its functionality. What do you think led to such recognition?

Early in the 2000s when I first began to work at The North Face, there was a very strong atmosphere of avoiding entry into the fashion field because the products made by the company as an outdoor brand might be potentially fatal.

Therefore, a mountain jacket should not be low-visibility black, for example, because it is worn when climbing a mountain. Of course, we understood that idea, but we thought that functional outdoor clothing could be worn for different occasions, such as on the street or for business purposes.

Based on the idea that offering a black jacket might be possible as a choice of coordinates if shops always told customers that they should select high-visibility colors for full-blown outdoor use; therefore, we began to produce such wear, and as a result, black items came to symbolize The North Face. The trend of wearing outdoor clothing for everyday use became popular at that time. This trend began from outerwear made of Gore-Tex® at first and gradually wearing clothing designed for the outdoors as everyday wear became popular among people, including innerwear and pants.

Now Doro Light pants, which were rolled out in the fall-winter season of 2017, have become a standard item.

Doro Light pants are made by adjusting the silhouette of Alpine Light pants, which ease of movement with a three-dimensional cut and use Solotex® for the material. Fortunately, the pants are best sellers in this category.

We made the pants high-waisted and darted the knees to increase the mobility of the waist and legs as much as possible, which resulted in winning popularity ease of movement and as functional pants from the very start of the release among fashion photographers and editors, and the pants then became a standard item. Although expensive, the pants are highly rated by users of the online shop, and I hear some consumers purchase more than one pair of the pants in different colors.

The pants are well-established in terms of fabric texture and the beauty of its silhouette. Why did you select Solotex® for the material?

Some of the requirements listed for the pants are that the material should be lightweight, breathable, stretchy, and durable without using polyurethane, which described Solotex®. As a candidate for the material, we found that Solotex® not only met the functionality we wanted but had a more natural, premium texture than we expected, so we decided to use it.

Where did the name “Doro Light pants” come from?

Different from the Alpine Light pants, which were designed for climbing, this pant was developed on the concept of walking. Therefore, we named the product Doro Light, wherein Doro has a double meaning of a “road” in English, along which we can easily go far, and D’oro, which means “gold” in Italian.

By referring to products not by item numbers but by names with stories, the products may be widely recognized by the public as well as easily spread by word of mouth or searched on the Internet, so I think the name is important.

These are the Doro Light shorts.

The shorts were created so that Doro Light pants could be used for a variety of different purposes, including running. These short pants can be worn in the water in summer and still feel good because they dry quickly. Therefore, you can even go to cafés and shop in these short pants because they do not look like cheap swimwear. The shorts come in a variety of colors, such as beige, khaki, and red, and I like all of those colors because they are bright and, at the same time, sophisticated.


We hear you collaborated with Teijin Frontier in developing T-shirts, including the fabric used for them.

In order to avoid the flat look that is typical of chemical fibers, we combined Solotex® with normal polyester to give the fabric a cotton-like natural feel. Because the t-shirts are made a littler larger, they offer a nice silhouette, as well as a rather thick fabric.

To tell the truth, around two years were required to complete the development of this material as we wanted. In creating a material from scratch, it is important to imagine the same goal between the representative of Teijin and me. So, we spent a great deal of time developing the material based on proper communication with each other.


How do you feel about the joint development of materials with Teijin?

As The North Face, our approach to materials is to have a definite objective, such as choosing the material that would realize the functionality that we require as opposed to starting the development of products by trying to create something from a specific material.

I know Teijin has a variety of original fiber materials, and each of them has distinctive characteristics, so it is easy to find candidate fibers from Teijin with a specific texture and function. Above all, Solotex® has many features of its own while it can expand its use by combining with other materials.