Douglas Tompkins from co-founder of The North Face to conservationist and enviromental activist
While this isn't a really a fashion post in the strictest sense, it is the brief story of a man who founded two global brands to become one of the world's greatest conservationists.
The North Face brand was established in 1968 in San Francisco, when Douglas Tompkins and Kenneth "Hap" Klopp created one of most famous brand names in outdoor adventure gear and clothing in the world and then also started the Esprit label with his now ex-wife Susie.
Born in Ohio in 1943, Tompkins grew up in New York, yet he worked as a mountain guide and trekking specialist and founded the California Mountaineering Guide Service, before starting The North Face in 1963 at the age of 21.
The North Face was one of the very first companies dedicated to outdoor equipment – their domed shaped designed tents were the first on the market and leisure wear.
In 1969, Tompkins sold The North Face and created Espirit which he later sold in 1990 which made him over $150 million. As an advocate of nature he then decided to invest his millions and dedicate himself body and soul to environmental activism and land conservation.
Tompkins has bought vast quantities of ranch and farmland in Chile and Argentina - conserving over 2 million acres of wilderness, more than any other private individual - to return it to nature and compared to other billionaires that profess greenwashing, nature preservation is a truly a mission for the man.
He founded the Foundation for Deep Ecology in 1990, which supports environmental activism, and The Conservation Land Trust in 1992, which works to protect wildlands primarily in Chile and Argentina and his first major conservation project was Pumalín Parkin Chile, an area of 320.000 hectares.
Other interventions by Tompkins have included the Corcovado National Park, the Iberá Project, the Melimoyu and Isla Magdalena conservation projects in coastal Chile and the Yendegaia project in the Tierra del Fuego.
Tompkins has also published books like: Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture, Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West, and Clearcut: The Tragedy of Industrial Forestry.
While Tompkins is no longer involved in The North Face, his legacy lives on as the company is fully committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility.