People think VHS is dead; that’s not the case. The nostalgia runs strong. You might argue my impressions are colored by the fact that I live near Portland, where VHS tapes are for sale at every Goodwill and you can still rent VHS video from stores like Movie Madness. In fact, I once rented a VHS Chaucer themed porno from them (it was only OK). But, you would be wrong. Just look at the retro Rogue One trailer from the spring.
But, a surer sign that VHS nostalgia is in full effect is the surprise launch of “Technical Difficulties,” a collaboration between Alameda, CA-based outdoor lifestyle brand The North Face, and New York City retailer Extra Butter.
The collection’s inspirations are pretty apparent in their use of saturated color blocking and white noise tones, which the brand says are a nod to the “nostalgia of lo-fi TV and VHS aesthetics of the 20th century.” You should recognize the bands of color from their origins as part of the SMPTE color bars, the retro test patterns used in old-school media by The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. The collab includes a Nuptse jacket, a Denali Fleece, a knit beanie, and an unconstructed pack hat.
In addition to the collection, there is also a pop-up shop at Giselle Space on 125 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. It opened today and will run until January 10. And, since the items are only available through the Extra Butter store, getting your hands on this gear will take some creativity if you are outside New York.