HAIM On Prom Dresses, Thrift Shopping & Stealing Each Other’s Jackets

Photo: courtesy of The North Face.
When a demanding performance schedule takes three sisters across climates and continents, from sandy summers in Sydney to the depths of winter in Norway, one can only imagine the kinds of conversations happening. For Danielle, Este, and Alana Haim, the trio behind the L.A.-based pop-rock band of the same family name, one sentence, in particular, is repeated with such regularity, it could be mistaken for the refrain of an unreleased song: Who took my North Face jacket?

“That sentence has been said many times on tour,” Alana tells me over Zoom once she and Danielle are finally able to log into our call after some technological difficulties. It’s the kind of pandemic-era communication pitfall that Alana assures me, the creator of the cyber meeting, isn’t my fault. Mercury, she points out, is in retrograde. “You’re totally fine, it’s very much cosmic,” she says, before moving on to the subject of missing outerwear. When I ask who among the three sisters is usually to blame when an article of clothing vanishes, Alana is quick to identify herself.

“It’s very rare that I wear anything that’s 100% mine. I think 90% of my outfits on a daily basis are from Danielle’s closet,” she confesses. “She loves it,” Alana continues at the exact moment when Danielle chimes in agreement: “It’s so fun for me to get new things, and if my sisters take them, it’s all good.” It’s proof that they’re very much tuned in to one another’s thoughts in that telepathic, sisterly kind of way. I can only imagine Este, who wasn’t on the call, is on that same wavelength too. And Alana and Danielle assure me that if I like their stories, I should hear Este’s. She’s the best storyteller of the bunch. 
This affinity for multifaceted storytelling extends to discussions about their favorite jackets from The North Face. The coats have seen these sisters through every step of producing and performing their music, from morning hikes around LA where lyrics were ideated and contemplated, to trips on the tour bus where they’ve doubled as “security blankets,” Danielle says. To her, a classic and durable jacket is like armor that can be worn when exploring new places. To Alana, it's a time capsule preserving tickets, stickers, and various other commemorative curios that can be revisited at the end of a big tour. 

“They do stand the test of time," says Daneille. "They’re so well made that you kind of only need one jacket for your whole life, which really just makes room for millions of stories in your jacket.” It’s this sentimentality that’s practically woven into the fabric of their jackets that compelled HAIM to participate in The North Face’s It’s More Than A Jacket campaign, launching today in celebration of the memories created over the brand’s more than 55-year history. To capture the meaning behind every piece of gear, The North Face has created its first-ever crowdsourced digital archive, calling on wearers around the world to post tales and images of their own well-loved items on social media using the hashtag #MoreThanAJacket. HAIM are among several cultural figures and artists submitting their coats to the archive, along with rapper RZA and professional skier Ingrid Backstrom. 
In addition to releasing six new collections over the coming months that pay homage to the same legacy of adventure captured featured in this digital archive — including a version of the retro, fan-fave Nuptse puffer made with 100% recycled fabrics — The North Face is partnering with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to bring the archive to life through a series of participatory programs at the museum next year. As far as Danielle and Alana’s personal contributions to the campaign, both jackets were obtained second-hand. Danielle’s was passed on (or, as she admits, stolen) from a friend, and Alana’s was scooped up at a vintage store in San Francisco: “This jacket was like, bright blue, and it stood out to me and I honestly feel like it kind of chose me.”

"Nothing is better than a good vintage t-shirt. That’s going to be the name of my memoir."

Alana haim
The sisters are no strangers to the clothes-sharing economy, and not just as it relates to borrowing from each other’s closets. Since their high school days, they've been digging through $1 sales at their favorite local thrift store, where finding something actually good was akin to “basically winning the Olympics,” according to Alana. There was a lot of turning long dresses into mini dresses and cutting pants into shorts, Danielle remembers, and she even made her own prom dress inspired by Phoebe Philo’s design aesthetic at Chloé circa 2005. Going thrift shopping continues to be a bonding activity for HAIM while they’re on tour, which has allowed Alana to amass an impressive vintage t-shirt collection.

“Nothing is better than a good vintage t-shirt. That’s going to be the name of my memoir,” she says. Nothing... except, perhaps, the gloriously blue, marshmallow-y jacket she acquired on that fated outing in SF, which enters The North Face's virtual hall of fame today. “Every day when I go out, the last thing that I put on is this jacket. It really does go with everything. It just looks right," she says. “It looks right with everything.”

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