The South Butt: An Alternative to the North Face

Walking the halls of Ames High, it seems that there are quite a few explorers and adventurers on the loose, clad in North Face apparel. Are they all here for the extreme rock climbing wall in the gym? Is there a mysterious cave under the high school that they’re here to spelunk? Both of these statements are false: the rock climbing wall sucks. So what’s the deal? The popular "North Face" logo can be spotted almost everywhere, partly due to the fact that the logo is on both the front and back of the coat. The product placement resembles that of a NASCAR car. "[North Face coats] are a bit like Uggs," sophomore Sarah Marnin said. "They’re really popular but I still like them anyway." And like Uggs, they are also very expensive. "During my first year at Ames High, 1996, I bought a North Face jacket," math teacher Troy Hill said. In order to justify the high cost of the brand, Hill said, "I told my wife I would wear it for the rest of my life and never buy another winter coat." Though there are probably exceptions, it seems that lot of students and teachers at Ames High (including myself, I must admit) enjoy wearing North Face attire, but are not living up to the "Never Stop Exploring" trademark of the brand they are sporting. There’s nothing wrong with this situation ; after all, it’s just a coat. But for those who would rather just stay inside than climb a mountain, there is the South Butt. The South Butt is a parody brand of the North Face. According to the brand’s website, "the South Butt idea is simple: stay comfortable, relaxed, and always be yourself." They sport the slogan "Never Stop Relaxing." Jimmy Winkelmann, an 18-year-old college freshman from West St. Louis County, started the brand as way to help pay for college. The South Butt is facing legal trouble from the North Face, however. On December 10, 2009, the North Face Apparel Corp. (a $7 billion dollar colossus of a company), filed a federal lawsuit seeking damages from the South Butt, Winkelmann, and a St. Louis pharmacy that sells South Butt apparel. "This is bigger than facing down a bully in the school yard, this goes to the heart of competition, the concept of an open marketplace, and the freedom of the public to make their own choice,” said Albert S. Watkins, the legal counsel for the South Butt and Jimmy Winkelmann, in an official press release. In response to the lawsuit, the South Butt created a Facebook Application entitled the "Face or Butt Challenge," that "allows you to see the difference between a face and a butt." Additionally, a portion of the disclamer on the South Butt website reads: "If you are unable to discern the difference between a face and a butt, we encourage you to buy North Face products." KMOX Radio in St. Louis reports that as of January 27, the judge has ordered the South Butt and the North Face to try and mediate there differences. Because of the lawsuit, the South Butt has experienced a surge of publicity. A school in St. Louis has even banned the apparel, declaring it "inappropriate." South Butt apparel can currently be purchased online at their website, But even with the option of this new spin-off product, some still stay true to the good old North Face brand. "I was sick last week and shoveling snow off my roof," Hill said. "When I came inside, my wife said, ‘What were you doing? You’re still sick!’ I told her, ‘It’s okay honey, the North Face will take care of me."