The comments that TNF is rubbish are themselves rubbish. I have everything from Descente to to Obermeyer to Marker to HH to Patagonia and TNF stuff holds up just as well. The newly-bought stuff is just as well-made as the stuff I have from 10+ years ago. I suspect that many here think TNF's quality has gone down because they see more "Made in China" tags on TNF stuff these days.
It's common to dismiss an item as inferior when you see "Made In China" on the tag, but these days, that's just bogus. There is an article in today's LA Times about the rising quality of Chinese-made violins as compared to violins made in Europe. The Chinese, in many ways, have surpassed the Euopeans as the world top violin makers in terms of bot quality AND quantity.
I also have some personal experience in this arena. My wife and I own a fairly well-known couture handbag line that is sold in high-end stores such as Barneys and Neiman-Marcus in the US and Harvey Nichols in London and Hong Kong (among others). Up until a few years ago, we manufactured everything in the US. In 2004, we sent a portion of our manufacturing to Costa Rica, and in 2005 we moved it all to Costa Rica because the workmanship was far superior but also less expensive than what we got in the US.
The real eye-opener, however, came just last month when we hired an outside firm to oversee our manufacturing because our volume had gotten to the point where we couldn't oversee it in-house any longer. Our desire was always to manufacture in Italy because, in the minds of the fashion-buying public (particularly in America), Made in Italy is synonymous with high quality. All our leather comes from Italy, so it made sense to keep it all there. We provided our consultant with a sample bag handmade by our pattern maker. He had three copies made at factories in three different countries. He sent the unlabeled finished copies back to us and asked us to choose which one had the best workmanship. The three countries were Italy, US and China, but we didn't know which bag was which until after we made our choice.
You can guess the rest: far and away, the bag made in China displayed the best workmanship, followed by the Italian-made bag and then the American-made bag, which was clearly inferior. Of course, the Chinese-made bag was 1/3 the price of the other two (it was made in the same factory that produces for Coach - another line that is known for its good workmanship). In the end, we decided to manufacture in Italy and the US, but only because the public's perception of Chinese manufacture is so poor, which we felt would be difficult to defend until we become better known (especially considering that some of our bags retail at close to $1000). There is no doubt that some Chinese manufacturing is inferior to American and and European counterparts. But the fact is, most of it is equal and sometimes better than what we get here or in Europe.
As I said earlier, I have never had a problem with TNF, pre-ownership change or post. I recently was hot to buy an Arc'Teryx jacket, but in the end, I just preferred the offerings from TNF. I also preferred the feel of TNF vs the stiffness of the Arc'Teryx stuff I tried.
And I find the previous comment about buying Arc'Teryx and leaving TNF to the fashion crowd ridiculous. Um, doesn't Arc'Teryx cost like twice as much as TNF? We've looked at the workmanship of Arc'Teryx, and it's indeed very good, but not anywhere near twice as good as TNF's. In some cases it's only as good. I wear my TNF stuff every ski day of every year, 35-50 days a year, and I've never had so much as a stitch pop.
Brand snobbery remains alive and well in the world of skiing!