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How The North Face Became the Coolest Thing to Wear Right Now — Even If You’re Not the Outdoorsy Type

Ten years ago walking through a college campus wearing a boxy North Face puffer jacket in the middle of winter wouldn’t have been a fashion statement. It was normcore style at it’s finest. Now, The North Face has managed to carve out a sweet spot between essential outdoor gear and the influencer must-have to become the nostalgic necessity in your closet.

While it has long been a standout in the outdoor space, the label is making its way out of the woods and onto city streets with the likes of celebrities Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski all wearing the latest looks from The North Face, which are in fact designs that are decades old.

Its retro appeal, for instance, is part of what is gaining traction with a new set of fashion-focused consumers. Products such as its 1996 Nupste Jacket, the signature puffer, and the 1995 Denali fleece, are connecting with a different demographic, so much so that it is being sold in retailers outside of the outdoor realm, including Gen Z favorites Urban Outfitters, Asos and Revolve.

But this recent boom didn’t happen over night.