New York, one of hip-hop’s epicenters in the 1990s, was a place where much of its influential style took shape. The Nuptse was part of it. As streetwear expert Ross Wilson explained in Highsnobiety: “With the icy chill of the Hudson River running through its avenues, the city can become unbearably cold during January and February, so the Nuptse’s simple styling and 700-fill goose down insulation ensured it quickly became a NY staple, alongside Timberland 6-inch boots, Karl Kani jeans and oversized Polo Sport sweatshirts.”

The Nuptse trickled into prep schools too, including among kids emulating the image projected by hip-hop. “Their heads chuck back and forth inside North Face jackets to Tupac bumping on the sound system: Ain’t nothin but a gangsta party—,” Nancy Jo Sales wrote in her 1996 New York Magazine story, “Prep-School Gangsters.”

It also filtered into the city’s skate scene, which had a hub in the downtown skate shop Supreme, founded in New York in 1994.

Supreme has been a key brand in streetwear’s ascent, and a regular collaborator with The North Face, releasing its own versions of the Nuptse. The ties to streetwear and hip-hop also likely have some influence on why guys such as Kanye West and designer Virgil Abloh have been spotted wearing Nuptses in recent years. At the same time, designers including Junya Watanabe and Sacai’s Chitose Abe have done their own collaborations with The North Face, adding to the brand’s fashion cred.

Helped along as well by the 1990s revival and the borrowing of hiker gear as fashion, the heat has continued building around The North Face and the Nuptse. In September, the company re-released the original 1996 version, featuring a slightly different baffle construction and a boxier silhouette. The North Face’s parent company, VF Corp., highlighted it the next month during a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings. “The launch was supported as a key pillar of our ‘New Explorers’ campaign and was highlighted in our first-ever urban brand experience,” CEO Steve Rendle said. “It was sold out in minutes. The North Face is re-energized.”

In its most recent quarter, VF Corp reported that The North Face’s sales grew 16%. Rendle told investors that a return to double-digit growth in the Americas led those results. It takes a lot of products to lift a whole brand’s sales, and the Nuptse looks to be one of those lending its muscle.

The jacket’s history at this point is older than a lot of the kids wearing it. The design has proved long-lasting, and a few decades later, the Nuptse is a hit again.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.