’90s The North Face Is Back, But With a New Eco Story

The North Face jackets were all the rage in the 1990s. Now, the iconic models are back with a focus on sustainability.

Ah, the ’90s. You could hear Pearl Jam’s “Ten” echoing out of college dorm rooms. Flannel was in. Baggy pants and Rollerblades ruled the sidewalks. And, at least for the early part of the decade, almost nobody had a cellphone.

And in the midst of this nascent era of tech (raise your hand if you got your first email address in the ’90s!), especially in cold climates like where I lived at the University of Minnesota, a ubiquitous style emerged: The North Face jackets.

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It seemed like The North Face came out of nowhere in the 1990s. The puffy jacket roared onto the scene as premium cold-weather survival gear, and even in cities, you’d see the brand everywhere.

But the old TNF jackets missed the mark in a way nobody was talking about back in the ’90s. They used fresh raw materials and had no eye toward sustainability.

Fast forward 25ish years and The North Face is revamping this iconic line with a clearer eye to the future.

The North Face Eco Heritage Collection

This week, The North Face drops the Eco Heritage Collection. The collection comprises three jacket styles that were cornerstones of the brand’s lineup: the Eco Nuptse Jacket ($249), Eco Nuptse Vest ($179), and Eco Mountain Jacket ($279).

If you, like me, happened to live through the ’90s, you’ll remember these styles. All models are available for both men and women.

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The Eco Nuptse Jacket and Eco Nuptse Vest were legit mountaineering pieces. They reached many of the world’s summits before blowing up on the street scene. Today’s relaunch is very similar but now has 600-fill recycled goose down and recycled polyester to create less of an impact on our planet.

TNF claims that using recycled materials in this line — rather than the alternative — is akin to taking 955 cars off the road for a year or removing 196,344 bags of trash from the landfill.

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The Eco Mountain Jacket was introduced as a shell jacket. Today’s relaunch uses recycled fabric only. It’s a fully waterproof shell thanks to TNF’s proprietary laminate material.

And the brand claims the recycled nature of this fabric reduces the environmental impact “equivalent to driving around the planet 1,000 times.”

So if you’re looking for a quick blast from the past and don’t have one of these old coats in your closet, TNF has a fresh, more sustainable option. From what we’ve seen, ’90s fashion is rebounding.

And while we’d say Jerry Seinfeld can keep his mom jeans, a lot of people will enjoy hopping back on the TNF puffy train.

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Sean McCoy
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Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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