WL Gore & Associates, the company behind GORE-TEX, is entering direct-to-consumer retail.
Over its 63-year history, the Delaware-based materials company has sold GORE-TEX, its iconic waterproof fabric valued for its durability, breathability and brand visibility, to brands that use the material to manufacture water resistant clothing.
Recent examples include Reebok, which added a GORE-TEX liner to the Instapump Fury and Zig Kinetica II, and Stüssy, which recently discontinued several GORE-TEX capsules.
Now, WL Gore & Associates will sell direct to buyers for the first time through Viev, a new clothing brand that will specialize in GORE-TEX outerwear.
Short for “Variation in Everything”, Viev is named after Geneviève Gore, who founded WL Gore & Associates with her husband, Bill, in 1958. Eleven years later, Gore’s son, Bob, invented GORE-TEX.
Viev launched on October 21 with a flagship product, the Gemma Jacket, built with a GORE-TEX shell and PrimaLoft insulated interior. Interestingly, the piece – which costs $ 1,300 – is only available in women’s sizes.
“It’s not just a jacket,” reads a description of the garment. “It’s warmth in a white veil, shelter from a downpour and an invisibility cloak stealthily unfurling among a crowd.”
According to WWD, Viev plans to launch a wider range of products later this year. Menswear will launch in 2022.
DTC’s business models flourished during the pandemic, with the closure of many physical stores and the necessary boom in e-commerce.
Testament to the success of third-party sales: Eyewear giant DTC Warby Parker went public in September, and trendy underwear brand DTC Parade raised $ 20 million in a Series B funding round in October.
Viev could very well occupy a distinct place in the DTC landscape, given the enduring popularity of GORE-TEX.
That said, it remains unclear whether WL Gore & Associates will still sell GORE-TEX to trendy brands such as adidas, Converse and OFF-WHITE ™, collaborations that have helped bolster its image in the retail sphere. fashion.
By opting for DTC, the company appears to be avoiding the hype in favor of more control over its product and messaging.