W.L. Gore & Associates, the company behind GORE-TEX, is dipping its toe into direct-to-consumer retail.
For the duration of its 63-year history, the Delaware-based materials company has sold GORE-TEX, its signature weatherproof fabric beloved for its durability, breathability, and brand visibility, to brands that use the material to construct water-resistant apparel.
Now, W.L. Gore & Associates will sell directly to shoppers for the first time via Viev, a new clothing brand that will specialize in GORE-TEX outerwear.
Shorthand for "Variation in Everything," Viev is named after Genevieve Gore, who founded W.L. Gore & Associates with her husband, Bill, in 1958. Eleven years later, Gore's son, Bob, invented GORE-TEX.
Viev launched on October 21 with one hero product, the Gemma jacket, constructed with a GORE-TEX shell and an insulated PrimaLoft interior. Interestingly, the piece — which retails for $1,300 — is only available in women's sizing.
"This isn’t just a jacket," a description of the garment reads. "This is warmth in a whiteout, shelter from a downpour, and an invisibility cloak deploying stealth amongst a crowd."
According to WWD, Viev plans to launch a wider array of products later this year. Menswear will roll out in 2022.
DTC business models have thrived during the pandemic, thanks to the shuttering of many brick-and-mortar stores and the necessary rise of e-commerce.
A testament to the success of the third party-free sales: DTC eyewear giant Warby Parker went public in September, and trendy DTC underwear label Parade raised $20 million in a Series B funding round in October.
Viev could very well take up a distinct space in the DTC landscape, given the enduring popularity of GORE-TEX.
That said, it remains unclear whether W.L. Gore & Associates will still sell GORE-TEX to buzzy brands including adidas, Converse, and OFF-WHITE™, collaborations that have helped boost its image in the fashion sphere.
By going DTC, the company seems to be eschewing hype in favor of greater control over its product and messaging.