“So that’s what’s fundamentally different about us, is we took the 40 years, the four decades of knowledge that we have, and we imparted that into these unique membranes that do have a long life and the long-lasting durability of waterproof-ness that are necessary to call it GORE-TEX apparel.”
– Matthew Decker
- W.L. Gore’s Global Sales and Marketing Leader for the Fabrics Division, Nora Stowell, and Global Technical Leader for the Consumer Fabrics, Matthew Decker, join Kristin Carpenter on this week’s episode of Channel Mastery.
- Nora and Matthew have been instrumental in launching GORE-TEX’s latest iteration of advanced micro-porous polyethylene, the ePe system, over a decade in development in partnership with brands like Arc’teryx, Patagonia, Adidas, Solomon, and Dakine.
- Hear how GORE-TEX elevates the value equation of ingredient branding with sustainable materials. As the consumer evolves, so does sustainability in products and the environmental imprint on our businesses – to last longer, lower carbon footprint, light/thinner, and be PFC free.
- We are delighted to share the stage with Matt and Nora as they detail the production process, strategic partnerships, the Bob Gore’s Shower Test, and the future of the GORE-TEX brand.
In this episode of the Channel Mastery Podcast, I sit down with Nora Stowell and Matthew Decker of GORE-TEX to discuss the next iteration for their ingredient brand in their upcoming fall 2022 collection of expanded polyethylene (EPE). In addition to performance, the new line adds responsibility for their materials – which resonates with the current market demand from retailers to the end-consumer. Join us and listen to how a decade of work has come to fruition!
Nora Stowell grew up in the mountains of Maine and has been an outdoor enthusiast ever since. As Global Sales and Marketing Leader for the Fabrics Division, she leads a global team in various markets to support GORE-TEX in their consumer and technical footwear, garments, gloves, and accessories products. When she’s not at Gore, Nora is the Chairman of the Board for Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), serves as a mentor and board member for Camber Outdoors, and is also on the advisory board of Backcountry.com’s Women’s Leadership Coalition.
Matthew Decker is the Global Technical Leader for the Consumer Fabrics business. He has worked for Gore for 15 years as an engineer, scientist, and technical leader in the Central Research and Fabrics Divisions. He has led technology and product development across various markets and applications, including structural firefighting, consumer and military protective clothing, and architectural fabrics. Before his current role, he provided technical leadership to the Footwear, Gloves, and Accessories business and the Comfort Research Group.
Bringing ePe ( expanded polyethylene) to market, Bob Gore, product testing, uniqueness of the outdoor industry, partner brands, product testing process, brand trust, brand trust in the outdoor industry, PFC-free, low carbon footprint, environmental footprint, Higg MSI goals, OEKO-TEX’s Bluesign, product development, Bob Gore Shower Test, sustainability, consumer buying habits, fitness for end-use, partnership with brand partners, responsible performance, ePTFE
“So our intent here is to hold a responsibility to the same standard that we do performance, and that really resonates with our consumers and customers based on the sustainability journey that they’re on.” – Nora Stowell
“So some pretty leading brands that are making moves, whether that’s in premium performance, but also being sustainable and protecting the planet at the same time.” – Nora Stowell
‘We’re constantly screening things. So over time, we’ve seen different materials that come close to meeting the types of properties and attributes that we need. But EPE was the first one where we saw a real opportunity to engineer at a really basic polymer level into it what we wanted from a lightweight perspective, a really high strength perspective, and thinness.” – Matthew Decker
“The first time I got really excited about the potential here was when we saw a footwear field trial come back and of probably 50 different pairs shoes that we had in the field. All of a sudden, those EPE-base laminates were looking from a durability, waterproofness perspective and from a consumer perception perspective were looking a lot like the existing GORE-TEX laminates that we field today.” – Matthew Decker
“So pretty early on, he (Bob Gore) was very aware of what we were doing, and he had a prototype garment. He did his traditional Bob Gore shower test with it, and it held up to that, which is a real kind of almost entry into any development. Bob’s got to buy into what you’re doing. At that point in time, he could have said, “We don’t need to do this. I don’t want to do this,” and that really would’ve been the end of it. But he very much understands or understood that products and technologies need to evolve as markets and the needs around those markets change. He appreciated that a need for a complementary material set like EPE was something that GORE-TEX and W.L. Gore and Associates needed to develop and invest in. So he became a really strong supporter of that. With that, as well as the technical data set that we developed and the confidence that we built internally over several years, was really what enabled us to feel like we could make this decision. We could start to transition some of our consumer-based products in this direction and then start to build the confidence with our brands like Nora’s been talking about.” – Matthew Decker