Stio is adding an ingredient to its outdoor clothing recipe: Gore-Tex.
Starting in the fall, “select new and inline styles” of hardshell, softshell and insulated items will feature Gore-Tex garment technologies, the Jackson company said in a press release about its new partnership with W.L. Gore & Associates, the Delaware company that developed Gore-Tex.
The addition strengthens Stio’s premium product range and demonstrates the company’s commitment to customers who want the “highest level of protection in their outdoor apparel,” Stio said.
“Gore-Tex is to outdoors as Kleenex is to facial tissue,” Stio Chief Product Officer Kelly Hill Shuptrine told the News&Guide.
People may come into a store looking for Gore-Tex, for example, and “what they mean is a waterproof jacket,” Shuptrine said. “As a brand we understand there’s value to that request.”
Stio will use two of the guaranteed waterproof technologies — Gore-Tex Pro Shell, created for extreme conditions, and Gore-Tex Performance Shell. A third technology Stio will use, Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper, is for drier conditions. It’s water-resistant, windproof and highly breathable.
Stio announced its Gore-Tex plans now for the sake of being open in its product creation process, Shuptrine said.
The development cycle is 12 to 18 months and includes coming up with designs and prototypes, fitting the new items on models and testing them in the field.
“In order to protect the integrity of our development cycle and make sure we’re getting all the input we want to make great products, it’s easier if everyone knows what we’re working on, including our customers,” Shuptrine said.
“We want to make sure we’re really transparent about what we’re doing,” she said. “If we have to hold our ingredients close to the chest we’re not really supporting the way we make products.”
Gore-Tex is one of the technologies used by big names in the outdoor apparel, including heavyweights like L.L. Bean (founded in 1912); The North Face (1968); Patagonia (1973), Marmot (1974) and Arc’teryx (1989).
Stio is the new kid on the block, having debuted its first line seven years ago.
“We went to market in 2012,” Shuptrine said. “We’ve really built a reputation of quality and trust using some of the other reputable textiles.
“We’ve grown significantly year over year for the past handful of years,” Shuptrine said. “The size of the business aligns with what it needs to be to support an ingredient like Gore-Tex.
“We have a brand that’s big enough that we can really go into the partnership at the breadth we’d like ... and offer customers what they want with a really nice introductory collection.”