Gore-Tex - The accidental birth of the top-notch weatherproof fabric

Gore-Tex - The accidental birth of the top-notch weatherproof fabric

From functional attire to contemporary design


If you’re looking for a sturdy, lightweight, breathable, and weatherproof fabric, Gore-Tex is the name you should look up to. Before it was invented, different materials were serving the same purpose, but each had its trade-offs. For example, waxed cotton is heavy, and the vinyl is too hot for the long run. But these matters are all solved when it comes to Gore-Tex.

Gore-Tex is well-known for its sturdy, weatherproofing, and high breathability (image via Altitude Blog)

Gore-Tex wasn’t born out of any intention. Even the one who created it, Bob Gore, didn’t plan to make a weatherproof material. Back in 1969, at a Teflon factory in Delaware, Bob Gore was trying to make more efficient use of the nylon by heating and stretching it. At first, the heated Teflon kept breaking when he slowly stretched it. So he decided to try the opposite way: Yank it. Surprisingly, the Teflon didn’t break as he thought it would. Instead, the piece is stretched and filled with air pores. “These micropores,” as Bob Gore explained, “had sizes that were 20,000 times smaller than a droplet, but were 700 times larger than water vapor molecule.” But things were tough for Gore-Tex as many manufacturers rejected the material. Until a Seattle company known as Early Winters decided to give Gore-Tex a try. They released the first-ever Gore-Tex jacket in 1977, and marketed as “possibly the most versatile piece of clothing you will ever wear.” The brand also released the first Gore-Tex tent and sold hundreds of them in just a few weeks. Now, Gore-Tex has improved its structure and expand with different versions of fabric, adapting to specific necessities.

Bob Gore exhibited on how to stretch the Teflon in 1982 (image via sciencehistory)

The first Gore-Tex gear made by Early Winters (image via Ron Zimmerman)

The raise of functionality fashion, including tech-wear and utility-wear in the past few years, has put Gore-Tex in the eye of many contemporary streetwear labels including Supreme, BAPE, Nike, Adidas, White Mountaineering, IISE, and many more. Available at There VND Then, Gore-Tex pieces can be found in almost every collection of White Mountaineering, from parka jackets to sneakers. Another example is the Korean-based brand IISE, which featured Gore-Tex Infinium in some of their designs for the latest S/S20 collection, including a Hanbok-inspired jacket, a blazer, and trouser.

As the rainy weather coming close, it’s always good to have a few Gore-Tex pieces to keep you dry and warm all the time. Shop these now at There VND Then.