The Textile Institute

Materials Specialist – Soft Goods

Contact Email:
Posted: 14/07/2021
Deadline: 13/08/2021

About Pentland

Building a family of brands, for the world to love, generation after generation.

We are Pentland Brands, a global family business bringing some of the most loved active and footwear brands to millions of people around the world.

We own Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury of New Zealand, Endura, Mitre, ellesse, Boxfresh, SeaVees, KangaROOS and Red or Dead. We’re the global licensee for Karen Millen footwear and Kickers in the UK.  We also have a joint venture partnership for Lacoste footwear.

All our brands have their own unique identities and every one of them is powered by Pentland. We have more than 1,400 employees worldwide and we’re always on the lookout for talented, enthusiastic people to help shape our future.

We celebrate differences and give everyone the freedom to innovate and develop, be it through creative working environments or learning opportunities. Our brands are there in the moments that matter – being there for more people, in more of those moments, drives everything we do.

At Pentland, we’re guided by four principles, we use these to make sure we’re not only doing a great job, but we’re doing it in the right way:

  • Success is a team game
  • With clarity and courage
  • Better as standard
  • In good conscience

To find out more go to or follow @pentlandbrands on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.

The role you’d play:

The Pentland Innovation Team is a multi-skilled team tasked to provide innovative solutions to address important (consumer) problems. Working in both R&D, sustaining and transformative innovation.

You will be the innovation team’s materials specialist for soft goods. You have significant experience in the exploration identification, evaluation and manufacture of innovative advanced materials in the soft goods realm. You will be responsible for leading and owning programs and projects for material developments that that can be taken to scale.

You will push the boundaries, make the new become normal and show ingenuity in providing solutions to the problems the consumers and the business faces. You will continuously be developing and maintaining a global network of materials partners and experts in all tiers of the supply chain and across the technology readiness levels, to ensure Pentland is at the cutting edge.

You must live and breathe materials and be passionate about getting other people excited about them too. Innovation cannot happen behind closed doors and as a key member of a small team, you must have strong communication, collaboration, and influence skills which you will use in your interactions throughout a project, both internally and externally to the innovation team.

Creative problem solving is at the heart of everything that we do. We’re looking for someone that is not only an expert in their field but has a design thinking mindset. The right candidate will be passionate about solving important problems, will be comfortable with the uncertainty that not every solution will work but by experimenting and learning, we will be able to find the answer to complex challenges.

If you like maintaining the status quo, then this isn’t the role for you.

Key outcomes include:

  • Your expertise and application of new and exciting materials solutions will ensure that Pentland’s brands remain relevant to the fluid expectations of our consumers
  • You will combine your acute understanding of what consumers want/need with an expert opinion of what is possible – hitting the sweet spot between desirability and feasibility.
  • You will manage the activity for “Apparel” solutions and will be accountable for the materials innovation for that domain
  • Your collaborative nature will enable you to develop a support network within the function and across Pentland’s divisions, with a focus on creating successful outcomes for the innovation team
  • As a part of the matrix structure, you will provide materials expertise into defined workstreams which you are accountable for, interfacing closely and influencing functional sub-teams, solutions leads and the operations manager
  • Materials solutions will offer efficiencies, sustaining improvements as well as transformative and disruptive opportunities for our brands. You will manage this spectrum of activity and work with the Head of R&D in the management of time, cost and quality of output
  • You will work effectively alongside your peers, committed to matrix working and diverse thinking to solve a wide spectrum of innovation challenges
  • Use your expertise and influencing skills to ensure the right decisions are made from a materials perspective, to bring the right mix of commercial benefit and consumer experience
  • Your wide external network of research, academic and industrial partners will enable you to bring the outside-in, providing resource and opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be possible
  • “Fast always beats slow” – you will seek opportunities to work smarter within the team and to engage with external partners that can help us to accelerate opportunities
  • The materials and product elements work together in harmony, creating the desired experience for the consumer – you’ll forge an ever-closer relationship with the innovation team designers and engineers in order to work smarter and maximise the quality of the end-result
  • The technical performance and functional requirements of the materials will be clearly defined, and you’ll apply rigour and best practice in meeting these criteria
  • You will champion best practice materials development across Pentland and find opportunities to engage and influence around the business

The must haves:

  • Experience in leading edge materials development within sports or active lifestyle brands.
  • A motivated, creative problem solver.
  • Demonstrable evidence of providing technical excellence in an R&D or Innovation environment.
  • Experience of working with advanced material producers and experts to develop new materials and/or technologies to meet specific consumer needs
  • Capable of scoping, developing and maintaining a global network to exploit materials expertise and knowledge across all Technology Readiness Levels (TRL).
  • Proven ability to interpret and apply advanced scientific principles and complex technical data
  • Knowledge of colour, print and finishing technologies (post-process / secondary process)
  • Proven track record of being able to identify and develop new material applications suitable to be taken to a consumer facing solution
  • Appreciation of global compliance standards and regulations relating to materials and product (eg. Oeko Tex, Reach)
  • Be or be driven to become a world leading expert in their field.
  • Capable of evaluating vendors both from a technical and compliance standpoint.
  • Experience working within cross-functional and matrix teams.
  • Experience in application of software to an appropriate level for the purpose of creativity, data management, presentation, report writing and communication

Needs to be:

  • Highly collaborative and keen to push themselves and the team forward in a positive way
  • Able to operate within a multi-skilled team, prepared to challenge and be challenged
  • Able to influence key stakeholders to ensure the right decisions are made
  • Flexible and adaptable to changing conditions
  • Driven by what consumers need now, with the ability to envision a future state
  • Ambitious, output focussed, commercial and pragmatic
  • A strong advocate for their specialism, but able to focus behind the best result for the project
  • Able to balance what would be incredible with what is appropriate
  • Willing to stretch beyond their own specialism, adding value across the whole team
  • Comfortable with failure as a means to progress


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