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    Women Leading the Charge at Volcom Snow

    Brook Sutton
    Brook Sutton

    GORE-TEX brand partner Volcom manages to be both OG and totally on-trend in the action sports realm. It’s really the unicorn of goals for every brand: longevity + charisma. 

    To guess how Volcom makes it happen: the brand is authentically and unrelentingly “all-in” on pursuing passions. To speak with confidence how Volcom makes it happen: it’s the people. The Volcom team is as authentic as its mission. 

    Take the Volcom Snow team. Together with a very talented crew, Global Design Director Jacquelyn Myers and Senior Global Product Manager Melissa Hashimoto bring Volcom Snow's women’s and youth collections from ideation to actualization.

    These highly capable humans are two women on a team where women are the majority. In fashion, that’s not especially unusual. In action sports, it’s kind of badass.

    Jacquelyn Myers, Image: Chad Chomlac

    Melissa Hashimoto, Image: Meilssa Hashimoto


    Experience-Inspired, Intentional Design

    Jacquelyn and Melissa each studied fashion and design in college, then funneled their talents toward outdoor apparel. Why? Snowboarding.

    Jaquelyn grew up in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., home to massive Sierra Nevada storm cycles. “Winter sports were a huge part of my life growing up, and snowboarding remains my favorite,” she said. “I love anything outdoors: running, hiking, skiing, cross-country skiing, all that kind of stuff. This background feeds an intuitive part of my design process because I’ve spent so much time out in the elements.”

    Melissa learned to snowboard eight years ago, at the same time her career as a developer was taking shape. For her, the discovery of a new sport perfectly complemented her innate skill for detail. “My newfound love for snowboarding really made me passionate about the product details as well. Outerwear is so interesting to create because every aspect serves a purpose, so you feel like a little scientist pulling together all the design elements and the technical features.”

    The combination of intuition and details is a slam dunk in the design world, but to limit this powerhouse team to those skills alone would be to sell them short. So much more goes into bringing Volcom’s snow performance gear to market. 

    Jacqueline on an (almost) bluebird day. Image: Dustin Lalik


    Respect from the Design Room to the Mountain

    Since 1991, Volcom has been about the pursuit of fun and sport. The Snow collection is harmonious, on-trend, comfort-forward, and confident. It’s made to perform in the elements and at high intensity, and to always look good doing it. Volcom Snow also has an edge, with just the right amount of attitude. 

    The vibe of the Snow collection reflects the vibe Jacquelyn and Melissa have set for their partnership. It’s based on mutual respect. Their process is collaborative, honoring both the structure and creativity required to produce a new line-up every season. 

    “Melissa is the person who makes everything happen,” said Jacquelyn. “She handles every single day-to-day detail, and knows everything it takes to make a garment.”

    “You often hear there’s a design brain and a development brain,” Melissa added. “Jacquelyn can turn on her creativity like a light. It’s my job to make sure the final product reflects her overall vision, from fit to fabric quality to price. I’m the liaison between her, our team, fit technicians, fit models, the production and compliance teams, our factories, and every [other contributor].”

    A good day. Image: Melissa Hashimoto


    Making Volcom Snow Happen

    It all begins with function. For snowboarding apparel, that means fit, movement, and performance. These may vary by piece and based on activity: backcountry, resort, park and pipe, you name it.

    “I start designing a collection by gathering feedback from our athletes, from our internal team, and even from my personal experience snowboarding and understanding what it’s like to be on the mountain,” said Jacquelyn. “We’re definitely solving for exposure to winter weather: snow, cold, the elements. You want to be dry and protected. We also need to solve for movement, flexibility, and practical details like pocket placement, which is especially important in a women’s garment.”

    “Fabric selection plays a huge part in the design process,” Melissa added. “With functional, performance apparel, the fabric and performance influence design features the wearer may not even recognize at first. Ultimately, that’s good. It means the garment is doing its job.”

    When it comes to the aesthetic side of design, Jacquelyn pulls inspiration from art, fashion and whatever is defining the cultural zeitgeist at the moment. You’ll see this in the colors, the patterns, and the silhouettes. Currently, the revival of the 1990s and 2000s is updated through a 2024 lens with dropped armholes, baggier pants, and a more unisex styling. 

    Après with the Volcom crew. Image: Melissa Hashimoto


    Women Supporting Women and Men

    “We want everyone to fall in love with our stuff as much as we are in love with it,” said Melissa.

    Volcom is increasingly seeing individuals choosing purely a style they like, regardless if it’s from the men’s or women’s collection. Jacquelyn and Melissa collaborate heavily with their design and developer counterparts leading the men’s collections. They all make significant contributions to the complete product line.

    “Snowboarding has really led in this area for a long time,” Jacquelyn said. “We’re consciously designing in a way where it’s up to the individual to select what they like; it doesn't necessarily have to be for a guy or girl.”

    Together, the collections provide a full spectrum of styles that offer something for everyone. “It honors that we’re not all alike,” said Melissa. The women’s line offers a range of options from more masculine to more feminine silhouettes, each with intentional and specific technical considerations suited for (most) women’s physiologies.

    When it comes to these performance choices, Melissa and Jacquelyn are technicians of the highest order in providing what different bodies require. It’s more than adjusting fit, size, and proportions. (Can we get another round of applause for the pocket placement Jacquelyn mentioned above?)

    For example, women tend to have a smaller comfort window, physiologically, than men. To ensure protective comfort in the elements, Volcom places insulation and venting strategically, based on if a design is intended for women or men. 

    According to Melissa, GORE-TEX’s comprehensive comfort testing helps inform these design decisions. (Happy to help, Melissa!)

    Jaqueline. Image: Dustin Lalik


    Celebrating Merit 

    Straight talk. Jacquelyn and Melissa have each been at Volcom for eight years and they are killing it on merit alone. The fact that they’re women isn’t a qualifier as much as it’s an added benefit for the brand. 

    As leaders, snowboarders, and wickedly talented pros, who are also women, they bring a different shade of insight to an industry where men’s views have historically held the spotlight.

    They’re aware that action sports–and society at large–are still evolving toward gender equity on many levels. They recognize it’s rare to have as many women in leadership positions as they do on the Volcom Snow team. And they acknowledge they have a killer opportunity to represent other badass women–on the mountain and in the office. 

    But claiming an emergence of women in snowboarding gets a bit murkier. 

    Jacquelyn and Melissa remind us that women have been out there–getting after it–right along with men since the beginning. They’ve been competing and riding with friends and pushing limits in exploration. They’ve been throwing down in pipe and slopestyle. 

    Women’s voices in snowboarding have always been there. It’s just that brands, marketing, and the public are starting to listen better. Technology and social media help enable that, for sure. 

    “Consumers, and women specifically, aren’t suddenly more concerned than they used to be with aspects of technical features or even style. It’s that now there’s easier access to learn and there are better platforms for their opinions to be heard,” she said. “We, as a brand, are able to take those comments and concerns into consideration to continually deliver a better product.” 

    Social media has also been a bit of a leveling tool for women–and others–who weren’t being asked for their input. As Melissa said, “With social media, people can show off what they're doing and say, ‘Hey! We’re here doing this thing we love, and we know what we need!’”

    It’s empowering for the group doing the talking, and powerful for the brand that’s listening. 

    Image: Dustin Lalik


    Women Leading the Charge

    Ultimately, Jacquelyn and Melissa will always come back to creating kickass gear that all athletes–from first-timers to pros on the X-Games podium–can trust for performance, comfort, protection, and style.

    Soon, they’ll have one very important quality to add to that list: PFAS-free* laminate. 

    “With the incorporation of GORE-TEX ePe Membrane into our 2024-25 Snow collection, Volcom Snow will be 100% free from PFAS by next [winter] season,” said Melissa. “We’ve been working toward this goal for several years, and GORE-TEX ePe is making the final steps possible.” 

    “We can control the product side,” said Jacquelyn. “We’re always going to make sure our athletes have the features they need to do what they want to do. I want to make sure they feel good in what they’re wearing.”

    *Made without intentionally added per- and polyfluorinated substances. May contain trace amounts.

    Brook Sutton Brook Sutton

    Brook Sutton

    Brook is a writer and brand marketing consultant living in Durango, Colorado, United States. After earning a degree in Environmental Studies, she went out to experience as many environments as she could squeeze in: snorkeling in oceans, guiding rafts on rivers, riding bikes across deserts, running and skiing in the mountains, and traveling at every opportunity. On an average day, she’s on her hometown trails with Boca, the undisputed world’s best dog. After several years of writing for magazines, she returned to her strategic and mission-driven background to launch Horizon Line Strategies for content and brand marketing.

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