TOREN | TECHNICAL APPAREL

News & Announcements

It’s official - preorder for spring delivery of the Fundamental Shell has closed.  Huge thanks to our early supporters - we’re overwhelmed and honored that so many of you love the product already.  If you didn’t get yours yet, don’t worry - preorder for Fall 2014 delivery is still available.  We’re still offering the Fundamental Shell for $195 through Memorial Day Weekend, but after that, it will be available for its retail price of $245, so don’t wait too long to snag your own!

With the closing of preorder, we’re given our website a little makeover - check it out here.  We hope you like the new look!

As of this week, Toren’s initial products are in bulk production at our factory in China.  To date, the fabric we developed with Toray has been manufactured in the colors we selected, and all of our trim components (zippers, elastic, velcro, etc) have been sourced.  Our graphic design team has completed all of our logoing, which has been printed onto heat transfer labels and will seamlessly adhere to the finished product.  The next step is actual assembly by the factory, which requires laser cutting of the fabric then construction, done by hand.  The jackets are finished off with seam sealing and quality control.  Once all of our pieces have been produced, they’ll be shipped to the states, where they’ll clear customs.  One step closer to getting the Fundamental Shell into your hands!

Finished samples for the Fundamental Shell came in this week, and they look amazing.  The timing couldn’t be better, as the beginning of Spring was the perfect excuse for us to take them out for a spin!  In NYC, the shell really stood up to the breezy weekend and was the perfect protection for running around the city.  Our founder Ethan was able to sneak off to Colorado for a weekend ski trip, and he and his friends put the Fundamental Shell to the test in some amazing spring skiing conditions.  The shell got rave reviews all around - check out the pictures below!

The last couple of weeks since we launched the preorder of the Fundamental Shell have been a whirlwind.  We’re overwhelmed by the support we’ve gotten from all of you, and are so pumped that you’re as excited about the Fundamental Shell as we are!  If you haven’t preordered a Fundamental Shell yet, don’t wait - click here to order your own.  And if you have, you’re not only among the first to be part of the Toren community, but you’re helping to do good in the greater community as well - thanks!

 

As we prepare to launch the Fundamental Shell preorder, we’ve been working hard to get all of our ducks in a row.  And as we mentioned last week, among the most important of those ducks was full product photography of the Fundamental Shell itself, to make sure you can all see the design and details we’ve spent so long obsessing over.  So we called on our friend Drew Innis, a NYC based photographer with substantial experience in apparel (check out his work here).  Drew and Ethan set up in his studio and really captured the unique features the Fundamental Shell has to offer.  Full product photography will appear on the preorder page, launching soon, but for now, check out a few ‘behind the scenes’ pics below!

 

Big day for us here at Toren.  We’ve gotten Proto 3 back from the factory and are so excited to announce that we have finalized the prototype of our debut piece, the Fundamental Shell!

As you know, we’ve been working hard over the past months to finalize the Fundamental Shell, and we haven’t cut any corners.  The final design is made with 3-layer fabric we developed with Toray, one of the world’s leading technical textile manufacturers.  We’ve incorporated waterproof zippers for protection and vents for breathability, as well as our revolutionary hood design and internal polyurethane pocket, which you can use a touch-screen phone through.  Now that the design is completed and all components have been sourced, we’re proud to report that we’ll be offering the Fundamental Shell for $195!  This is the first shell of its kind on the market for less than $200, and we think that’s an unbelievable value for a top-of-the-line shell which our competitors would sell for double or more.

If you can’t already tell, we’re really psyched about the final design.  We’ve put up a few teaser pics today, including the first pictures of the woman’s Fundamental Shell, but stay tuned for full product photography and our pre-order sale in the coming weeks.

This is a huge milestone for the Toren - we feel like proud parents.  We know you’ll love the Fundamental Shell as much as we do and can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it!

Hey guys - Jake here, psyched to be writing the first guest post for Toren’s blog.  As a guest writer, here’s a little bit about me: I'm a technical apparel and gear industrial designer in Denver and went to OR to check out the industry trends and new technologies. As Toren wasn’t able to send anyone out to OR, I’m here to report back on some of the highlights.

Heritage and High Visibility. These are two trends that are in different stages of popularity in outdoor gear and apparel. Most of the product that was being shown at this OR will be available in Fall 2014. Its safe to say that your classic backpack styling and flashy neons will be here to stay at least for a little while longer.

Urban Outdoors. Outdoor brands are figuring out that they need to cater more towards their non-core consumers. Outdoor adventure is becoming more and more popular but John Q consumer isn't ready to hand over his whole paycheck on a technical puffy just yet. Companies are (or should be) finding ways to reach this demographic and develop product that makes sense to them. This same demographic is also looking for ways to get outdoors without getting too far from the city. Vendors are beginning to see the value in making their outdoor gear function as well and look as good on the trail as it does in the city. Smart, and Toren is ahead of the curve on this one.

Beer. Vendors will do whatever they can to get retailers into their booths to look at product. From Timbuk2 to Danner Boots, EVERYBODY at OR was selling or giving away branded stainless steel beer steins that came with free refills. Good work fellas.

That’s a wrap on Winter OR 2014. Looking forward to the day that we see the Toren product at OR!  Until the next time...

Now that all of the dust has settled after the holiday season, everyone is back at work in what is one of the busiest times of year for the technical apparel industry.  In the outdoor apparel and gear world, January and February are packed with trade shows, where manufacturers go to showcase what they are developing and producing. There are three major trade shows, each with a slightly different purpose and perspective on the industry, so many people attend all three.

Outdoor Retailer ("OR") - Jan 22-25

Held in Salt Lake City, Utah, OR is the premier event in the United States and focuses both on apparel and gear.  Not only do all of the largest consumer brands show here, but many sourcing and trim manufacturers show as well, so this is the place to be to stay on top of new technology in fabric and trim elements.  OR is where many consumer brands market their products to third party retailers (department stores and chain and speciality retailers), and often the booths are crowded with guests trying to get a look at products that won’t be on the public market for another year.  Because Toren will be selling directly to consumers, we wouldn’t participate in the marketing portion of OR - this is the stage where garments move from a 2x markup by the manufacturer to the 4-6x markup for retail and consumer purchase - but we’d love to go to see all the new sourcing and trim developments in the industry.

Snowsports Industry America (“SIA”) - Jan 30-Feb 4

SIA is held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and it is snowsports all day, every day.  SIA has a reputation as being both a great show and a great time.  The last few days are wholly spent on on-snow demos and tests of skis, snowboards, boots, bindings, goggles, poles, and everything else you can think of at nearby Copper Mountain.  Like OR, SIA has a small but growing sourcing component, which Ethan attended last year.  We look forward to seeing how this aspect grows in years to come.

ISPO Munich - Jan 26-29

ISPO is the largest show and the premier technical apparel expo worldwide.  Manufacturers from all over the world visit ISPO, which gives it a different feel than OR and SIA, which focus primarily on domestic markets.  As you might expect, ISPO is an international “work hard, play hard” type of environment and is set very close to the mountains, so there’s plenty of apres-work fun to be had.  We’ve got this one written in pen on our 2015 calendar for the whole team.  Plus, since we will have made the trek across the pond to Germany, no reason not to stay to get a few full days of skiing in after the show!

Last year, Ethan spent a few days at SIA getting a feel for the lay of land and connecting with fabric and trim sources.  This year, we’re 100% focused on making sure we deliver the Fundamental Shell to you in just a few months, so we won’t be making the trip.  We’re looking forward to the year we visit all three!

We’re happy to report that Ethan is back from his trip and nearly recovered from his jetlag.  Now that he’s had time to go through all his notes and digest the experience, it’s clear what an important and productive trip it was.

The Zhejiang Banyu Industrial Co. facility, located in Pinghu about 2 hours south of Shanghai, is immediately impressive.  It’s a complex of three buildings - one for offices, sampling and prototyping and two for bulk production.  Conditions at the factory are excellent - very clean, with significant airflow to keep the air fresh and free of chemicals and particles.

Ethan was equally impressed with the technology, efficiency and quality at the factory.  The facility has two laser cutting machines, which operate 24/7 to ensure the most efficient use of this machinery.  In addition, there are numerous standard cutting machines onsite for other components which do not require the extreme level of precision of the laser-cutting machines.  There were approximately 70 production lines, consisting of multiple sewing stations, ironing stations and for technical apparel, seam sealing stations.  Each production line is subject to two in-house quality control checks, one in the production line and a second after full assembly.  Banyu’s quality control checks yield a first pass rate as high as 99%.  While on the tour, Ethan caught glimpses of goods being produced for other brands, and although we won’t list them here, they’re some of the biggest names around.

After the tour, it was time to roll up the sleeves and get down to business.  Ethan and the team made significant progress on Prototype 3, sweating all the small stuff and ensuring that some of the more challenging construction elements of the design were up to snuff before we go into bulk production.  Significant time was spent on one of the key elements of the Fundamental Shell - its pockets.  The adhesion between the pockets and the shell fabric just wasn’t strong enough, and because we want to ensure that the pockets can take whatever abuse you throw at them, the team tested several adhesives, sewing solutions and alternate fabrics to make sure the finished product is perfect.

The team also focused on trim elements.  We’ve extended the zipper on the men’s shell a half a centimeter and swapped the fabric in the arm pockets for a better look.  We took a look at every seam and made sure all the extraneous ones were removed, keeping a streamlined appearance.  Finally, details like zipper garages and pulls were tested to determine the best combination.

It was a great trip and a tremendous learning experience.  We are even more proud of what we’re doing and cannot wait to see (and show you!) the results.

Despite winter’s best attempts, Ethan made it to China safe and sound and has had an exciting and productive trip so far.  Here’s a quick update from the road:

“Landed in Shanghai yesterday.  Was able to explore the city a bit before heading back to the hotel to prepare for today’s meetings.  It’s a nice city, big like NYC and with lots of skyscrapers, and the food is amazing.  After dinner, I crashed around 9:30pm after 30 hours of travel.  Woke up early this morning to clear skies, ready to meet the Toray reps on the ground.  After introductions, we made our way to the factory, one of the largest outside of Shanghai, where we met with on-site managers, worked on the third prototype and got a comprehensive tour of the facilities.  After seeing everything going on here, I have a full appreciation for all that goes into the manufacturing of these products, and am confident that we're producing something really great.”

Once Ethan is back stateside, we’ll post a full report on his visit, including pictures of the factory and surroundings.  Stay tuned!

 

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