News & Announcements
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!
“The only way to do good work is to love what you do.” Steve Jobs
2013 was a landmark year in many ways. For Toren, it was the year our passion for the outdoors motivated us to create a company built to deliver high-quality, design focused technical apparel to a community of fellow adventurers. We’re so proud of what we accomplished last year, including completing the design for our debut product and announcing our partnership with the Fresh Air Fund.
There is much to come in 2014, and we’re kicking this new year off right. Ethan is packed and ready for his trip to tour the Toren production facilities in China. He’s even hoping to get in his first ski runs of 2014 on the slopes in Dubai on his layover home! You can look forward to delivery of the Fundamental Shell this spring, as well as an expanded product line later in the year, including a mid-weight technical layer, a lightweight puffy and an insulated hardshell to take you from the city to the mountains in all seasons.
We’re looking forward to all that 2014 has in store and we thank you all for sharing in our journey to build Toren.
Christmas and New Years are just around the corner and for many people, that means ski vacations. Over the years, we've had many friends and family ask us for advice on the best way to dress, especially for those super cold December and January days. Since so many people will be heading onto the slopes in the next few weeks, we thought we’d share a little advice, based on our personal experience over the years and our intimate knowledge of technical fabrics and technology.
There are tons of options, but no matter your preferences, it’s all about the layers. Regardless of whether there’s a frigid biting wind or you luck out with a balmy 30 degree bluebird day, layers allow for heat regulation and adaptation to quickly changing conditions. For winter pursuits, you’re looking at three basic layers: a base layer, a mid layer and an outer layer.
The base layer’s primary purpose is to keep moisture off your skin, so any non-cotton, wicking top you like (t-shirt or long sleeve, tight or loose) will get the job done.
The mid layer is designed for warmth and protection, so depending on the conditions of the day, we’d opt for a fleece, softshell or puffy. If you’re opting for an insulated hardshell as your outer layer, the puffy is baked into your outer layer, so you can choose between fleece, which provides warmth and breathability, or softshell, which provides wind and weather protection. If you are more of a non-insulated hard shell type, a puffy with synthetic insulation is a great choice - it’s thinner than down and provides warmth even when wet.
The outer layer is there to keep you dry, so the most important factor is choosing a fully waterproof garment that will provide maximum protection from the elements. If you’re prone to getting cold, an insulated shell is also a good option, allowing you to get four layers into our three layer system.
Then, the last key is not to feel (and look) like a linebacker with all your gear on! You still want to keep mobility for your active pursuits, which is why we prefer garments that fit closer to the body, and why Toren will feature a tailored athletic cut.
We've tweaked and perfected our layering system over many years, and we think it works great. If you've got another system you like, let us know in the comments below - we’re always happy to hear new ideas.
Safe travels and happy holidays to all - we’ll see you in the new year!
Now that the design of the Fundamental Shell is nearly complete, we’ve shifted our focus to a few last details -- branding and labels. We’ve been working hard designing these elements and are excited to share some of the finished graphics below.
The inside of the Fundamental Shell will have two labels, one for size and one for care and content. Rather than looking at these elements as purely informational, as most of our competitors do, we’ve approached them as unique design features. We’ve taken this opportunity to incorporate crisp, modern visual elements that enhance the look and feel of the garment and echo our spirit.
In addition to the two internal labels, the Fundamental Shell will feature our circular graphic logo on the left forearm and our name on the back of the collar, under the hood. We’re pretty pumped about the placement of our logos - it’s distinct but also discreet enough to not make you a walking billboard.
You’ll notice illustrations of topographical maps running throughout our design, both on the translucent pocket fabric and on the edges of our labels. This detail stems directly from our name, which means “craggy mountain range” in Gaelic (for more info about our name and logo, click here). Apart from our love for topo maps, we think these graphics are a sweet way to represent the mountains we love so much.
Let us know what you think of the results!
Toren is going overseas! But not in that plane...
Based on how the second prototype looked (if you missed it, read about it here), we’re getting very close to moving into full production on the Fundamental Shell, so it’s time for Ethan to head to China. Ethan is just now beginning preparations for his trip, where he’ll be visiting Toray’s facilities just outside of Shanghai, as well as the factory where our jackets are being constructed.
The primary purposes of Ethan’s visit are to meet the employees on the ground who will be building the garments, as well as observe the production line and working conditions. He’ll also be working with representatives of Toray and the factory to determine capacity and continue negotiations on final pricing.
The trip is scheduled for January 3-7 and we’ll be sure to report back on how everything goes!
We’ve gotten our second prototype back from the factory and are pumped with the results! While Proto 1 was proof-of-concept of our design, Proto 2 is much closer to the final iteration of the Fundamental Shell. There is still some work to be done - extending a zipper here, tweaking our logo placement there - but we’ve refined many of our features and details in this prototype. Proto 2 is made with the exact three-layer waterproof rip-stop fabric we developed with Toray, and despite the minor alterations we still need to make, we can tell the Fundamental Shell is going to hit just the right balance between lightweight but still durable. This prototype was made in a vibrant orange, and it looks great with the contrasting black trim.
We’re also excited to let you in on one of the details we had been keeping up our sleeve - the Fundamental Shell will feature a clear polyurethane inner chest pocket, which allows you to use your smartphone through the pocket! Not only is this a super awesome way to access your phone, but this innovation will go a long way in protecting your phone from getting wet or damaged in nasty weather conditions.
Check out the teaser pics of the second prototype below!
As much of the country got clobbered with ice last week and the east coast got its first winter storms this past weekend and today, winter is officially here. Between the turn for wintry weather and our recent viewing of TGR’s new movie Way of Life, we’re jonesing to hit the slopes.
Wolf Creek got a 20” dump last weekend, and with nearly 150” of snow already this season, we think it’s the early season spot. TGR’s Way of Life featured Fieberbrunn in Austria, which looked truly epic, with waist deep powder. TGR also highlighted the backcountry near Selkirk in British Columbia, which looked like spectacular terrain, as well as a dedicated community of skiers, some of whom have been skiing in the area for over 70 years. This year, our dream trips include Jackson Hole, British Columbia, and as always, Alaska. Where are you dreaming of going this year?
Development of the Fundamental Shell is nearing the final stages, but as you know, we’re already working on the next Toren pieces. There’s a whole universe of outerwear styles that we’re chomping at the bit to produce! Ethan recently met with Toren’s fabric suppliers, Toray, to discuss future plans for Toren and new fabric and insulation technology Toray is developing.
We’ll be introducing a number of new pieces in Fall 2014, including at least one insulated jacket, and we’re psyched about the exciting new synthetic and down insulations from Toray. For our first insulated piece, we’re leaning towards synthetic insulation, which performs under all conditions, unlike down, which loses its heating capabilities when wet. We were impressed with Toray’s new four-way stretch synthetic insulation, which is a brand new technology and provides the same warmth as Primaloft One insulation, Primaloft’s premier product.
In addition to an insulated jacket, Fall 2014 will bring the debut of Toren’s mid-weight pullovers, perfect for layering. Toray is creating new knit fabrics which feature four way stretch for comfort and durability, which we think is a perfect combination.
We hope you’re as excited as we are about what Toray is up to - their R&D will help bring new technologies to Toren and you at revolutionary new prices.
A few weeks ago, we showed you our first set of Spring 2014 color samples from the factory. Now that you’ve had a flavor for our colors, we hope you’re as excited as we are for the final color line! We’re sticking with the indigo and red/orange we showed you previously, but we’ve replaced the medium blue color with the fresh turquoise pictured above, perfect for those bright spring days. Our dark blue color will be offered for both men and women, and we think it’ll be the perfect neutral piece. We’ll also offer the vibrant red/orange for men and the cool turquoise for women.
The colors are truly beautiful in person. After the first run of the Fundamental Shell in Spring 2014, we’re going to expand the line and continue to add new colors each season. We hope you like the line as much as we do -- you helped shape what it looks like today!
You might have seen that Vail Resorts announced their Epic Race contest a few weeks ago. If you missed the announcement, the Epic Race is a contest to ski all of Vail Resorts’ 26 mountains in North America and Europe as quickly as possible. The first ten people to ski all of the mountains will receive a season pass to all of the Vail Resorts, called an Epic Pass, for life. In addition to being an awesome gauntlet to throw down, Vail has a special place in my heart because I lived and taught there. If you couldn’t guess, this is my kind of race.
Ever since we read that press release, we haven’t stopped daydreaming about how we might attack this challenge. Okay, I did a little more than just dream - I may have created a detailed spreadsheet including mountain opening dates, the most efficient route, and the cost of planes, trains and automobiles from California to Switzerland. But getting around is only half the battle. We’ve also been carefully considering what gear we would bring with us to achieve that perfect balance of having everything you need for four weeks of skiing on the road, without carrying your entire closet.
We’re not giving away all of our secrets on our routemap (we want to win, of course), but here’s our initial thoughts on what we would pack:
Have you been dreaming about this as much as we have? How would you attack it and what would be on your must-take list?
See you on the road.