Move over Patagonia, The North Face and Arc'teryx, and make room for Toren, a new brand of fashionable, accessible technical apparel entering the market. Toren, created to provide a high quality, reasonably priced alternative for consumers, is planning its debut in 2014. Notably, Toren is employing the unique approach of soliciting consumer input on product design and features via its blog, social media channels and website.
Entrepreneur Ethan Wishnick, founder and creator of Toren, wants to engage his customer base pre-product launch to learn specifically what they want in technical apparel. "We want to know what pieces consumers are looking for. We're interested in what styles and colors are most appealing and what features are most important," he said. "Our goal is to listen and respond to create innovative new products with the features and look consumers want, all at a more affordable price point."
Toren's initial offering, the classic rain shell, is designed to look great and function equally well in the city or on the mountain. The shell will feature a more tailored fit than many of the products currently offered by competitors and integrate three-layer, waterproof/breathable fabric produced by Toray, a leading manufacturer of high performance textiles. Following the launch, Toren plans on producing technical apparel for all seasons, including pieces like insulated hard-shells and wetsuits.
"We have received tremendous feedback on our designs. We're confident our quality will be equivalent to our higher priced competitors, as we are using many of the same suppliers," said Wishnick. "Our e-commerce distribution model differentiates us from other technical apparel brands. By operating online, we can interact with our customers in real time to make them a part of our process, while eliminating overhead costs that inflate retail prices."