The highly anticipated True Outliers fashion brand has officially launched after ample social media hype and was kicked-off with a flashy by invitation-only opening party in an affluent area of Toronto in September. The unique brand, already a favourite amongst influencers and celebrities, is being spearheaded by entrepreneur Moses Mandelbaum who is part of the family that owns Toronto-based fashion manufacturer and distributor Gertex.
The unique True Outliers brand currently includes a range of stylish warm parkas that feature ethically sourced real mink lining and collar as well as a cotton outer shell containing dense 650 ‘fill power’ down — it could be the warmest jacket on the market to date. Each of the jackets can be customized with a monogram and a wider range of styles will be rolled-out as True Outliers continues to grow its operations this year as it looks to 2020 and beyond.
The company’s website states, “A True Outlier doesn’t care to belong. A True Outlier dares to be different. They require no blessing from others and are true to themselves. Welcome to the Tribe of True Outliers.”
The brand’s well-attended opening party was held on the evening of September 10th at the Struck Contemporary Art Gallery on Dupont Street in Toronto’s Annex area. Attendees were treated to food and drinks while viewing and trying on samples of the newly launched parka collection. Many notable locals were in attendance, not to mention artists showcasing their craft.
True Outliers’ marketing is edgy with a hint of sex appeal, featuring a diverse range of attractive models wearing the parkas. In some campaign photos, fit male models wear the brand’s parkas shirtless, creating an attention-grabbing contrast of image that is seen in other marketing campaigns. In the summer, for example, True Outliers held a photoshoot in Florida for a campaign to showcase the line with palm trees in the background, again referencing contrast that is part of the brand’s ethos.
Mr. Mandelbaum spent nearly three years developing the new line. “We sourced the best materials possible and created a design that is both functional as well as fashionable,” he said.
True Outliers’ initial parka design feature a three-quarter length style with cuts for both men and women. Jackets currently come in black, navy blue, and khaki green cotton shells. Detachable mink lining currently includes black and brown “with more colours to follow” according to Mr. Mandelbaum.
The cotton shells are down filled with a quality and warmth comparable to competitors who claim to have the warmest jackets available. True Outliers’ mink lining and collars further add to the warmth of the parka.
“I used cotton for the outer jacket shell so that the jacket can breathe, and cotton won’t become shiny with wear as is the case with some competitors that use polyester,” said Mr. Mandelbaum. Rivets under the arms allow the jackets to ‘breath’, which means a person won’t overheat while wearing one of True Outliers’ parkas, even indoors. The jacket design is well thought out and includes several discrete pockets to hold various items.
That includes two hidden pockets, including one on the outside of the jacket as well as an interior pocket that is accessible from within the jacket’s interior zipper area. The pockets are well thought-out and can hold a wallet and other items, as well as a mobile phone that includes the largest iPhone and android styles.
The large fox fur collars, also ethically sourced, can be unbuttoned on a chilly day to entirely cover one’s face. “True Outliers’ jackets are impenetrable to the cold,” said Mr. Mandelbaum.
Mink lining was chosen because of mink’s warmth, as well as the fact that it doesn’t shed like rabbit fur, according to Mr. Mandelbaum. “Rabbit hairs will get all over your outfit and are tough to get off of your clothing. Worse than that, in the matter of months, shedding will get worse and worse.” He went on to explain that mink is also lighter than other furs while still being the warmest.
“More than that, mink is incredibly soft. Out of all the furs it feels so good on your skin. We all want the softest thing to protect our bodies and mink is so soft.” The parka’s mink lining can be detached in about 15 seconds, according to Mr. Mandelbaum, depending on weather and consumer preference.
Mr. Mandelbaum decided to use real fur rather than ‘faux fur’, partly for environmental reasons as well. “Real fur is environmentally responsible”, he said. “From family owned fur farms to local stores and boutiques, even on a mass scale, real fur is a renewable resource”.
“When an old fur coat is done with, it can be sold and restyled. It has years and years of wear, before being discarded and eventually decomposed. Old fur can even be used as compost for your backyard,” he went on to say.
“Fake fur is made in part by non-renewable materials such as plastics and nylon. When someone is done with a fake fur coat, they throw it in the garbage. The problem with fake fur is that it can sit in a landfill for years and since it’s not made from anything natural it cannot decompose.”
He went on to say, “Genuine fur means quality, and real fur will last for years and years. From small town furriers to the high fashion runways of Paris and Italy, real fur means consistent quality without sacrificing the environment.”
The outer cotton lining on True Outliers’ parkas can be washed in a washing machine on the cold setting and hung to dry. Fur specialists are suggested if the mink requires any cleaning.
Prices for the first run of True Outliers parkas, both for women and men, are currently $1,800 each. While the price point is higher than that of some competitors, the pricing could be considered reasonable considering the high-quality materials, design, and mink fur lining both within the jacket as well as the jacket collar.
Mr. Mandelbaum said that he’s in talks with several well-known US-based fashion retailers to carry the initial True Outliers line and is in talks with others. However, distribution will be very limited to retailers that match the brand ethos, and distribution will otherwise be limited to maintain brand cachet. Trunk shows are also part of the brand strategy, as is pop-up retail and events. At some point, True Outliers retail stores are also a possibility as the brand expands into other product categories in the coming years.
“I have a vision for the next 15 years for the True Outliers brand which will eventually include other product categories,” says the 26-year-old Mr. Mandelbaum, who has worked for family company Gertex from the distribution floor to head office.
The True Outliers brand also has a charitable component by donating 10% of proceeds to a charity called Chai Lifeline Canada, which helps families cope with pediatric illnesses. True Outliers will donate to the charity of choice for partners involved with hosting trunk shows.
“Part of the brand is also about giving back,” explained Mr. Mandelbaum, who is a direct descendant of the Cohen line that stems from the founder of the first priesthood of Jerusalem. The double-hand symbol used in True Outliers’ branding is the symbol of the priest in Judaism. It is passed down generation-to-generation by families that are direct descendants of the first Jewish priest Aaron. Mr. Mandelbaum explained how the symbolism behind the Cohen symbol is vast, essentially being the highest sign of blessing as Cohens give blessings to others.
“The only person in history to ever be awarded the title of Cohen was a man named Pinchas”, noted Mr. Mandelbaum. “He received the honour after being a True Outlier himself.”