Fashion Tech Startup: Meet Tahaanga

Fashion Tech Startup: Meet Tahaanga

Our readers know that we’ve always said in order for wearable tech to work, the tech has to disappear. Our favorite wearables often don’t have screens–in fact, they often look like “regular” fashion or accessories. Along these lines, we’re excited to introduce you to TAHAANGA, a company that uses “advanced technical properties” and sustainable manufacturing to create luxury dress shirts with the properties of athletic wear. We asked TAHAANGA’s founder and CEO Manuela Fassbender to tell us more.

Describe TAHAANGA.

TAHAANGA Smart Dress Wear™ is a luxury menswear brand with a sustainable identity launching our first collection The James, XJ 1.0 this month. Our cotton blend dress shirts feature key, extreme performance properties: moisture control, breathability, wrinkle and odor resistance. Unlike other performance wear, these properties are not part of a coating treatment, but instead uniquely woven into the fabric (which means it never fades!) We deeply care about the environment, and sustainably manufacture our cotton blend dress shirts in Italy. TAHAANGA is where style intersects with function–Armani meets UnderArmour.

What inspired you to start TAHAANGA?

During my years as a trend and style consultant, I identified a growing gap between athletic and luxury men’s wear. One of the biggest pain-points for men with active lifestyles is coping with the embarrassment of sweating through their shirts and a wrinkled, messy appearance. Then one day, I saw a New York Times article about professional snowboarder, Shaun White, with a picture of White zipping down a mountain dressed in a beautifully cut shirt and suit. This inspired my vision for creating a brand specialized in fusing futuristic textiles with luxury men’s dress wear. I have succeeded in finding a unique European cotton blend with an unsurpassed soft and smooth feel – the basis of our James shirt.

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What sets TAHAANGA apart from other tech driven retail companies?

We are unique in that we are filling a gap in a rapidly growing niche market. We offer a different kind of, cotton blend shirts with technical properties. TAHAANGA is the first of its kind – offering luxury dress shirts with the highest quality cotton blend and featuring the most advanced technical properties. Other performance wear brands use synthetic, chemically treated fabrics or jersey, resulting in a much cheaper feel.

Tell us about your “advanced technology performance fabric.”

Due to an exclusive agreement, TAHAANGA is the first to introduce to the U.S. market a luxury blended fabric that is not 100% synthetic— NOT jersey knits, NOT a gym shirt in disguise. Our luxury blended fabric incorporates a new innovative polyfiber manufactured 100% from post-consumer waste collected and recycled locally in southern Europe. This mechanical, chemical-free process helps produce hi-tech certified quality yarn, and the process is 100% traceable and reduces energy waste by 60%. The performance properties never wash out.

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What has been the hardest obstacle for you in creating TAHAANGA? What has been your favorite part?

The biggest challenge for us right now is securing funding so that we can hire for key positions, expand our customer base and develop our next line of products. My favorite part of this journey has been watching the company grow from just a concept to where it is now, all the while experiencing the same passion as I did on day one. We are receiving our first shipment from Italy in a matter of days, and I could not be more excited about it.

What can we expect next from TAHAANGA going forward?

We are working on putting together our next product concept. My previous expertise in trend and design consulting, as well as strong partnerships and relationships, are key to getting ahead. While we are selling our product through traditional retail channels, we are trying to differentiate our service beginning with quality of product all the way to the actual customer shopping experience. We see customization as the next big thing in retail, so plan to integrate virtual fitting/sizing in the future.

What does Tahaanga mean?

The word “tahaanga” means “naked” in Maori and we chose this name because our pioneering technology driven luxury dress wear gives you the comfort and lightness of wearing nothing at all.

Learn more about TAHAANGA by going to their website and watching the video below.

Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave.  Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables. You look nice today!

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