It was back in the 1950s when Josefa Torras and his son Joan Serra began to stitch the history of a brand that was to become a leather and knit expert in 40 markets around the world. Today, led by Josep Maria Serra Clerch, Torras
is a forward-looking business that capitalises on family tradition. Its short-term challenges include appealing to a female target, launching a new retail concept, growth in China and commitment to e-commerce.
-Torras dates back to 1951… Is experience a bonus?
-Yes. Today, having experience in the market and being a brand with a history means you’re an expert in the product you sell and gives you extra value. If the sector knows your brand, it opens up new markets for you. In Asia, for instance, a brand with a history has added value.
-Torras started out as a knitwear manufacturer and added leather later. Now the combination of leather and knit in your garments is what makes you different, is that right?
-Knit and leather garments are our core business. It’s the mix our customers expect from us. It’s our brand signature. But we combine leather with different materials. That combination means Torras designs are both recognised and recognisable.
-And you include other materials of the highest quality?
-We use fine materials because that makes for smart, long-lasting garments. We work with high-quality totally traceable leather from producers who rigorously comply with environmental standards. We also work with virgin wool, cashmere, Italian linen, silk... That means we can offer a distinctive end result.
-You also refer to functional fabrics.
-We use functional fabrics like Olmetex for waterproof, breathable garments designed for very low temperatures. It’s PFC-FREE (perfluorinated chemical free), water-repellent, 100% cotton. We offer an extensive collection to cover a wide target.
-Where is your production located?
-There are few leather-making countries, but Spain is one of the important producers. A lot is produced in local workshops and our philosophy is always to produce at home. Our quality assurance process takes place at our headquarters in Caldes de Montbui, in Barcelona. Annual output is 50,000 garments.
-How would you define the Torras style? And what about your customers?
-Torras is about quality, taste and personal style. We want to be smart but not superfluous, understated but not simple, exclusive but with no frills. Our customers have their own personality and they want timeless clothes where you can see the quality, and which are elegant, practical and versatile.
-You also have women’s collections. How much of your turnover do they account for?
-Currently, the women’s collection accounts for about 20% and is mainly focused on the national market. We are designing more and more outfits each season and the aim is to increase market share at the international level.
-Do you have any classics that you always keep on the catalogue?
-There are a number of unreplaceable garments which we call our continuity models, and customers ask for them every season. At Torras, we rework and update them. Reinvention is a must.
-‘SS16 Moments’ is your latest collection showcased at 080 Barcelona. You’ve called it a redefinition of the Torras universe… In what way?
-It’s not a radical change but an ongoing exercise in self-analysis. It’s something you have to do if you’re going to keep up with the maelstrom in our sector. In any case, although it’s an adult target, our customers are very active and on the ball and we can’t afford to let the brand age.
-Where do you showcase your collections?
-We showcase at 080 Barcelona Fashion and go to Momad Madrid, Pitti Uomo Milan, Mrket New York and Las Vegas, and Supreme Düsseldorf. We’re also looking to boost our women’s collection, so we’ll soon be attending top womenswear trade shows too.
-Where are your showrooms?
-At the moment in Milan and New York. But in the course of this season, we’ll be launching in Moscow and Barcelona too.
-How many Torras PoS are there around the world and where are they?
-We’re available from multi-brand retailers in more than 40 countries and the USA, Middle East, South Africa and Europe are our main markets. We export 65% of output and we’re working to strengthen our position in Asia and Europe.
-Through which channels do you operate?
-We focus on select multi-brand retailers. We operate at iconic stores like Barcelino in San Francisco, De Verli in Paris and Sir Anthony in Vienna. This winter, we’ll be opening shops of our own in Spain, in Sabadell and Valladolid, using a striking new business model. Torras will be the main product, but we’ll be adding in special items by quality Spanish brands. We’ve created a boutique-style concept with interior design in fine materials, using mainly light colours and paying special attention to lighting.
-Have you reached a deal with the JPC retail group to grow in China. What’s the plan?
-We’ve just struck the deal with JPC and we’re still working on our action plan. The aim is to rack up the volume as of Autumn-Winter 2016/17.
-You’ve just redesigned your website. What are your e-commerce forecasts?
-Yes, we’ve just updated our website and our e-shop. The idea is to increase product turnover. At the country level, it works in the same way as traditional sales because we believe that you need a physical benchmark if you’re going to sell online. So we sell the products in countries where we also operate in conventional retail.
Torras close up:
Head office: Garraf, 33 (Polígono Industrial La Borda), 08140 Caldes de Montbui.
Annual output: 50,000 garments/year
Markets: USA, Middle East, South Africa and Europe.
Export rate: 65%.
Trade shows: Momad (Madrid), Pitti Uomo (Milan), Mrket (New York and Las Vegas) and Supreme (Düsseldorf).