Meet the Tuque Testers


A quick note about this section

Every year, we design and develop one product. We share our design brief online and follow the journey from brief to sketching to prototyping to final product. We then make the product available in our shop. The aim is to use research based design thinking methods to create better products and services.

From a tumultuous trip to Mount Everest Base Camp, to a busy day in one of Toronto's most revered meat lockers — what goes into testing the world's best tuque?

We never did get that footage back from one excited early adopter of the Frontier Tuque heading to Everest, but like many winter adventures, not everything goes as planned. This unexpected opportunity to test our tuque in one of the most infamous alpine regions on earth was exciting to say the least. Though we’ve since heard that our tuque lived up to the challenge of this harsh climate, the trip also grounded us in a way by contrast. Our tuque was designed, conceived, and made right here in Toronto, Canada. With this in mind, we wanted to design a testing platform for the product that was true to where this ambitious project started.

Next thing we know, we’re on the road to chat with a local ice sculptor.

What followed was what we lovingly referred to as Urban Tuque Testing — partnerships with local Torontonians who spend their days working in cold environments, regardless of season.


Danielle Hurman
Ice sculptor at Iceculture

It looks great and it’s super warm on my head when I’m working, and it’s definitely not itchy.


Dave Cyrette
Zamboni driver at North Toronto Memorial Arena

I liked the contrast of the inner weave as opposed to keeping the same material for the whole tuque — that was comfortable for sure. While it was warm, I also seemed to not sweat, which was great.


Big Jim Komatsu
Head butcher at The Meat Department

It looks cool. It fits great. It’s a perfect hat for ducking in and out of the walk-in all day.

As our second edition of The Frontier Tuque gets into full swing, we wanted to celebrate those first testers and early adopters that got this whole thing started in 2016. For those just stumbling upon this project fresh — welcome! If you want to relive the story in full, we chronicled the whole process in Issue 02 here. And if you’re looking to pre-order our second run, head to our shop page to secure your tuque today.

Paul Kawai

Paul is the Design Director at Frontier. He studied Environmental Design at OCAD University, as well as directed the OCAD Student Press, publishing three editions of their Shift series.

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