Clothing Without Compromise | At Work With Outlier | A Continuous Lean.

Clothing Without Compromise | At Work With Outlier

May 7th, 2012 | Categories: Brooklyn, Cycling, Menswear | by Michael Williams

Clothing should be as much about function as it is about style. That’s part of the philosophy behind the bike-commuter friendly label Outlier. Over the past several years the small upstart label has gained a cult following, not just among cyclists, but also by those that appreciate an approach to designing clothes that places equal importance on both looking good and functioning well. This past week I took a trip out to Brooklyn to visit Outlier’s design studio and headquarters to see just how things work at Outlier.

“One well considered object can take the place of many cheaply made ones.”

The company’s loft in Williamsburg is part R&D lab, design center, shipping depot and warehouse all in one. It’s a bright space filled with energy and a sense of purpose. Tyler and Abe both have a strong feeling for the company’s mission and they seem purposeful in their undertaking. As we talked and looked through a rack of current products (and some soon to be released items), the stack of outgoing packages continued to grow and grow as sales for the day added up. According to Outlier, there is strong customer loyalty and the instance of repeat orders is often. As someone that has worn a pair of Outlier pants, this is a statement not difficult to believe.

Outlier founders Tyler Clemens (left) and Abe Burmeister.

Outlier began because Abe Burmeister couldn’t find the perfect pair of pants and Tyler Clemens couldn’t find the perfect shirt. Both wanted clothing that would perform well while commuting via bicycle and would also get them to work looking professional. That called for items that look good, but also incorporate thoughtful design and possess performance capabilities. So Outlier started to produced its own pants that stretch and repel moisture. It also began making shirts that offer range of motion and keep you from looking sweaty once you arrive at work or a meeting. Both initial items were a resounding success because the clothing functioned and looked good doing it. Tyler and Abe discovered that they weren’t the only people looking for clothing without compromise and Outlier was off to a quick start.

After rolling out its first few items, Outlier has maintained a steady pace of releases that are offered immediately through the company’s own website. The brand’s products are also available in brick and mortar retailers like Mission Workshop in San Francisco, Chari & Co. in NYC and West End Bikes in Portland, but the primary model is direct to consumer. This helps keep pricing in-check and allows Outlier the ability to offer the highest quality materials and construction (all of the clothing is made in the U.S. and Canada). Though the products generally have a strong tilt towards the world of cycling, Outlier is suited just as well for use in traveling or everyday life, as it is for man-powered commuting.

So far the company has followed its instincts and is simply making the product that functions well and at the same time looks good. It’s a pretty straight forward approach, and one that has served both Outlier and its customers well.

Water repellent fabrics that stretch and are breathable.

The Outlier shirts look and feel normal, but they won't show moisture.

Soon to launch linen scarves.

Seam sealed 'Storm King' made in Vancouver.

Collaboration bag with Hyperlite Mountain Gear.

Comments: 13

13 Comments to “Clothing Without Compromise | At Work With Outlier”

  1. DNN
    on May 7th, 2012
    @ 3:03 AM

    What are those shoes?

  2. Ms. Mel Miskimen
    on May 7th, 2012
    @ 9:14 AM

    Where’s the women’s clothing?

  3. matt
    on May 7th, 2012
    @ 10:04 AM

    @DNN: those are from Outlier’s collab w/ Feit
    http://shop.outlier.cc/shop/retail/supermarines.html

  4. Mitchell
    on May 7th, 2012
    @ 12:19 PM

    Selectism just posted a talk given by Abe about the birth of the brand:

    http://www.selectism.com/news/2012/05/07/watch-outliers-abe-burmeister-how-i-built-a-fashion-brand-with-no-experience/

  5. henrik
    on May 7th, 2012
    @ 12:49 PM

    diggin’ the shit outta the storm king… just not the price. god damn, I need a better job.

  6. Royal Robbins
    on May 7th, 2012
    @ 5:42 PM

    Beware, very addictive apparel.

  7. RTM
    on May 7th, 2012
    @ 11:08 PM

    Do they need any help in product development?

  8. Daniel M.
    on May 7th, 2012
    @ 11:31 PM

    That minimalist backpack is next on my list!

  9. kidmang
    on May 9th, 2012
    @ 12:06 AM

    digging their simple style. i want some

  10. N
    on May 9th, 2012
    @ 1:00 AM

    Wearing a pair of their OG pants (vintage 2008) as I type this. I commute to Manhattan from Brooklyn via bicycle year round and these pants get me through the non-summer months in style and comfort. Highly recommended. However, be aware that the fabric they use stretches more than cotton. Buy ‘em tight and they’ll fit perfect after a couple weeks of wear.

  11. Daniel
    on May 10th, 2012
    @ 3:41 AM

    A Pivot Blazer, that can suit with the OG pant.
    Please.

  12. Josh
    on May 11th, 2012
    @ 8:05 PM

    I second the Pivot Blazer suggestion! Have 3 pants and 2 terrific pivot shirts, but it’s always a challenge to match the pants to an outside sportcoat. There’s also the constant challenge of busting your back shoulder seams on any ordinary blazer.

  13. Dianne Bunis
    on May 12th, 2012
    @ 11:58 PM

    I was at Brimfield yesterday! My first tent I visited, I scored a vintage 50′s woman’s turquoise (very green) & silver ring for 20 bucks. Was disappointed all the blue Ball jars gone (from last year) sold by cool kids from Brooklyn, near the leather chairs. Did pick up a small Agfa box camera…hoping to use it if I can find the film on ebay. So many things overpriced, well they’ll just pack it up and bring it back in July I guess…had a yummy haddock sandwich.
    Love your photos…what camera did you use?