Five years ago I was a freelance graphic designer who was looking for a better pair of pants. I never found them. Eventually I realized I'd have to just make them myself. So I went into New York's Garment District and figured it out, I made a better pair of pants and wore them every day. Eventually I started wondering if maybe other people would want a pair too so I put them up on the internet and voila, people bought them. So we made some more and started designing even better product. Five years later Outlier is a real company, fully bootstrapped, mildly profitable and has 12 employees.

Obviously it took a lot more effort than that sounds, but in a lot of ways it was easy because the clothing industry left so many doors open. They were way late to the web and more concerned with keeping their old ways in place than figuring out how selling online could make things better. They also spent way too much time figuring out how to make things as cheap as possible, rather than how to make them as good as possible at the fairest possible price. That's the theory at least and so far it's seemed to work.

Proof of me can be found on the @Outlier and @Abe1x twitter accounts.

EDIT: Done for now, but I'm likely drop by from time to time if anyone wants to add some extra questions.

Comments: 208 • Responses: 78  • Date: 

hirokinakamura44 karma

Abe, I'm a huge fan of the brand. I've got a pair of slim dungs, climbers, 3-way shorts, cargos and a supermarine anorak. I love them all so much. So thanks for that.

Otherwise, I've been discussing lately with a good friend of mine about starting up a brand. I wanted to know if you had any advice for someone looking to start their own brand. How did you find manufacturers? Where did you go to source fabrics?

abe1x21 karma

Thanks. I started by going to the Garment District kiosk over on 39th and 7th in Manhattan, but you can find the same database they use online. Think it's here: www.fashioncenter.com/ but the site is down at this second.

For fabrics we hunt the world over. Our favorite fabric shows are Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City and Premiere Vision in Paris. There are two of each every year and we hit them all. But then again we are huge fabric nerds, a lot of companies just work with what their factories have or what they can get locally.

abe1x7 karma

Here is the direct link to that database: http://www.fashioncenter.com/fashion/fashion-directory

Newo9229 karma

Hi guys, big fan. I preach the good word of our Lord Abe Burmeister whenever I can. Honest question, what's up with the buttons? I have 100+ wears on a pair of Chinos and 100+ wears on slim dungs, but the only problem I've encountered with any of your products are buttons. Maybe that's a compliment to your quality control, but seriously, these buttons be poppin' off whenever they get a chance. N.E. Pivot buttons actually broke. Both my Chinos lost their buttons, peacoat has needed all of them refastened.
I would like to formally request that you up your button game to meet the standard of the rest of your product line, thank you.
P.S., I accept discrete codes as remuneration for my A+ hypetraining.
P.P.S. Crossposted to MFA.

abe1x38 karma

Good question and a complicated one, let me do my best to parse it out.

first off, it's something we been working on extensively, particularly with the shirts. We use a lot of Corozo buttons for a few reasons. For one they look great, for two they are very renewable material, a type of tree nut, thirdly they are reasonably inexpensive and finally they are really easy to dye. What we've found unfortunately is that they don't handle repeated washing to well. It was a slow tricky issue that didn't really manifest itself clearly until it was a bit too late. Once we saw it we started working really hard on getting some replacement that meet our standards and we have a few thing we think work, they'll be making there way into the shirts very soon. Once we have them established we'll be offering them for free to anyone who has purchased a corozo buttoned shirt from us. Unfortunately these things take time but we are moving on it.

As for pants, yeah the buttons are a week point and it's really because of the unique place we've positioned ourselves, as somewhere inbetween traditional menswear and the outdoor industry. The simple answer is that all buttons fall off eventually with use, it just isn't a super strong attachment. The issue is more pronounced with our stuff though because we use four way stretch fabrics and people tend to put a lot more abuse into our clothing than say a pair of khakis.

If you take a look at workwear or outdoor gear you'll notice they rarely use buttons at all. Conrad from Arc'teryx Veilance once told me they tried to use bottons once, and immediately gave up, their shirts use snaps. We've looked at those sorts of options but we want to make classic garments, and we haven't found anything that looks right beside buttons in a lot of cases.

Beyond that we're always harassing our factories about the buttons and trying to QC every one. We've even looked into buying a new machine for one factory but we don't quite have those resources yet. So for now we're basically stuck with NY quality buttons, same quality you'd get on an Engineered Garments, Steven Alan or Patrick Ervell garment. And yeah we are looking on ways to make it better. Always.

pyroxyze12 karma

Have you thought about not trying to focus on classic?

A lot of the people that buy your stuff are fashion conscientious and would like to wear cool techwear. You could do snaps like Arc'Teryx or even things like hooks for a more fashion-forward appeal. I feel like your customer base would appreciate it.

abe1x33 karma

We mix it up a bit and there will be more technical looking stuff coming, but we're always going to keep a lot of that 'future classic' vibe going.

ProfessorStromburg4 karma

This may be silly but you could consider the same type of button Bonobos (a decidedly not techwear brand) uses on their chinos (http://www.bonobos.com/khaki-slim-straight-leg-pants-for-men-the-khakis). It's a sort of clasp thing looks like a button, I guess.They might really restrict the stretch, but I don't know, food for thought.

All that aside, just wanted to say I love your stuff, keep doing what you're doing!

abe1x4 karma

Yeah we actually get our dungaree shanks from the same place that makes those slide snaps. We've looked into them a while ago but didn't use them. Maybe worth looking at again though.

zomgimobbq3 karma

Have you ever looked into buttons like TAD uses?

http://www.tripleaughtdesign.com/Apparel/Shirts/Overland-Long-Sleeve-Shirt

I have this shirt and the buttons on it seem great and have never failed. Though they are quite big, but maybe the same concept (bartacking)?

abe1x2 karma

yeah the slider buttons they use are pretty nice, but as you mentioned they don't really work at smaller scales. We've thought about it for jackets but TAD sort of made it a signature so we decided against it at the time. Who knows for the future though.

ColdsnapBryan17 karma

I'm a powerlifter and I always discuss with my friends "Wouldn't it be great if someone made some balling ass tech clothes, something like patagonia but mixed with the styling of geller?". Outlier seems to have achieved that but the only problem is their cuts are too slim for me. I however love the idea, especially because wearing clothes that restrict you is very bad for your overall mobility which leads to other health problems.

abe1x12 karma

We really want to make more stuff for other body types, but right now we just have the Keirin Cuts which fit on mesomorphic bodies really well. Right now we're a bit too small to do more stuff like that but it's definitely something we talk about so hopefully we'll get there soon enough.

mainsworth15 karma

Will you convince me to spend 250$ on a pair of your pants over a pair of 60$ pants?

abe1x17 karma

I'm not going to try and convince you of anything, our pants aren't for everyone and it's really for you to decide what you want and how much you want to spend.

If you drive to work everyday, have a partner that cleans your clothes for you and love traveling with tons of spare clothes the $60 pants are probably exactly what you need. If you want clothes that stay cleaner, wear longer, move freer, handle rain and snow and quite possibly look better then you should consider our stuff. It doesn't all cost that much either, the Nyco Slims are $98 and are made in the US with 100% US materials... But again it's a personal decision, we aren't out to covert everyone, our customers appreciate what we do and we want to keep making them happy.

scapino7813 karma

Is going commando with the three-way shorts recommended/advisable?

Love what you do, thanks!

abe1x16 karma

It's a personal choice, but yeah personally I do it all the time if I think I'll be going somewhere I want to swim.

Goddamn_Batman12 karma

Before the product comments, I just wanted to commend you on my favorite functional clothing company. Outlier is a great combo between something you'd find at REI and Neiman Marcus, I couldn't be happier with the cuts and quality.

What made you think you could start your own company? Did you have to seek loans or financing for all of the equipment? When did you know it was going to work? What's been your most take-a-step-back 'Woah, we made this' moment?

A couple of product comments and questions--

I emailed you guys about this but PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE A PROPER HOODIE. I have hoodies from Vince, Theory, Wings+Horns and others and they always wear out in 2-3 years. I'm hard on my hoodies, the forearms and elbows are always the first spot to go. Have you guys ever considered this?

Please get more t's in stock!

Also, the waist sizing seems to be inconsistent, I have a pair of slim dungarees and a pair of climbers and the waists are wildly different while being marked as the same size. Is there a standard waist size, or maybe it's because the climbers are a stretchier material?

abe1x25 karma

It's almost the opposite, I'm pretty much unemployable I didn't have much option but to freelance or start my own company... I've never had a proper salaried position in my life, Outlier is my second company, an animation/design studio called One Infinity was my first and inbetween I've always freelanced.

As for hoodies, we've done a few merino ones and will do more and reinforcing the elbows is definitely in discussion. If you are looking for an indestructible cotton one American Giant claim they are doing it and there is a kickstarter going for another similar company. I like Reigning Champs stuff a lot too. Our rule over here is if someone else is doing it well, buy their stuff. We focus on trying to make things that don't exist yet!

zomgimobbq10 karma

Ohhh, this raises an interesting question then. What pieces would you guys never attempt because others satisfy what you're looking for? Can you recommend some brands and pieces that you guys look up to?

abe1x21 karma

The one we talk about the most is Icebreaker underwear, which is great but has these awful logos on it. We sort of want to make our own just to escape those logos, but we haven't figured out how to make them substantially better in other ways so so far we've passed.

Arcs_Of_A_Jar11 karma

Hi Abe,

I have a question about supply and demand. Every so often (read: always), Outlier releases a particular article of clothing that almost immediately sells out in a particular colorway and size. The biggest victims of this I've seen so far are the gray woolback gilet and non-black 3-way shorts, but they've also happened to almost every other item you have in inventory. I can't imagine that nobody in the company has no idea of which colorway will probably be the most popular. Is the limitation on product runs a natural result of the process you undergo to create your stock, or is there an intentional limitation on some level or another? Outlier is positioned relatively uniquely as all-weather clothing, so I can't imagine seasons have an exceptionally high impact.

abe1x14 karma

short answer: it's complicated...

long answer: First off we are bootstrapped company, what we make is very much constrained by our cash flow. The fabrics we use are extremely expensive, often 20-30x the price of what mass brands use. And we take on all the inventory risk, we have to order the fabric 4-6 months before we have product to sell. So we try to only buy what we know we can sell.

There is also more of a eco/philosophical side to it. A lot of brands over order, mark the prices up really high and then use massive discounting to sell as much as they can. We find that approach both wasteful and unfair. We order less items and price them lower but don't discount. That only works if we don't get stuck with extra inventory so we are really careful not to over order.

Finally the mills always have minimums on how much you can order. So even if we could calibrate precisely the color break down we need to order based on the minimums and roll sizes. That means there almost always will be colors we have to order a bit more than we want and sometimes ones we need to order a bit less.

As for seasons, you'd be surprised, there are one or two exceptions but most items have very clear seasonal cycles.

IAMSOFAKINGWETALLDID9 karma

What is your favorite product?

abe1x13 karma

The ones we can't talk about yet!

That aside, as much as I try not to play favorites I definitely tend to wear the Slim Dungarees more than anything. I have a pair from the first production run that I've probably put 300 days of wear on and they still look like new.

slapded9 karma

Hey i sold you outlier.net.. remember?

abe1x6 karma

for sure, thanks!

zzzaz8 karma

I asked the Allen Edmonds CEO this question, but I'd be interested to get your take on it as well, especially as the owner of a very successful startup.

My dream job is CMO of clothing company. I'm currently a couple of years in my career working at an ad agency. What would be the career path you'd suggest to put me on the best track to ultimately be qualified for a CMO or Director of Marketing position? Should I get 5-10 years of agency experience before I look to get into the apparel industry, or is it better to step into it earlier and work up from within? If you were hiring someone to run your marketing, what would you look for?

Thanks!

abe1x8 karma

We dont do any marketing so I'm maybe not the best one to answer this but...

The main question for you is whether the agency you are working at is doing a lot of clothing accounts. If you are working with the companies you eventually want to work at then staying at the agency is fine, just make sure you make good connections with those clients. If you aren't working on clothing accounts, get out and get out FAST. The apparel world is relatively close knit, most CMOs are going to get hired internally or from agencies that specialize in doing fashion/beauty accounts. Spending 5-10 years on cars or sports or beverage or whatever accounts won't count for much with an apparel brand.

joe_gomez8 karma

on a scale of 1-10 how badass is Emiliano Granado?

abe1x11 karma

now that he has a baby he's as sweet as a kitten

Jaybowles8 karma

I was chatting with my pal up in HK at Hypebeast last week and we were both agreeing that you guys are absolutely killing it.

Just one question from me Abe, how long is your lovely beard and what do you look like without it?

abe1x13 karma

length is a private matter, but underneath it all I look exactly like Justin Bieber.

waxab8 karma

[deleted]

abe1x9 karma

As for getting compared to Veilance it's an honor. I love what Conroy is doing over there and the production they can do in their factory is amazing. As for their pricing, quite honestly I think it's overpriced, but it's not really their fault. Like all really high end brands the retailers are marking things up about 2.7x. (as opposed to just 2x in outdoor). That really limits the fabrics they can use. Obviously they are using pretty solid quality stuff, but you never see them using Schoeller doubleweaves like we do.

So yeah when their stuff is on sale it should be about the same price as ours, they spend more on production (I'm guessing) and we spend more on fabrics and once the retailer discounts it a bit they should hit around the same spot as our stuff.

abe1x6 karma

We do talls for some shirts now and definitely want to do more, but it's a step by step thing.

MaximHarper7 karma

Massive fan of the brand. (Despite not owning any items due to current budget and being in the UK.)

Not so much a question but a suggestion. Now that micro-fibre cleaning cloth is so cheap per sqm it'd be a nice touch if the pockets or a section of the lining on the jackets had micro-fibre to clean your phone with. I don't think smartphones are going anywhere and it'd fit in perfectly with the technical image.

abe1x8 karma

hell yeah, really like this idea. We actually talked about doing some similar stuff on our merino tees but using linen instead of microfiber. We've also played around a bunch with Ultrasuede, which is the best microfiber stuff around. But we never put the two and two together, much respect it just might happen!

lcclhll7 karma

"I am Abe Burmeister, founder of Outlier, I accidentally created a monster." Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if five more years go by and you've found yourself in a position to define the next generation of clothing design and manufacture. Your pursuit of quality fabric, versatility, and experimental design has already changed the way athletes, adventurers, and flexible citizens of society are existing in their daily outfits.

You customer service model and involvement/interaction with customers is rad. Definitely makes the clothing experience more enjoyable.

Honestly, though, release your god damn summer wears already.

<3

abe1x2 karma

thanks! and summer stuff is coming very soon!

Atilla_the_Fun7 karma

I am a student at a top-ranked undergraduate business school interested in sustainability, company integrity, and high-quality sourcing in the apparel industry. I am a huge fan of your company's values and general aesthetic, despite not being able to afford any of your products given my current student budget (but a kid can dream!). Anyways, I have two questions:

  1. Do you guys have any plans on bringing your products down-market in terms of price once certain economies of scale are reached? Or do you plan on remaining a high-end and very technical retailer.

  2. Can I get an internship? I am studying supply chain management with a minor in MIS with a double major in liberal arts honors. I also have retail experience and somewhat of an eye for fashion. If so, let me know! I can send in a resume.

abe1x6 karma

We'll bring things downmarket if we can do it without compromising our quality level. The Nyco Slims are a good example, they allowed us to squeeze under the $100 mark and still present a really unique and strong product. But to do that takes a lot of things coming together. As we grow we definitely want to do more of that, but we're not doing to force it. We think if we can do it right we'll be able to have products all across the price point map under one brand but it won't be easy.

abe1x4 karma

Sorry missed your second question the first time.

Our hiring process is non standard, take a look at it, see if it makes sense and if you'd like by all means send us an email.

jparizay7 karma

I found out about Outlier through Manual For Speed's Instagram last year. I wish I found out about your amazing clothes before. I love the quality and the look. Currently waiting on a re-up of size 30 3-way shorts in black! Anyways my questions: Since you stumbled onto this business by accident, would you rather be doing something else with your life? And how many hours a week do you work?

abe1x8 karma

Hell no! I love what I do and it's why I do it. I could have just stayed with my old life and stared at a computer screen for the rest of my life!

As for the hours, starting a company isn't a job it's a lifestyle. In a lot of ways it takes up every hour of my day, but I love doing it. In terms of actually grinding, wish I didn't have to do it, sort of work, there is probably 5 hours or so of that a week. Obviously that might change as the business changes but we're not motivated by money so we tend to make choices based on how much we enjoy the path rather than the sort of economics driven options that suck the soul out of so many companies.

WaviestCreature3 karma

but we're not motivated by money

Can you expand on this?

abe1x34 karma

sure. Tim O'Reilly once wrote about looking at his company like a road trip. Money is like gas. If you run out of gas the trip comes to a halt. So in that sense you always need to make sure the tank isn't empty. But the purpose of a road trip isn't to put as much gas in the tank, it's to have an amazing trip, see things, learn things and hopefully arrive at an interesting destination. A company is no different, you need to keep money flowing through, but that's not what makes it interesting or fun. When we make decisions we need to consider the financial implications, but we never are looking at them first. In the end we look for the routes that lead us to interesting places without getting caught without gas.

runwayfour7 karma

Just some words of praise here too! Absolutely love your clothes. We are another local Brooklyn company (in the same 'hood as you guys!) If you guys ever need any mobile app developmnet, give me a shout!

Keep doing what you do!

abe1x2 karma

Cool no apps in the works yet but who knows, maybe soon.

zmanian6 karma

I've got $500 saved for the featherlight blazer as soon as it comes back. I've been a fan for years.

abe1x6 karma

cool, think we'll have something for you very very soon!

jamesacklin6 karma

I understand you guys are William Gibson fans—I can see the influence in your globe-trotting adventure photo shoots. (Mr. Granado's work is superb.) Does Gibson's work or futurist thinking manifest itself in any other parts of your operating philosophies?

I love your guys' stuff and have replaced almost my entire wardrobe with it. Fantastic work.

abe1x5 karma

yeah I was probably about 10 when I read Neuromancer and it probably rewired my brain a little bit.. Was also lucky enough to stumble upon Mondo 2000, JG Ballard and William Burroughs at way to influenceable an age...

Dunixi6 karma

[deleted]

scapino788 karma

They tweeted a restock is expected this week.

EDIT: Added the link.

abe1x7 karma

Thanks!

harley_b5 karma

No questions, just praise. I adore the entire range of flexibility available, from the stiff Nyco Slims to the stretchy Chinos. I especially appreciate the extensive sizing information you provide, I wouldn't hope to get a good fit without it.

Okay, I lied, one question: any plan on more women's products? My girlfriend is a serious cyclist with an appreciation for quality made goods, but is not entirely convinced that LSDs or Women's Daily Riding Pant aren't just minor modifications on the men's stuff without fit and function being seriously considered. It doesn't help that the female model is particularly waif-y...

abe1x6 karma

thank you and yes more womens stuff coming.

as for your girlfriends concerns. Yes the items are based off men's items but we spend a ton of time considering fit and function on them. If we didn't we'd have way more womens stuff already. We started as a mens company but we are insistent that the womens stuff be held the same high standards as our mens.

rudyboo10145 karma

[deleted]

abe1x3 karma

Cool thanks!

We don't hire the way most companies do, you can check our jobs post here for more details. But no, marketing isn't really a focus at the moment.

stayingdeadfornow5 karma

What suit do you wear? When is the outlier suit coming?

abe1x6 karma

I really should pass this one over to Tyler my co-founder, he's the suit guy around here! But since I'm on the spot here we go...

1 - We do make a couple unstructured blazers the OG Blazer and the Ultralight Blazer which can be combined with pants from the same fabric to pass as a suit. And yeah the Ultralights are due for a restock very very soon.

2 - We don't call them suits and sell them as separates because we believe a proper suit is really a structured one. We're obsessed with movement in our garments and making a fully structured sportcoat with the sort of movement we want is a major challenge that never has been fully solved in over a century of really high quality suit making. We want to get there but we've been treading lightly around it. Yeah we could go ahead and make an action backed suit or something similar but it feels like half stepping, if we do it we want to do it right.

3- I personally hardly wear suits, but right now I own a Paul Stuart and a +J (a Jil Sander cut for nothing that was an amazing run). But really I'm the wrong person to talk suits with!

thehybridfrog4 karma

What are your plans for expansion? How do you see your company evolving/getting bigger and what products are you going to make to get you there?

abe1x3 karma

We take things one step at a time. We've been growing pretty quickly but we have no idea how long this organic growth will last. As for products, sign up for our email list it's the best way to find out..

mitard4 karma

Any chance we will see pants in longer sizes? As soon as the OG's have a "long" option where I can get the same waist sizes with an extra 2 inches in length I am in.

abe1x3 karma

yes we really want to get this point. Tricky as it means doubling or tripling our pants inventory but we really want to make things that fit everyone so we're going to do it as soon as we think we can manage it smoothly.

amdlla4 karma

Hi Abe,

Love the brand, been slowly acquiring more and more of your stuff. Would you mind detailing how you do your conceptual development for each launch? Are the products mostly inspired by new fabrics? What other brands (if any) do you look to as inspiration?

PS: I would love to buy you a drink and chat sometime - let me know if you are interested!

abe1x4 karma

We develop on a product by product basis and each one is different. In general we start with a defined problem of some sort, we need to know why we want to make each product and why it doesn't exist already. Then we start breaking things down and figuring out what can improve. And yeah we are fabric nerds so often we build around that. Increasingly we've been able to get mills to listen to us so now sometimes we can actually tell them what we want and they'll build a solution, but that's just starting. The big thing is that it's very collaborative, problem based and iterative.

kankurou3 karma

Hi Abe. First off I would like to say how much of an inspiration you are to all us entrepreneurs out there who would rather eat top ramen every meal than to make money for other people

Secondly, I would like to say that my pair of climbers are my favorite pair of pants in the world and make my daily bike commute in seattle's rainy weather 100% better.

However after a year of almost daily wear I have noticed that the fly zipper refuses to stay zipped up and the side seams have started to tear open just below the back pockets, in exactly the same place.

While I understand any other pair of pants would have disintegrated under the same stresses, it is something to look into for further lines. Assuming it hasn't already been brought to your attention.

Michael from Seattle.

abe1x6 karma

can you send us some photos? definitely good to see these things so we can keep making things better.

CopyX3 karma

You are far and away my favorite brand right now.

The first thing that picked me up about Outlier was the incredible photography used for the product shots. And what kept me around was your attention to detail and making an incredible product.

I picked up the Cali Pivot short sleeve when it dropped, been wearing it non-stop ever since.

abe1x2 karma

thanks! stay tuned, we always try and keep pushing both the photos and products to get better and better.

WayOutWest3 karma

Abe, huge fan. I like Merino wool. A lot. Can you hint at any future wool products you all are working on?

Another question, how well do you all do on the deal packages? e.g. Top pack from this winter (which I bought) and layer pack (which I also bought). Is it more to get rid of inventory or is it something you guys can feasibly do often? If you all did one for merino Ts/Baselayer I would probably empty my savings account.

All the best.

abe1x4 karma

can't tell you too much except that we booked a bunch of merino for the fall and haven't figured out completely what we'll do with it!

as for the packs, they are a holiday season thing, but we do sometime have individual item 3 pack discounts.

rjbman3 karma

Huge fan... some questions:

  • What do you think was the hardest part of starting your own company? Was it designing the pants, setting up manufacturers, selling them, or something else?

  • Do you feel the high price (relative to some department stores) drives away customers, or do you think people purchase Outlier for the quality and are happy to pay it?

abe1x5 karma

The hardest part is getting really lucky. The bad news is that no business ever succeeds without catching some lucky breaks and running with them. The good news is you get lucky breaks way more than you probably realize, the really hard part is doing all the hard work that prepares you to take advantage of the opportunities when they show up.

As for the price, yeah there are definitely lots of people who don't buy our stuff because of the price, but the people who do appreciate it and I think we actually deliver a great value for them.

FoodFarmer3 karma

Hey There,

I love your concept and execution. I have been ready to scoop up a couple pairs of pants but am a much more tactile buyer, I worked in the outdoor industry so am well versed in the hand of many of the fabrics you offer but not in the fit. I haven't seen any first hand so wanted to know if you could elaborate a little bit on fit. If I were to take my measurements for your clothing's where and how should I take them and how true to those numbers are your pieces cut. Keep up the great work. Sean

abe1x6 karma

Sure, I'll give it a shot.

Most of our garments are pretty straight hipped and run lean but not tight. The Climbers are the skinniest, Followed by the Slim Dungarees and Nyco Slims, then the 60/30, New OG and Ultralight. The Keirin Cuts are the exception they are made for a really athletic triangle shaped body, skinny waist and muscular thighs.

For shirts again it's pretty straight, with a slight hourglass shape, lean but not fitted.

We've got pretty good measurements on each product page and you can always email us with specific questions. For the waist sizes, if you are measuring a garment use the "technical waistband". For the labeled size, use your bodies true waist at the navel as a guideline.

deezalol2 karma

What is the plan for women's clothing, specifically shirts? Every time a new release email comes, my girlfriend asks when there will be more women's clothing!

abe1x2 karma

It takes time but it's coming!

haru_ranman2 karma

I own two pairs of the climbers and they are my favorite pair of pants, but I've noticed that the stitching comes loose quite often.

  • Is this because of the 4-way stretch?

I would imagine that it would difficult to sew something like that together making me worry how long the climbers will last.

  • I was also wondering if you guys were planning on making anything tough like the slim dungarees, but with the 4-way stretch found in the climbers and alike.

Thanks!

abe1x3 karma

yeah it's partly a four way stretch thing, but it's mainly do to turnover at the factory. It takes time for sewers to really master that fabric so when new ones come in there are sometimes issues. We try to keep on top of them but we are small and some things slip through.

As for durability, the climbers fabric is actually quite comparable to the workcloth we use in the dungarees. Both have cordora grade nylon on the exterior face and can handle a pretty serious beating. We've never seen the fabric fail due to standard wear. Not indestructible of course but dramatically more durable than your average pant fabric.

slash1782 karma

I'm wearing my Nyco Slims at work right now! It was raining like crazy this morning so I was drenched when I came in... 5 minutes later my pants are dry and everything else is soaked. Love these pants.

So hey, I really, really want the sea-green Three-way Shorts, like in the picture on the site. Are they ever coming back?

abe1x3 karma

I'll see what I can sew up for Friday, maybe check the site then ;)

HinkEightyFive2 karma

Would it be possible to add the weight of the various pieces on the spec sheet? I know it would vary by size but having a close estimation would be helpful.

abe1x2 karma

It's a good idea, we should really add it to the details for every product.

mister_wizard2 karma

I just want to say thank you for making probably the nicest coat i have ever owned. The pea coat that i bought from you guys like 2 years ago to this day still gets compliments and random people asking me where i bought it. Its just a shame i only get to wear it during the winter here in NYC.

abe1x3 karma

thanks!

duhduhduhduhduh2 karma

i really liked your slim dungarees. it's hardly ever rained in san diego though so i never got a good chance to test out the water resistance outside.

anyway, question time: do you have any information on the hydrostatic head on some of your clothes (slim dungarees/climbers/supermarine shell specifically)? i know you're not selling like mountaineering equipment, but it's nice to know extra stuff about the clothes you own.

abe1x4 karma

first off none of our stuff is waterproof.

the only stuff we've tested the hydrostatic head on is the Supermarine and it ranges from 600-750mm. Which sounds really shitty compared to say the 20,000mm of a Goretex, but in our experience can keep you dry for an hour or two in a mid size storm.

Based on some similar fabrics I'd guess the pants fabrics clock in around 200-300mm. They's stay dry in light rain, but will wet out in heavier conditions or prolonged exposure. the important part is that they dry really fast once you get out of the rain. Plus with the doubleweaves (in the OGs, Climbers and Dungarees the 3D structure of the inner face actually helps keep them away from the skin, so they feel more comfortable when wet than your average cotton pant.

GORDON_ENT2 karma

[deleted]

abe1x5 karma

Yeah it definitely fades with wear and can be restored with 5-10 minutes in the drier of with an iron. But it won't last forever. Schoeller specs 30 wash cycles as the life span for their stuff and while it will last a bit longer than that it definitely won't work as good as new.

With our shirting (which uses Nano Tex) we spec it to 50 wash cycles which we've found to be the sweet spot. Specing it for more starts to affect the handfeel of the fabric.

alexanderdiner2 karma

I love your brand aesthetic and products. I had been drooling over the climbers for about a year. I wanted them for climbing 14ers here in Colorado. I finally decided to pull the trigger on a pair—when I received them they were so tight I could hardly get them on. I'm a slim guy, but a big build (six foot four, two hundred pounds). I ended up returning them, super bummed out. Would you recommend sizing up, or does outlier just not make clothes for bigger builds? Thanks.

abe1x6 karma

We make one pant specifically for more mesomorphic builds which is the Keirin Cuts. They don't have the four way stretch of the Climbers but they do have a gusset so they might work for you, but not ideal for sure.

Funny story with the Climbers is that the name actually isn't a climbing reference at all, it's a bike reference. We were more bike focused really early on and the Climbers were our skinniest cut in reference to climbers in road cycling which are the super skinny guys who can get up the mountains fastest simply because they weight the least. Tyler is a rock climber so he had some idea that they'd work well for real climbing, but the success they've had in that world is actually pretty much an accident, not by design!

abe1x3 karma

I've met Stefan a few times and like him a lot. I funded that kickstarter too and got a few pants. They aren't really to my taste (if they were we would have made them ourselves) but I think they fill a really nice part of the market and am excited to see what else he's going to cook up.

SolarGorillaTortoise2 karma

I'm no pro bodybuilder, but I am fairly active and I have fairly big legs as a result. I haven't bought anything from Outlier yet, but thank you SO MUCH for putting an upper thigh measurement on your pant sizing charts. However, do you think you could include a neck measurement for your shirt size charts? That would be very helpful.

Also, I just wanted to say that the whole concept of a shirt that repels sweat would be mighty appealing to those who have to suffer wearing suits and dress clothes in summer. Personally, I would empty my wallet for sweat-resistant dress shirts if you're planning on making such a thing.

Edit: any kind of sweat-resistant clothing would be awesome, come to think of it. Also khakis.

abe1x4 karma

we do make a sweat resistant dress shirt! The Blazed Cotton Pivot. It's a fabric we custom developed and it works really well, super breathable but dramatically reduces the amount of visible sweat.

and yeah the neck measurements should be there, only reason they aren't is a complicated interoffice thing...

SolarGorillaTortoise1 karma

Well, I guess I just meant one like this, since the flap pocket on the Blazed and button-down collars like on the Northeast usually seem a bit more casual. Although, admittedly, I'm probably not going to be working in such a serious environment where such things are subject to scrutiny.

abe1x2 karma

Just might have something for you coming really soon.

afcjl122 karma

Hi there,

I love your products, but have been terribly dissapointed with the Outlier-Feit. They have parts coming off and I generally have stopped wearing them. Although I like the look of the shoe, I felt the hassle (I live in Canada now, moved back from Boston) was too much to return. The only answer I got from the customer service team was that I should just send them back pay for shipping and see what could be done. They didn't want to even look at them and tell me whether or not I'd be wasting my money. They are as I said nice looking shoes, but this would make me never buy anything from here again with how little help I received and how the shoes started falling apart after a couple of wears.

abe1x4 karma

Not sure exactly what was said in those conversations but by all means send them back! Unfotunately we can't pay for international shipping but if they really are falling apart after a couple wears we'll certainly refund you.

Only other thing I can say about that product is that we aren't doing them again, precisely because we couldn't get enough control over the production.

Simon_Inaki2 karma

Do you miss Rugby by Ralph Lauren? What do you think of RRL? I'm a big RL fan overall your purpose-made clothing remind me of RRL's take on denim.

abe1x2 karma

Ralph Lauren is a masterful clothing entrepreneur and we've got a lot of respect for everything he's done and over the past decade and change RRL seems to the one that gets the most personal attention of his brands. It's not really to my personal taste but it's incredibly well done.

twoohsixer2 karma

Are all your garments made in the America? If so, what particular challenges does that pose?

abe1x5 karma

About 90% are made in New York City and I wouldn't call it a challenge, it makes things way easier for us to be able to go to the factories every day. We also make stuff in the SF Bay Area and Vancouver CA. They are all super pro factories and so far have been great to work with (with one or two exceptions of course). We do a few things overseas, our Digital Linen Bandanas are the one thing we are selling now, those come from Italy and again with a pro factory things are relatively smooth (knock on wood!)

The biggest challenge is with some of the new technologies. The US factories just aren't buying the new machines and jumping on the new tech. There are certain things we've gone to Canada for, and other things we've looked at that only are available in China or Italy.

The other key thing to keep in mind is that we use much more expensive raw materials than most clothing companies. For simpler garments like pants and shirts (as opposed to outerwear) our labor costs are a far lower % of the total garment cost than most brands, which makes us way less sensitive to the price differential between making things here and overseas.

Metcarfre2 karma

Which items are made in Vancouver? Curious as a local.

abe1x1 karma

Right now the Supermarine Shell

hirokinakamura2 karma

afaik everything is made in america with the exception of some outerwear, which is made in canada in what i assume is the same factory arcteryx veilance uses in vancouver

abe1x4 karma

Fuck I wish we had access to the veilance factory but it's owned by arc'teryx for their use only. We do use a factory that our friend at Mission Workshop use too, and it's awesome, but the arc'teryx in house stuff is half a step beyond... The only thing we can take solace in is that we can use much more expensive fabrics than they are authorized too!

hirokinakamura2 karma

Oh damn I thought you guys all sourced to the same factory, that sucks.

You guys are friendly with mission workshop? Not like that's bad or anything, just surprising because they do compete with you on some stuff. Idk I think movies and television have given me a twisted idea of what the menswear world is like. I've been terrified that I would try to start making clothes and everybody would just be mean and defensive.

abe1x2 karma

Naw it's all good. Arc'teryx built their own factory the hard way and earned every inch of it. One day hopefully we can say the same thing. The factories us and MW use (and a bunch of others) all used to dead bird production before they moved overseas so they can do everything that was cutting edge a few years ago, but Conroy and co are still pushing the limits with their internal factory.

And yeah we're friends with MW, they sold a lot of our stuff when we still did a bit of wholesale and we love what we do. Sure we'll wind up competing on some stuff, but this is a vibrant and growing market, the more people doing it the better for everyone.

TriggerDiscipline2 karma

I'm also a Freelance Designer, and right now i'm thinking about transitioning into the fashion world, do you have any advice for someone such as myself?

abe1x2 karma

Find a really good client that gives you a lot of flexibility with time. I was freelancing close to full time for the first two years of Outlier.

Don_Carnage2 karma

1- Do you worry about the potential environmental impact of chemical treatments that make the fabric water resistent? 2- As a manufacturing engineer I solve manufacturing problems, what is the current biggest problem you are facing? 3-As an everyday knife carrier, all my pants are torn up at the bottom of the right pocket where the knife clips, ever though of reinforcing that area? 4-Thanks for doing this, very interesting AMA.

abe1x3 karma

Really really good questions here.

1- Yes for sure. We use bluesign certified C6 chemistry for the water resistance. That means its likely the best option available on the market now, but it doesn't mean it's great, it's still a flourocarbon based chemical. We're following three newer technologies but none are quite ready for market scale use yet.

As an aside the Schoeller Nanosphere treatment we use was actually developed by the founder of bluesign. Either a good sign or a really dangerous depending on how genuine he is in concern for the environment. Seems like he is, but ultimately there is a point where we just don't know, we're not doing the science and the info on what these chemicals do is obtuse and hard to come by in the first place. Ultimately we just try to make the best decisions possible but yeah we're always looking for better options and there is always some worry about the unknowns.

2 - With manufacturing it's really frustrating to us that no one in the US garment industry is really embracing the new technologies. There are a lot of processes that we need to go to Canada, Italy or China to utilize fully. That means slower production, trickier quality control and most importantly it makes development way harder. New York has a vibrant Garment District remaining, but without people push the limits it's going to become more and more niche as things evolve. Unless of course people step up and bring in new technologies. We're pushing on our side, but we're small still so we need other people pushing too.

3- That's a good idea. After losing 4 or 5 knives to TSA I stopped carrying one, and never used a clipped one, but we'll definitely look into it. That said a lot of the fabrics we use the fabric is durable enough that I doubt reinforcing is necessary, they can handle far more abrasion than that. The 4 Season (Shorts, OGs and Climbers) and Workcloth (Slim Dungarees and Keirin Cuts) fabrics in particular.

MozoA2 karma

Yes, Abe!

Awesome to see you guys doing well!

abe1x1 karma

Thanks!

hhholly2 karma

[deleted]

abe1x2 karma

Thanks! We are definitely doing more women's stuff soon including shirts. And yeah we have a very collaborative design set up, anyone in the office can participate and half the office is women. We've got some catching up but we'd like half our product to be women's too!

freebzz2 karma

Question about the pants. Are they "breezy"/cool in the summer. I've been considering buying a pair, but as summer is approaching, I don't know if I'd stand to wear them in Texas weather.

abe1x2 karma

The Ultralights definitely are. As breezy as it gets. Even wound up blurbed in Wired a while back

wkle1 karma

Hi Abe, I'm a curious onlooker to your brand, and I respect your business model and brand positioning very much. I know truly technical wear like snow gear would be a little too peripheral to your vision, but will Outlier offer any dedicated motorcycling gear? Nice moto gear is few and far between, and usually only available for purchase through proxy services.

abe1x2 karma

It's not something we are looking at now, but there is one somewhat serious motorcyclists working with us right now. If a few more people take it up we'd likely start making some stuff!

benjasik1 karma

big fan of the company/brand.

I have been looking for dress shirts that look great in high tech fabrics. Breathe, stretch, etc. Have tried the ministry of supply shirts and they didn't fit, do you guys have any plans to tackle this space?

abe1x2 karma

We do some shirts already. We don't do stretch but we do have a patent pending shirt pattern that is designed to give it a far greater range of mobility. We also have a sweat resistant cotton, carefully calibrated for breathability. And there may well be some more stuff in development as well.

slingithajime1 karma

-What is your philosophy on brick and mortar retail in an environment where Outlier places quality over profits. Is there enough margin to ever roll out a retail strategy? Would you want to?

-What businesses or people inspire you?

-How many people work at Outlier?

-Why are there some products where you only have two choices in colors? Please produce more colorways. Exp: Dungarees

PS: No joke, Outlier is my favorite fashion/apparel brand in the world. Rachel in customer service is awesome

abe1x4 karma

Retail is something we are looking at with interest. Nothing cooking yet but we are quite interested in it. Wholesale on the other hand we are done with. We did a little and it's not worth it, it jacks up prices, pulls downs margins and results in a disconnect between the brand and the customers.

We look at Patagonia and Eileen Fisher a lot from a business standpoint. And Apple. I also am a big fan of Paul Hawkin's "Growing a Business".

And colors will come in time...

JackL21 karma

Hey! I'd really love to buy one of your Keirin cut pants. How often do you restock the waist sizes on those?

Also, is there any chance you'd make a full-sleeved cycling jacket?

abe1x2 karma

unfortunately don't have an ETA on the next batch, but if you hit the "Notify me about restock events" link on the product page you'll get notified when they get in.

as for jackets, we don't really like to make them too centered around one particular activity but we'll definitely have some more coming in the fall.

Vaeltaja1 karma

Big fan of your brand (now if only I could afford it... ha). A lot of tech brands seem to have proprietary or at least very unique fabrics, but how exactly are such fabrics made/found?

abe1x2 karma

Wow, the one thing I can say is that it's way more complicated than you could ever imagine. The fabric industry has been around forever, think about why the Silk Road is called what it is. We spend way more time thinking about fabric than most brands and we've only explored the edges of it. There are companies that just dye things, that make special chemicals, that spin yarns, that weave fabric, that do special treatments, that make membranes, etc etc. There are also labs at universities doing research and special government funded research centers too. And with each piece of fabric most of these different elements all come together to create the fabric. Once you get to a certain size you can work with a fabric mill or a fabric design house and specify every single aspect of a fabric and in the end you get something unique to you (if you get people to sign the right paperwork).

Some of it is proprietary in name only, while some of it is really unique and special. It all depends on the circumstances. Not the greatest answer, but hopefully that helps a bit..

nishk1 karma

I've been following Outlier since I saw The Verge write about you guys about a year ago. Just picked up my first pair of Outlier pants - Ultralights since I want some summer wear. The Dungarees are next.

Anyways, I had a question. You guys have high prices, when compared to the clothing companies most Americans shop at. Obviously the quality of your materials and workmanship is way higher, but I was wondering... If you were supreme ruler of the clothing industry, what would you do with regards to low-priced clothing? Keep it? Change it? Get rid of it?

abe1x5 karma

Tough question. Obviously people are going to buy what they want and a lot of people want things as cheap as possible. What I'd love to see is a bit more education as to the true cost of these things. Durability used to be a big concern when people bought clothing and now things are seen as being disposable. But when you spend a little more money to buy more durable clothing you often wind saving money compared to buy tons of cheap crap. Some people get it, but I'd love to see more people wake up to that fact.

bookish13031 karma

Big fan of the brand.

Are there other brands that you recommend or pay attention to? I like Outlier as a brand both for products and philosophy. It would be cool to find other brands that act similarly.

abe1x6 karma

On a business level we look to Patagonia and Eileen Fisher the most, but also brands like Osprey, Alden and Trickers that keep putting their products first.

Obviously there are brands we've partnered with, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Feit, Hickorees, Taylor Stich and maybe some new ones coming soon...

One big stand out to me is Juniper Ridge, which makes soaps and scent using wildcrafted essential oils, they literally go out into the woods and distill stuff on the side of the road and then make amazing products out of the results.

The non Outlier brand I wear the most is Icebreaker, but just their underwear. They do a great job with merino in general but we tend to use a grade higher of fabric in our stuff.

Have a pair of Diemme made in Italy Vans on my feet right now, so I guess put them in the mix. Also a fan of Nike on the product level just because the put so much effort into innovation.

There are a ton more, I'm sure I'll miss a bunch but a few that come to mind. Acronym, Arc'teryx Veilance and LEAF, Ten-C, Reigning Champ, Incotex, Huntsman, Westcomb, Ines van Herpen, Carol Christian Poell, Stone Island, and yeah the list goes on. All for different reasons but there are tons people pushing clothing in lots of different exciting directions.

KamikazeSexPilot1 karma

Really love your brand I've got a pair of pants, shorts and shoes, I've got a few questions and I hope i'm not too late! I grabbed myself a pair of the Supermarines about 6 months ago I'd say and they are a really awesome shoe, very comfortable and they look great!

  • How much input do you have in your collaboration with Feit? Or are they simply using your fabrics to make the shoe waterproof? I ask this because while the shoe is excellent the weakest points about it appears to be the glued on rubber sole. After 5-6 months of regular wear (commuting to work cycling and general walking around) the heels and one of the front bits of rubber are starting to peel off!

  • Do you have any recommendations of products to glue the sole back on?

  • On most of your other water resistant products you say after they've been saturated that you should tumble dry them for 10 minutes to re-waterproof them or whatever but I'm reluctant to throw the shoes into the dryer with their leather portions. Are there any other options?

Now that it's coming to winter in Australia, I'll probably be grabbing some of your warmer stuff for this Melbourne weather! Have a good one mate.

Edit: just had a look at the shop and most of your winter gear is gone! Oh well, next time then.

abe1x1 karma

We had a decent amount of input with Feit but ultimately not enough for our taste. The materials they use are absolutely fantastic and made a great shoe but we aren't running them again simply because we couldn't get close enough to the production process to take them to the next level.

As for resoling, I'd just take them to a cobbler, as long as the leather sole in decent shape you can keep redoing the rubber for as long as the upper holds out.

avr01 karma

I'm not sure what the proper terminology is but do any of your other pants use the same "pattern/cut" as your supermarines rain pant? I love the cut, I own a few other pants (4seasons, chinos, dungarees, OGs) but the supermarines are definitely the ones I put on the most.

Is there a technical tee made from something other then merino coming? I love merino but, I find it can get very static-y in situations.

abe1x2 karma

Each pant has it's own unique pattern because each fabric behaves differently, closest thing would be the old Workwear pants. There may be something similar cooking in the kitchen though.

As for tee, we just love merino too much. Here what you are saying though, could be an area for us to dig more into.

mstr_dft1 karma

hey abe, what do you know about gelanots fabric? is it good stuff?

abe1x1 karma

It's toyota's brand name for laminated waterproof breathables. It's totally solid stuff, nothing special but pretty comparable to gore or what not. Not sure if they put it under the gelatnots name or not but toyota is doing some interesting things to push the breathability of the membrane up, but in the end all membrane fabrics still don't breathe very well.

kramertron1 karma

Went to buy some pants and at checkout found out that shipping to South Korea via UPS is over $100 :(

abe1x2 karma

do you have any suggestions on services that have better rates? International shipping is tricky as each shipper is good at some countries and bad at others. We don't sell much at all to South Korea, but this might be why... Definitely down to look into other options.

Ry_NSX1 karma

You're an inspiration. Thanks

abe1x1 karma

thanks!

rcourtie1 karma

Hi Abe, I love your products, especially the shorts.

Just wondering if you were planning on re-releasing the minimalist backpack? I really wanted one when it came out, but I was broke and couldn't afford one.

I have pictures of it on my hardrive that I start at longingly every now and then.

abe1x3 karma

We are considering it, but we are stuck on a few bits we really want to improve but cant right now.

nautlier0 karma

First, I absolutely love Outlier's clothing. I wear it all the time and want more every day.

But....

Couldn't you avoid raising your prices (somewhat significantly) with no added benefits by being open to having them sewn somewhere else in the US? It's not like the sewing is even the standout in my Outlier stuff - my Keirin Cut dungarees had loose threads all over the place after the first wash.

Also, although the photography is nice, I'd rather see your stuff in your studio on the site rather than have the cost of a trip to Iceland for Lars and the photography crew passed on to me.

abe1x11 karma

ok, fair point. I did the math and the cost of all the travel photography added about $0.63 to every garment last year. Send me your paypal and I'll refund you for your loss.

You know what's funny though, there are tons of huge brands out there that send a lot of effort trying to get as profitable as possible. If they thought cutting their photo budgets down would save enough costs to make them more money or lower their costs they'd do it in a second. Yet they keep taking expensive photos and running expensive ads. You know why? Because if no one looks at your stuff than it's really hard to sell it. And if no one buys it, you don't save a few bucks, you lose your whole freaking business.

Emiliano is a fucking amazing photographer and working with him is one the greatest bargains we've ever gotten, so if you don't mind we are just going to keep on taking the best damn photos we can in the best damn locations we can get to. And we'll do it in part because we love it and love Emiliano's work, but also in a large part because it's going to help us stay and business and keep on making more amazing items.

MartinSchou-1 karma

I've done quite a few things by accident, quite a few of them involving crashing my bicycle in rather unpleasant ways.

So, I'm curious - how does one accidentally build a clothing company? Did you start out by trying to build a LEGO Death Star and found yourself using the wrong plans for it?

abe1x3 karma

yeah that's pretty much it exactly.

(alt version you can check this video )

slayemin-2 karma

Hey, I heard a conspiracy that winter was invented by clothing companies. Now that you're on the inside, is it true?!

abe1x4 karma

you know what they say, there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes...