Outlier - All for the sake of the future of clothing


The unique properties of Dyneema® seem to go hand in hand with the design philosophy of Outlier. This New York based clothing label strives to truly implement the properties of fabrics into their designs. Their ultrahigh Backpack made from Dyneema® is a good example.

Please introduce yourself and share why you do what you do.
AB: My name is Abe Burmeister and I’m the founder of Outlier, a small NY-based company focused on creating the future of clothing.

What led you to seek out Dyneema® to use in your product?
AB: We stumbled across Cubic Tech’s nonwoven Dyneema® composite not long after we started the company, probably back in 2009. It was in a back corner of a huge trade show and it totally blew our minds.

We had no idea what to do with it but we knew we wanted to figure something out. We met with them again in 2010 and they showed us the bags that Hyperlite Mountain Gear was doing and it started to click. We loved what Hyperlite were doing for ultra-light backpacking and immediately started talking about collaborating with them to do versions of their bags more geared toward city life. We did a few amazing collaborations with them, and then last year decided it was time to design our own bags, which is where we are now.

Could you tell us a bit about the results?
AB: We’re most proud of our Ultrahigh Backpack which we really designed as a backpack that you could wear like clothing rather than carry like a load. We wanted to make something so light, stable and balanced that you could forget you are wearing it, the same way you forget you are wearing a shirt or pants. The lightweight strength of Dyneema® is huge in this, but it’s actually the dimensional stability that really seems to make an impact. Because the bag has practically zero stretch it is far more stable on your back when you are moving, making for a significantly more comfortable pack.

How have you incorporated Dyneema®?
AB: It’s all about making light, strong and beautiful bags. Our design philosophy is all about meditating on the properties of materials and finding really simple yet powerful ways to utilize them. Dyneema® makes it really easy because it’s such a singular fiber with incredible properties, and Cubic Tech’s nonwoven implementation is tailor made for bags: it’s strong, light, waterproof, dimensionally stable and when bonded to other materials takes on incredible character as it ages. All that adds up to creating bags that are far easier to carry, and look great in the process.

Please give us an insight into the process of working with a material as strong as Dyneema®.
AB: It’s been really interesting for us because when we started, no traditional bag factory wanted to touch the stuff. All the really early ultra-light pack guys like Hyperlite, Cilo and Z-Packs built their own factories. But it turns out, it’s not that different from most other textiles, especially with the sort of composites we are using. Right now we are in a factory in the US that does a lot of military stuff. And while it took them a little bit of time to get used to it, they don’t have much trouble with it anymore.

''The lightweight strength of Dyneema® is huge in the Ultrahigh Backpack, but it’s actually the dimensional stability that really seems to make an impact''

Did you face any complexities when working with Dyneema®?
AB: You need to be careful cutting it and sewing it. But once you get all the machines calibrated right, it’s not rocket science. It just requires taking a little bit to time to test things out.

What other possibilities do you see for a material with such specific properties?
AB: I have no idea if it’s possible but I’d love a super thin Dyneema® tabletop. It’s really beyond my skill set but I’d love to think you could tension up a surface made from Cubic Tech’s composite and create a table that’s so thin it barely seems to exist…

And finally, would you share with us which innovations outside of your immediate professional field you’re most excited about at the moment?
AB: I’m really interested in the implications of Moore’s law as it applies to making smaller and smaller supercomputers. We’re basically at the point where you can put a supercomputer on your wrist and no one really knows what to do with it! Apple, Google, the Swiss watchmakers and others are all playing around but so far all we have is gadgets. I’m guessing that in the next couple years some kids somewhere will create some amazingly unpredictable stuff that will shock us at how useful and essential it is.

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