#38: Outlier's Abe Burmeister Isn't Afraid to Switch Gears
This week on HYPEBEAST Radio, we caught up with Abe Burmeister. Before founding the Brooklyn-based tech-wear company Outlier, Burmeister oversaw a blogging network called Abstract Dynamics, which focused on “design, networks and culture,” and played host to diverse voices like music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, Iranian philsopher and theory-fiction pioneer Reza Negarestani, and the late, influential cultural critic Mark “k-punk” Fisher.
“This was way back, like pre-origin story,” reminisces Burmeister fondly, sitting between the brand’s extensive collection of fabric swatches and its complete product archive. Realizing that he could stand to liquidate most of his possessions and still live and work comfortably, Burmeister threw most of his possessions out and lived for four years as a digital nomad, of sorts. All he needed was a connection to Ricochet, an innovative wireless Internet service that predates WiFi, and he was good to go. “I could work in any of the 13 cities that had Ricochet networks set up,” says Burmeister, before the other boot landed with a harsh thud: “Ricochet closed down, like, two weeks after I threw everything out.” Abe remembers going to Washington Square Park and using a wireless network in the park’s seediest corner.
“We do all of this experimentation and play with new stuff, but the idea is to find and learn things from that process that we can put into these really core products. That’s sort of our goal: keep playing around, but at the end of the day we just wanna make one amazing thing.”
Along the way, Burmeister started to think about the clothing that he did hold onto — hence, Outlier. The company’s creation myth is simple enough: frustrated by how his pant-leg would snag on his bike-chain while cycling to work, Burmeister started looking to activewear and outdoors companies, who were doing interesting things with materials. Outlier doesn’t release seasonal collections. Favoring the immediacy of drops, Burmeister drops new product every Tuesday, feeding his fiercely loyal clientele. Many of these drops are on-off Experiments, others are retros of the brand’s cult favorites.
Check out the episode in full above and be sure to like, subscribe and leave reviews on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and wherever else pods are found.
- Eddie Lee/HYPEBEAST
- Jade Chung
- Ben Roazen