Last week I was a bit overzealous in using the title “Winter Week,” so this week I’ve decided to go with the more moderate “Fall Week, Summer Edition” and focus on lightweight jackets. Seems a bit more reasonable.
I’m not sure if I’d consider it a mid-life crisis, or adolescence or what, but right now menswear is going through it’s confused years. Everyday we see brands that were once heritage turning toward Neapolitan style tailoring, we find Japanese labels that are better at Americana than American brands because those American designers are preoccupied with channeling Scandinavian design. We are in the midst of a melting pot full of influence where once conflicting styles are blended together without anyone batting an eyelash. And then on the other hand there are brands like Outlier, a company that hits the sweet spot, never “reinventing” themselves, or trying to stay on trend, Outlier simply makes great clothes that you just can’t help but get behind.
Outlier began with a simple goal, they wanted to create a pair of pants for the bike commuter that rides into a traditional workplace each day. A pair of pants that fit well and could take a beating but still looked appropriate for a workday. They succeeded in creating what can only be described as a pair of tailored, technical, trousers that propelled Outlier into the spotlight. That was back in 2008 and since then they’ve taken their unique design approach and applied it to everything from shirts to bags to shoes to create products that couple a thoughtful modern fit with revolutionary fabrics.
Over the past year I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Abe Burmeister,Tyler Clemens, and Roy Dank, who together make up team Outlier, and every time I run into them I hear stories of cutting-edge materials and insane ideas. Which is why when Roy emailed me over some info on their newest release, The Supermarine Anorak, I wasn’t the least bit surprised that it was one of the most amazing jackets I had ever seen.
The jacket has all the fundamentals of a solid anorak-a half-zip front, a large kangaroo pocket, a deep hood, but taking a closer look at the details, you can see the level of consideration put into the piece. The half-zip is protected by an adjustable magnetic throat piece to add an extra layer of protection, the jacket is equipped with side vents to allow for breathability, there’s a rear stash pocket, and then of course there’s Outlier’s strongest suit: the fabric itself.
Supermarine cotton is the sort of fabric that has made Outlier legendary over the past few years. It’s a highly breathable, water resistant, entirely windproof material that very few people use because it hasn’t seeped into the mainstream yet. Outlier sources the fabric from Italy, and it’s a revised version of the original Supermarine cotton that the British military used during World War Two to outfit their fighter pilots in case they crash landed in the North Sea. The material is lightweight, and practically silent compared to Gore-Tex and other so-called “technical” fabrics making it easy to toss on and move around in during those brisk fall days.
The Supermarine Anorak is an extraordinary piece, but it’s exactly what I’ve come to expect from Outlier. Outlier is one of that brands that I consider to be true “designers.” They aren’t simply tinkering with little details, or color, or patterns, they’re approaching each garment like a problem, taking an existing design and stripping it down to it’s foundation only to rebuild it again as something we have never seen before, and that’s why there’s really no other company like them out there today.