Spotlight on Bicycle Fashion Designers – Outlier

Abe Burmeister and Tyler Clemens are the design duo behind Outlier, a brand that tailors performance wear for men and women.

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Spotlight: Abe Burmeister and Tyler Clemens

Tailored performance wear for men and women.

Founded 2008 | Brooklyn, NY

Abe Burmeister and Tyler Clemens, the design duo behind Outlier, wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for coffee. Each had been toiling independently in two different branches of the same New York City coffee shop. A friendly barista, who happened to work both counters, realized that each was tackling the same problem: how to look sharp, say, for client meetings, without needing to change out of biking clothes. Emails were exchanged, and the two met face-to-face.

From first contact, the design chemistry was immediate. Clemens brought his background in high-end custom tailoring. Burmeister transferred his knowledge of graphic design to apparel. The result was a pair of pants that could be worn while commuting through an autumn drizzle to a downtown cocktail party. In 2008, Outlier was born.

Just don’t call it a bicycle clothing brand. Yes, that first pair of pants was cycling-specific. However, as Burmeister and Clemens clarify, Outlier produces well-made clothing that suits any active lifestyle, no matter how you get around.

Such are the needs of this customer, who recently dropped by the studio to share his story: he picked up a pair of Outlier pants a few months earlier and they quickly became his favorite. Not long after, he wore them on a flight to Spain. Once off the plane, he went for a weeklong bike trip. After flying back across the Atlantic, he attended a wedding, and then came back home to New York City, all in the same pair of pants.

Outlier is entirely self-funded, with Burmeister and Clemens bootstrapping the entire operation. “Being independent has given us the freedom to never compromise.”

Unlike a typical sport apparel company, Outlier avoids the pitfalls that come with designing for extreme weather and terrain. Even if you never climb anything higher than a ladder to clean the gutters, your Outlier shorts could make it up Everest. But for a sophisticated urbanite, it is this built-to-last quality that holds a lot of appeal.

Burmeister and Clemens have focused their attention on products that maintain a level of polish that suits life in a big city. Rather than making a sporty statement, the beauty is in the details. The design starts with a basic pair of fitted slacks. Subtle improvements to fit, a performance textile, and slight modifications add up to make the wearer more comfortable and relaxed. As Clemens put it, “We try to simplify the decisions you have to make.” Added Burmeister, “It improves what you can do and where you can go.”

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