Outlier: Tailored Performance Clothing Ryan Williams FMPC 505: Product Knowledge Wayne Mclennan Friday, October 18th, 2013
2 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: Started in 2008, with only 25 pairs of pants and 15,000 thousand dollars, Outlier steadily grew into a globally recognized apparel company with sales reaching 2.7 million dollars last year (Upbin, 2013). The main reason behind their success is the significant emphasis on fabric. Outlier uses only the highest quality modern synthetic performance fabrics for their line of formal and casual apparel. Outlier seems to have built, along with a handful of other companies at varying price levels, a niche market for high quality sportswear infused â€˜performance menswearâ€™ (Upbin, 2013). Outlier choices fabric that
3 provides the performance and function of sportswear and active-wear, and refines them into chic minimal designs perfect for business and casual wear.
Fabric Development: The specific fabric this paper focuses on is the work cloth doubleweave canvas used in their slim dungaree model. To grasp a better understanding behind the development of that specific textile; it is essential to examine the construction of their original 4season doubleweave fabric used in their original product, the OG pant. The concept behind the OG Pant was a ride-to-work pant that could act as a synthetic super version of the classic wool or cotton twill trousers (Upbin, 2013). By using high quality technical fabrics the pants could withstand the continuous motions of cycling during daily commutes without deteriorating completely within months of constant wear. The 4season fabric uses highly durable nylon yarns on the exterior and doublecloth weaves the material with loosely woven soft polyester on the interior. This creates a double-faced fabric that provides extremely dense 6 by 6 yarns on the outside woven with much softer polyester fibers on the inside the pants giving a soft hand (Core77, 2012). The fabric is constructed using 80 percent nylon, 10 percent polyester, and 10 percent elastane weighing in at less than 9 ounces (Outlier.cc, 2013). The elastane is used in both the warp and the weft fibers creating an extremely durable and flexible 4 way stretch (Upbin, 2013). Schoeller AG, one of the world’s most advanced textile mills based in Switzerland, developed the fabric and is largely employed by companies amongst the ‘performance menswear’ sector (Upbin, 2013). Schoeller AG continues to supply Outlier with fabrics used to manufacture a full line of shirting, outerwear, and accessories (Outlier.cc, 2013).
4Season Doubleweave Fabric Source: Outlier.ccc, 2013
Fabric Characteristics & Serviceability: Outlier established the 4season doubleweave nylon-polyester blend and entered the market with their only product, the OG pant. Outlier had developed a pant with the aesthetic of a traditional dress chino yet containing elements commonly used in skiwear (Upbin, 2013). As Outlier’s product diversified into shirting and outwear, the design team at Outlier set out to produce a casual pant inspired by denim that would be both comfortable and durable. Denim has been popular for over a century due to its ability to be durable, comfortable, and provide a beautiful aesthetic. However the cotton used in jeans posed many limitations including its inevitable deterioration from constant motion giving many individuals a ‘crotch blowout’. In addition, cotton denim has little resistance towards water, stays wet for an extended period of time, and easily collects dirt (Core77, 2012). Outlier recognized denim’s weaknesses, and knew the incorporation of synthetic fabric could help to create a stronger, lighter, and more durable pair of casual pants. The development of the slim dunagree model required a shift towards a double-cloth weave that utilized canvas structure as opposed to twill. A canvas weave provides much more density and structure to a pant, giving it more of a ‘break’ then ‘drape’, similar to the aesthetic of denim fabric (Core77, 2012). Outlier deemed the new textile their ‘work cloth
5 doubleweave canvas’ and is constructed with 82 percent Cordura grade nylon fibres on the outer face, 16 percent polyester on the interior, and only 2 percent elastane providing a two way stretch (Outlier.cc, 2013). The increase in nylon provides the structure and depth of denim, while a higher percent of polyester on the interior provides a feel similar to a sweat pant. The work cloth doubleweave canvas is Outlier’s heaviest fabric, weighing in at just less then 10 ounces (Outlier.cc, 2013), however is a more durable fabric then denim, which tend to weigh on average 12 to 14 ounces.
Work Cloth Doubleweave Canvas Nanosphere
Source: Outlier.cc, 2013
Outlier provides a finish to their fabrics, which is proprietary of Schoeller AG
textiles, that works on a nano level attaching to the fibers within the fabric and generating a ‘self-cleaning’ surface (Core77, 2013). The surface of the doubleweave canvas is able to self clean due to its resemblance to the surface of a lotus leaf. The fabric provides maximum breathability while offering a 3D structure that remains highly resistance to water and dirt (Core77, 2013).
Nanosphere Treatment Source: Core77.com, 2012
Product Positioning and Target Consumer: Outlier’s success is their ability to use the most modern fabrics, put tremendous testing and consideration in their designs, and still offer a reasonably priced product. Outlier’s full line ranges in price from merino socks at 22 dollars per pair to 600 dollars for a soft merino core bomber style outerwear (Outlier.cc, 2013). Outlier utilizes the keystone method of pricing; distributing their product exclusively online. Abe Burmeister, co-founder of Outlier, intentionally kept the price of Outlier’s first pant under 200 dollars to compete within the bridge price point of higher quality denim and trousers (Fawkes, 2012). Outlier’s current slim dunagree model aims to provide a better alternative to denim at the reasonable cost of 198 dollars. The company does no traditional form of advertising and continues to strive, not to merely gain profits, but to design garments with performance fabrics that consumers will respect. Outlier demonstrates the company’s hypothesis that a well design product will sell itself (Fawkes, 2012)
OG Pant ($240), Soft Core Bomber ($600), OG Blazer ($550) Source: Outlier.cc, 2013 When examining the target customer from a psychographic perspective, it is easy to identify several consumer profiles, based off the traditional values and lifestyle model, which would respond to Outlier’s product. The consumer profile of ‘innovator’ describes purchasing habits that demonstrate a reflection of taste and responds to upscale niche products (Keiser & Gardner, 2012). The ‘innovator’ profile would be attracted by product’s use of the most modern materials and the appeal of domestic manufacturing. The consumer profile of ‘experiencer’, whose buying habits act as a form of self-expression, would also respect Outlier’s ability to produce apparel that would complement their physically active lifestyles revolving around sports and outdoor activities (Keiser & Gardner, 2012). Holt Renfrew recently stated in the Globe & Mail (Strauss, 2012) “the [Holt Renfrew] market segment is growing more attractive to men focusing more on their appearance in a rocky economy and tough job market”. Outlier offers an extremely high quality product, manufactured with Swiss fabric in New York, at a bridge level price point that positions them at a lower price point then most high-end labels. There has been a backlash within recent years against the shift towards fast and disposable fashion. Outlier is capitalizing on the recent pendulum swing back to slower fashion designed and manufactured with craftsmanship and the finest materials (Keiser & Gardner, 2012). If Outlier were to abandon their online exclusive, keystone method of pricing and sell wholesale to retail locations, they could provide their products at a higher-end designer price-point. However, their continued interactive relationship with consumers and ability
8 to retain such high quality control over their product implies they will continue to succeed with their current structure.
Conclusion: Outlier has revolutionized the way products are designed and sold to consumers with their ability to use the world’s leading textile mills and distribute online exclusively at lower price points. Outlier’s original development 4season double-cloth twill weave fabric used in the OG Pant opened up the possibilities of movement and durability for consumers. Outlier’s growth and development of the work cloth doubleweave canvas fabric utilizing Cordura grade nylon and polyester has provided the market with the ’21st century modern jean’ (Core77, 2012). There truly is no company like Outlier on the current market that is demonstrating the value of high quality performance fabrics at such a reasonable price point.
Bibliography Fawkes, P. PSFK News. (May 2012) Abe Burmeister: How I Built a Fashion Bran With No Experience, Just a Punk Rock Spirit. Digital video. Retrieved October 15th 2013 http://www.psfk.com/2012/05/outlier-talk-psfk-ny.html. Jr., Core. “Case Study: Outlier On Creating the 21st Century Jean.” Web log post. Core 77. July 10th, 2012. Accessed Website October 17th, 2013.
9 http://www.core77.com/blog/case_study/case_study_outlier_on_creating_the_21st_cent ury_jean.
Keiser, S. J., & Garner, M. B. (2012). Beyond Design: The synergy of Apparel Product Development. New York: Fairchild Books
Outlier: Tailored Performance Clothing. (2013). Retrieved October 13, 2013, from Outlier
Clothing Web site: http://outlier.cc
Strauss, M. (2012, 09 06). Holt renfrew targets the fashion-minded man. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/holtrenfrew-targets-the-fashion-minded-man/article4525205/