Right next to McCarran Park in Brooklyn is Outlier’s office and Willie Norris, its design director for seven years. Since establishing her idea series four seasons ago, Norris has expanded Outlier’s lexicon to subtly include her own inherently quirky phrasing. Idea 4: The “new math” allowed her to blur the line even further.
Her starting point this season is Bernard Rudowski’s essay “Are Clothes Modern?” and his title of the book “Architecture without an Architect”. “I’ve been trying to think about what fashion design is without a fashion designer or without the rules we set for us,” Norris said. This season, instead of projecting the idea of a collection into the future, she embraces it day in and day out, operating as a designer without the often self-imposed frenzy that accompanies work. However, exercise that sounds healthy is not ‘ t Let us know about her tangible tools for building her collection. The answer is more direct, but just as sensible. Norris is a scrapbooker: she tends to write down words as they appear, rather than draw or sketch. By combining loose concepts like “long blazer” and “skin” with cultural references like “cheap chic gay”, she found her ground. One concept that she repeated that immediately caught the eye was “everyday glamour.”
All of this in a spring collection reimagining wardrobe essentials with technical Outlier treatments and disruptive Norris touches. In tailoring, the star of the season is an ankle-length blazer in infused linen, an Outlier signature. Reminiscent of the slouchy silhouette of a dress over a jacket, it’s unlined and surprisingly light in a solid color and a trompe l’oeil version. More were hoodie dresses (the skirt consisted of double rib knit with a traditional sweatshirt waistband that stretched to the floor); Outlier “overkill” mesh bodysuits; and extra-long T-shirts. Each side seam of the tee has a magnet that allows you to open or drape them as needed (Norris has a demo to transform one from an extra-long tee into a goddess gown). They are also applied to other parts as simple closures. Norris’ discovery of accessibility is remarkable. It looks cool as a design signature is just a positive side effect. This balance of playfulness and purpose is where Norris thrives and a space she should continue to explore.
)Outlier is known for precise technical menswear. Its cult status stems from the time its fans take to Reddit or Discord to evaluate its fabric, cut and fit. But how do you visually refresh a world built on a quiet exterior that’s all about subtle details? “Creating novelty in clever technological ways” was the answer from Norris, who said she used to struggle with the notion of functionality, “but now I see it differently, that functionality can be just visual.” Here’s Norris pushing Outlier The universe goes beyond what it usually includes in terms of clothing, finding ways of glamour in everyday life. “I’ve realized what my job is,” Norris says eagerly, “to make people who like fashion want to get on a plane and want to travel.” For the same reason, she teamed up with artist Zak Krevitt on her Lookbook (shot in runway format, with each model as a guest after the runway) transformed into an alien fashion show, which you can find on the brand’s Instagram. “My dream fashion show is on a fucking different planet,” she said. “These are my characters.”