Abe Burmeister

Abe Burmeister used to be an information designer where he made interfaces for real-time stock networks. Now he is the fashion designer & co-founder of Outlier. He was born in Manhattan but has since defected to Brooklyn.

Introduction

Abe Burmeister is the co-founder and co-creator of cult favorite clothing brand, Outlier. To call their products technical clothing is really under-appreciating what the Brooklyn, New York-based company does. Every time I see their products, I see the future of clothing in a world limited by resources due to our changing climate. I see a path to a future wardrobe, where clothes are not just known for their style, but for their ease of use, longevity, and ingenuity. He has been at it for nearly a decade, and now you can see larger brands jumping on the bandwagon.

According to their website, “Outlier was born in the Spring of 2008 when a barista named Jenni Bryant realized two of her regular customers needed to meet. Abe had been experimenting with making a better pair of pants for his bike commute while Tyler Clemens had been doing the same thing with shirts.” The rest is history.

My first encounter with Outlier was through Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai, who sent me one of Outlier’s backpacks as a birthday gift. He had been wearing their clothes and was a huge fan of the company. I started googling the brand, ended up watching a few videos of Abe tell his story, and often thought that he would be a great interview. To be honest, none of Outlier’s clothes fit me — something I grouse about with Naveen. But that hasn’t stopped me from admiring what they do as a company. The company’s philosophy is what really got me: “We think the traditional fashion system is flawed and that it is possible to create higher quality garments at better prices by rethinking traditional cycles of development, production, and distribution.”

Coincidently, Abe was at Naveen’s wedding and it was a perfect opportunity to twist his arm to do an interview with me. I wanted to know more about him, Outlier, what he thought of the boom in venture-backed clothing startups — and most importantly, the future of technical materials and fashion.

This is an edited version of our conversation. I will soon release an unedited version as a podcast as well, so you can hear him tell the story.

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Louis Rossetto

Louis Rossetto is the co-founder and original editor of Wired. He was also the first investor and the former CEO of TCHO chocolate company. Rossetto and his partner Jane Metcalfe were publishing pioneers, and in the 1990s, were the creative sparks behind the Wired magazine. In 2015, Rossetto and Metcalfe were honored with a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017, Rossetto is publishing Change is Good, an original novel about "the creation myth of the Digital Generation."

Introduction

Louis Rossetto, co-founder of Wired magazine, recently announced the publication of his first novel, Change is Good, a collaborative art project with designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann.

Last week, I met Louis and we walked down a memory lane, talking about our publishing lives, disappointments and emotional challenges of breaking up with something you create. We pondered about the state of the media, the emergence of President Trump and why we need to be optimistic about the future.

Here is an edited version of my conversation with someone I admire deeply.

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Julie Zerbo

Julie Zerbo is the twentysomething founder and editor in chief of The Fashion Law, a website dedicated to the field of fashion law and business. She is a vocal critic of fast fashion and dubious industry practices, especially when it relates to fashion media.

Introduction

The rise of social media has turbocharged global materialism and consumer culture, and nothing reflects this more than the incessant and unending chatter from the fashion industry. Fast fashion in particular is not only a challenge to our society but also a detriment to our ecology. As my awareness has grown around the challenges of fast fashion, I've found myself engrossed in a blog called The Fashion Law. One fine day, I saw the blog stand up for a small designer in Scotland who had her design stolen by Chanel. A few weeks later Chanel apologized, and I became a fan of this fair-minded blog. I wrote an email to the editor of the blog — Julie Zerbo — and mentioned that I was going to be in New York and would like to get together to talk about the fashion industry. We met at Happy Bones in the Little Italy/Soho area and talked for hours. This is an edited version of our conversation.

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Chris Young

Chris Young is a Seattle-based entrepreneur and professional chef with a background in theoretical mathematics and biochemistry. From 2003 to 2007, he worked at the Fat Duck with super chef Heston Blumenthal as well as opened the Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen. He left to work with Nathan Myhrvold on Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. In 2012, he cofounded ChefSteps, which invents appliances and develops cooking methodologies for a postindustrial society.

Introduction

Chris Young is a rare combination of inventor, entrepreneur and chef. He is the co-author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and the co-founder of ChefSteps, a Seattle-based company that invents appliances and develops cooking methodologies befitting the postindustrial society.

ChefSteps recently introduced Joule, a small and easy-to-use sous vide tool, the first of many of the products planned by Young and his team of over 50 chefs, scientists, photographers, writers and engineers. “One of the things that makes the kitchen such an interesting challenge from a technological standpoint is that it's not enough to move bits around, you need to push around some atoms too if you want to make people happier in the kitchen,” he wrote to me in an email. “So we decided we were going to have to take the lead on building some new tools for the kitchen if we wanted to see the kitchen get reinvented in a useful way.”

It was enough for me to get interested. We met for a chat in my office in San Francisco and ended up talking for hours about the future of restaurants, Munchery, Soylent, fancy Michelin-star restaurants and, most important, the future of food. This is one of my favorite conversations. I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy it.

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