Willie Norris’ ESCAPE for Outlier

The Garnette Report

Spring 2024 welcomes the sixth installment of the captivating IDEAS series from Outlier, a NYC brand renowned for its fusion of functionality and fantasy. This new collection, titled “ESCAPE,” transcends the mundane and invites fashion enthusiasts to embark on a mesmerizing journey.

Outlier is for the forward-thinking urban traveler, someone who values quality, functionality, and innovation. Led by Design Director Willie Norris, the Brooklyn-based brand brings utility, pleasure, community, and poetry to the art of dressing. Norris, a transfeminine designer, infuses a unique perspective into menswear design. Therefore, Outlier has become a haven for fantasy in the ever-evolving world of fashion.

The allure of an escape transcends simple vacation pictures on Instagram. It forces us to reflect on the emotional and visual transformation that occurs as we leave our daily routines behind. In IDEAS 6, Norris captures these delicate shifts with precision and creativity. We see the idea of an escape before us.

“ESCAPE” unfolds against the backdrop of a harsh New York winter. The collection begins with models clad in heavy outerwear. As they come out of a glowing white tunnel, accessories include luggage, garment bags, neck pillows, and a blanket. A bespoke plaid pattern overlaps zippered overshirts and hooded scarves, setting the tone for what one would bring with them on their way to their destination.

As the collection progresses, we encounter dense yet plush fleece and sturdy base-layer polyester in silhouettes reminiscent of the in-flight experience. Sublimation printing featuring patterns inspired by technical paracord artwork adds utility and emotion.

A shift to warmer, gentler shades with signals the arrival at a new destination, and the following looks showcase individual reinterpretations. Hand-dyed ensembles in stunning hues of blue, purple, and green, adorned with a DNA-inspired motif. A shibori dye treatment, described as “reptilian peacock” by Norris, graces the following outfits. Artist Kyle Meyer was invited to dye yardage, resulting in a mesmerizing pattern of colorful auras decorating some of the most vibrant pieces in the collection. Furthermore, Norris’ creativity extends to a strapless dress. There, the sun seems to dip into the hem of the dress, paired with an oversized sheer button-down that was inspired by a picturesque ride on the Sayville Ferry.

Subsequently after a slight untraditional tuxedo intermission, we find ourselves amidst a sandy soiree. Trout-skin rash-guards and swan-print speedos complimented intricate showpieces. One of which included a hand-knotted tank top, crafted using the same rubber ties employed in fly-fishing lures. A zipper-spliced, hand-painted poncho, was inspired by the skin of a cutthroat trout. Undoubtedly, this collection is a confirmation of the designer’s eclectic and meticulous artistry.

But is a destination always an “escape?” The beauty and grooming aspects of IDEAS 6 take on the form of physical and visual impressions left on our bodies by the environment. Sun-kissed sand grains adorn the skin, resembling the aftermath of a beachside nap, while makeup artistry creates the illusion of fresh sunburn lines, alluding to the “sandbox” in which the IDEAS series plays.

Outlier’s IDEAS series is more than just seasonal fashion. Instead, it’s a container of exploration and experimentation within Willie Norris’ ongoing work with the brand. ESCAPE with Outlier’s IDEAS 6 collection and redefine your journey in style.

Photo byPhoto By Outlier

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