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REDEF (Interest Mix): A FashionREDEF ORIGINAL: A Q&A With Abe Burmeister and Tyler Clemens, Founders of Outlier
"Q: When I say wearable technology, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

Abe Burmeister: Um. I'm gonna go take a nap.

We spend a lot of time reading about the history of apparel, and the Industrial Revolution started with spinning jenny machines to power cotton mills. None of that stuff ended up in your clothes. It changed how clothes were made radically, but there's no motors in your clothes, right? Like, almost none of it actually made it into the clothes. Velcro is a very simple machine. A zipper is really the main thing that came out of it that made it into your clothes.

So, there's an information revolution going on, and it's going to radically change how clothes are made, but whether it ends up inside your clothing, who knows? A lot of people are trying, and I think some interesting stuff will happen, but we'll have to wait and see.

I don't see any of it as inevitable. It's inevitable that it will change the environment around apparel. We'll see about the watch. Ringly just got a bunch of funding, maybe that's something.

Personally, I'm trying to eliminate as many beeps and buzzes from my life, so, it's interesting. I'm probably going to buy an Apple watch just to see what it's like. But, at the same time, I'm like, "You know what? I'm trying to turn off as many of those buzzes as possible, not get them closer to me.""



"Q: If you guys had to bet on one of these information revolution era technologies to vastly change how we are producing clothing, whether that's 3D printing or VR fitting rooms, what would you put your money on?

Tyler Clemens: For me, I think it has something to do with health. So, if there's a way to put—

Abe Burmeister: To me it's been, and I'm surprised this wasn't Tyler's answer, actually, but we've been looking at bonding technology and how garments are actually put together. It's super labor intensive.

We make most of our stuff in the U.S. We visit the factories where we're fairly certain people are getting paid at least minimum wage, they're treated well, they're not locked in, you know, things like that.

That was a really early lesson when I started visiting the Garment District. I was like, "I have no idea what a sweatshop is." You have this vision in your head, like, sweatshop, but when you actually start going into the ground, you don't know what it is.

It's immigrant labor. There's never been any success in getting anybody but the bottom rungs of the economic labor market to sew on a mass level, right? So, you even see it in China. People don't want to be sewing anymore. The market's moving to Vietnam. And there's also fantastic, really beautiful, high-end factories emerging there, which is great.

But to me, chasing the labor to the bottom rung... We're less price-sensitive than more commodity-driven companies, but if our factories said, "Hey, the price doubles tomorrow," we wouldn't be happy. Even though we'd be happy the workers would be getting paid more.

Eventually, if the world is going to keep developing in a positive way, we need to eliminate this kind of drudge-type labor that's very repetitive. I'd rather have a world where people weren't running the same garment through the machine every day, the same stitch. That's the kind of job that would be great if it disappeared, right?

There is a pleasure in making a garment. You know, you're producing something real. But, at the same time, I'm not lining up for a job at a sewing factory. Almost nobody with fluent English capabilities is in America. I think you get the same kind of echoing throughout other countries as well. Italy, they're bringing workers in from China to make "made in Italy" garments.

And in China, we've talked to factories that are like, "Yeah, you know, the people just don't come back. They go away for Chinese New Year and half of them don't come back. They want jobs where they can sit at a computer all day now."

The bonding technology's interesting. The 3D printing, I think, is a long way off. Maybe one day it emerges.

Some people actually try to call it 3D printing, but the more advanced knitting technologies can pretty much just print out a sweater, which is pretty cool. So, stuff like that, I think, is where I would like to see the change happen, and where we're putting some energy in."

[via: “Very interesting interview w/ the founders of @Outlier. ⌘F "sewing" for a provocative section… http://www.mediaredefined.com/a-fashionredef-original-a-qa-w-1009251383.html
https://twitter.com/robinsloan/status/570641334530236417

and

“takes while to get going but this interview is interesting as hell http://www.mediaredefined.com/a-fashionredef-original-a-qa-w-1009251383.html via @robinsloan ” [+screenshot of the question and opening lines about wearable technology]
https://twitter.com/doingitwrong/status/570696532749647873 ]

[Some follow-up:
“@doingitwrong @robinsloan Thanks for this. Thinking about our family relationship to sewing. ”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570719008506257409

“@doingitwrong @robinsloan But also thinking about pockets as wearable technology. https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/t:pockets Joinery. Access.”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570719257949970432

“@rogre @doingitwrong Wow I would love to read your extended thoughts on this! Grecolaborativo & sewing as social media (??)”
https://twitter.com/robinsloan/status/570755963361177600

“@robinsloan @doingitwrong On it.

For now…
1. @vruba http://tinyletter.com/vruba/letters/6-14-america … and @bldgblog https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:b0b610fa3b45
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570802756438503424

“@robinsloan @doingitwrong
2. visual stimuli
http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/tagged/sewing/

3. mending
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/t:mending
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570803959666855937

“@robinsloan @doingitwrong
4. @LangeAlexandra “3D printers have a lot to learn
from the sewing machine”
http://www.dezeen.com/2014/05/08/3d-printers-have-a-lot-to-learn-from-the-sewing-machine/
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570804635725725696

“@robinsloan @doingitwrong
and

5. tailoring (no refs, other than if falling under the solarpunk umbrella)
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:7bab45bb0cb5
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570804967780458496 ]
abeburmeister  tylerclemens  outlier  intervies  clothing  wearables  via:robinsloan  via:timmaly  2015  manufacturing  repetition  labor  sweatshops  glvo 
february 2015 by robertogreco

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