Willie Norris for Outlier Ideas 5 – ‘Proof’

March 12, 2023


Willie Norris presents the Outlier fall 2023 collection, the fifth installment of the IDEAS series.

IDEAS is a sequence of collections created by Design Director Willie Norris and launched in Fall 2020. The IDEAS series explores the overlap of hyper-utility and hyper-fantasy, the link between faraway universes and universal necessities. “PROOF” finds Willie’s innate playfulness paired with Outlier’s utility-minded fabrications and legacy of functionality which create a visual and visceral tension best described as “alien electricity.” From dynamic, buoyant and colorful fringe suits to elegant down offerings, IDEAS 5 pulses with fantastical function.

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My dream fashion show is on a fucking different planet, and these are my characters.


IDEAS 5 began with the images from IDEAS 4 — “NEW MATH,” a set of runway looks transformed with AI by Zak Krevitt, an artist and collaborator of Willie’s that uses photography, AI, and code to explore expansive identity. The result was a virtual show set in a place lovingly dubbed “WILLIE WORLD”: the realm of a runway cast with AI-generated aliens who delivered new DNA to the Outlier lore. For IDEAS 5, Willie extruded the digital alien cast of WILLIE WORLD and dressed them for a runway in the physical world.

Star Wars

A source of inspiration this season was the Mos Eisley Cantina from “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” and its lasting impression as a scene that felt both alien and familiar at the same time. IDEAS 5 was imagined in a place of parallel feeling and we see the cast walk on a runway of drainage mats and wet tarps. The results are captured in photos and presented here as a wearable offering for Fall 2023 and beyond.

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Using two aliens from Krevitt’s renderings as a starting point, Willie designs a cast of creature groups for IDEAS 5 using handmade masks, makeup and foam latex prosthetic elements masterfully applied by three different SFX artists, to build them.

IDEAS 5 Themes

Bringing the altered, alien presences from the virtual realm onto a very real runway set is a mediation on our own escape through the vehicle of fashion. Willie asks, “How do we use our clothing to escape the confines of capital, reality, gender, expectations and ultimately the human form?” None of the characters on the IDEAS 5 runway seem of our world, and yet we are drawn to borrow their ideas of function, beauty, and expression.

IDEAS 5 includes exciting thematic callbacks from previous collections (one of the pleasures of the IDEAS series is that each season is not divorced from the previous), current experimentation and glimpses into future pathways.

Rather than operating strictly as a seasonal product offering, each IDEAS iteration is a container for the incubation and visual documentation of exploration, a tenet that the title of the collection, “PROOF,” nods to.

Outlier is mostly clothing, mostly menswear but also bags, accessories and anything else we want to experiment with. Outlier was founded by Abe Burmeister and Tyler Clemens in 2008.

Outlier is designed in Brooklyn, NYC and sold worldwide, exclusively on OUTLIER.NYC.

Willie Norris has been the design director of the brand since 2020.

Willie Norris for Outlier – IDEAS 5 Collection