NEW YORK, United States — Lululemon is strengthening its commitment to local markets with the opening of a brand new Lululemon Lab in New York.
The functional fashion design studio, is the second of its kind for the athletic apparel company, the first located in Vancouver, Canada, where the global brand has its headquarters, launched in 2009.
Acting as a hub for innovation, the ‘hyper-local’ venue will be used as a space to connect with the pulse of the city and those who inhabit it.
Inventing an exclusive line of clothing made and designed locally by the brand’s in-house design and production team, the forward-thinking lab will collaborate with like-minded creatives to expand innovation and creativity. Designs produced in the lab will be versatile, functional and unique to the local community.
Spearheading the project, is Marcus Le Blanc, head designer at Lululemon, who told The Cut:
“The lab is meant to be an influencer of the bigger brand, so if we come up with a new amazing pant shape or original detailing, that has the opportunity to be adopted by the core line.”
Allowing designers to interact directly with customers for insight and inspiration, the lab houses the designer’s quarters in the back of the shop. Customers can give feedback and suggest improvements as they’re trying on garments.
Building a strong connection with its customers is something Lululemon is well-versed in, the reputed brand has fostered brand loyalty through a number of marketing strategies including its ambassador program.
The scheme, featuring athletes, influencers and individuals who harness lululemon’s passion and values, has helped to grow the brand’s presence across the globe. More recently the company has narrowed its focus on social media, in-store workouts and external events to increase visibility amidst a growing field of competitors, all of which have helped to boost sales.
Reporting annual sales of over $2bn (£1.4bn), up from $1.8bn the previous year, Lululemon predicts that number could double to $4bn by 2020, as consumers continue to back the company and its distinctive brand of workout gear.
But, Lululemon Lab is a step away from the company’s traditional garments.
“We have a whole range of product and some of it is not meant for sweat at all,” Le Blanc said. “We’re really addressing your whole day.”
Stocking a collection of tailored pieces meant for the commute, the workplace or for comfort, there is little athleisure, however the brand’s signature technical fabrics and performance enhancing qualities can still be found.
Generating true value for its customers, Lululemon Lab pushes the envelope when it comes to creating the very best product and in-store experience. It caters to the local community, but on a global scale it helps position the brand as leaders in the field.
By elevating its connection with consumers and focusing on product innovation, Lululemon is distancing itself from other brands in the activewear market – a strategy that could be fundamental to the long-term success of the business.