One could argue that the athleisure trend is at its peak, with influencers like Rihanna and Kanye spearheading brands such as Puma and Adidas with their own respective collections and girls everywhere opting for sneakers instead of heels. Calvin Klein even brought back the cozy loungewear with their iconic logos blasted everywhere. Before mainstream took over the trend, however, there was a deep, fascinating obsession surrounding a particular brand that makes gals everywhere excited to work out (or simply live life) while looking bomb. That brand is Lululemon.
We had the pleasure of spending an evening previewing the brand’s Fall 2016 collection at Alchemy Works, a beautiful space in the Arts District of DTLA. We sipped on Social Graces; a cocktail courtesy of The Spare Room and noshed on Chinese food that was presented in a single-serve container, complete with chopsticks. We were also caught drooling (not because of the grub, this time…) over the “Live Mannequins” sporting Lululemon’s Fall 2016 collection. This Artistry in Motion party focused on the craftsmanship behind the up-and-coming designs. Intrigued with the concept of athleisure and the motivation behind Lululemon as a brand, we interviewed Concept Director for Women’s/Men’s Design, Anoosha Foroughi and Courtney Davis, Lululemon’s Global Merchandising Manager. Read on to learn more about what makes Lululemon the top work out brand.
FOAM: Lululemon has been a trailblazer when creating chic workout attire that benefits the woman sporting it, and men for that matter. What, in your opinion, sets Lululemon apart from others?
Anoosha + Courtney: Lululemon’s focus on product creation has always been design led and without constraint, meaning focus on innovation + beautiful and functional solves for our guest. We design functional quality products that take our guest out of a sweaty endeavor and onward through his or her day. We go rouge — in innovation and production creation. Allowing for nimbleness in our product timeline and the ability to react to changes in the way our guest sweats, and how we can solve this for him or her. We obsess over function, fabric and the fit of every garment. Enabling our guest to be at their fullest potential, at all time.
F: We know that design plays a significant role for Lululemon, what inspired the Fall ’16 collection?
A+C: The creative direction for Fall 2016 was ‘sartorial performance’ — which we defined as, ‘the function and technicality of active-wear fused with the detailing and fabrication of men’s bespoke, elegance and the craftsmanship of haute couture’. For the women’s Fall collection, we took sartorial performance through the lens of function meets beauty. We focused on craftsmanship that contoured the body, such as: stitch and bonded details. Additionally, ‘distorted tradition’ was the inspiration for our print and textures in Fall ’16. It is the clash of print-on-print with the men’s inspired textures and geometric overlaying with paisley floral and abstract camo. We also played with washes and Shibori dye techniques on our tights and bras, which allowed for subtle and unique dye color application.
F: Can you give us some details of what goes into creating your prints?
A+C: Our prints are heavily influenced by design, art and street culture. At the moment, London is very inspiring, and it goes back to our theme for Fall 2016. Before we started the season, we visited Norton & Sons on Savile Row in London and noticed the extreme detail and craft, which was eye-opening and inspiring. For the Fall 2016 season, the majority of our prints were designed in-house. We have a team of talented artists, each have a unique style and choice of medium they use in their craft. Typically, between 30-100 hours are spent on a print, depending on the print difficulty. All our engineer prints are body-mapped and we ensure each engineer flatters the female form and unique print placement on the body.
F: What about your dye techniques?
A+C: Each dye technique is either on a time release or hand crafted — allowing each style-color to be unique and ‘perfectly imperfect’. It took us nearly 9 months of dye development to ensure we landed a color transfer that we loved and that truly felt unique in the marketplace. Our dyes are created on a nylon base for a higher quality execution that promotes both movement and to wick away sweat.
F: For Fall 2016, what craftsmanship techniques did you use? Did you use any you haven’t used previously?
A+C:Fall 2016 was a season of firsts in terms on craftsmanship and in print/color/texture creation. We truly wanted to reinvent our classic jacquards and introduce innovative print techniques and washes that are new to our guest. For Fall ’16, the key craftsmanship stories are: hand drawn artwork using different application on nylon, digital engineer prints that are body-mapped, dye techniques – ombre and shibori, splatter reflectivity and stitch detailing for body contouring.
F: What are your favorite pieces in this collection?
A+C:We are absolutely in love with the marble and Florence digital engineers on nulux — these are some of the highest quality artworks we have produced and we’re so proud of the team and the work that went into these beautiful pieces. Also, the new spray jacquard and maze jacquard — these are such modern updates to our herringbone and coco piques of the past.
F: Ultimately, how do you want a woman to feel when wearing your garments?
A+C: Our biggest focus when collaborating with design on product is the concept of quality and no distractions. We want our guest to feel free when she or he wears Lululemon so they can focus on her or his athletic practice. Her + His attire is there to functionally solve & support the sweatiest pursuits, while feeling strong and beautiful.
The new season will be dropping on shop.lululemon.com, check it out!
Photos: Courtesy of Lululemon