(Author : Simone Spilka)
Stepping inside the recently-opened Lululemon store in New York City, you won’t expect to find the typical array of yoga or fitness gear sold online and at any of the global retailer’s hundreds of other locations.
Instead, you’ll find high-end daywear, sunglasses, backpacks and accessories that embody Lululemon’s New York consumer: bold, fashion-forward and active. Welcome to the second-ever Lululemon Lab, a concept store that puts designers and consumers under a shared roof connecting product design and customer experience.
Half design center, half retail center, the Lab acts as a birthplace for activewear products that blend functionality and fashion, shaped in part by the opinion of customers. As it exists, the design studio and sample room share the open space, enabling customers to chat with sales associates, but also engage with the designers as they work. To heighten the quality of service, customers are encouraged to share their candid feedback—such as the desire for deeper pockets or a longer pant leg—with designers on the floor to inspire product iterations and future collections. For the brand, this decentralized hub for design allows the team to test and breed new ideas built directly off of consumer input.
“It’s an incubation center that will allow for new ideas to be actualized and in turn, Lululemon will be able to drawn from that. These ideas will funnel into the larger brand, and into future ideas around retail, space and people. Everything we are doing here is meant to be a forerunner and an experimental space for the future of Lululemon,” Head Designer Marcus Le Blanc told PSFK.
In that, the current collection of wear-to-work styles is a far step outside of the traditional gear that Lululemon has developed over the years. Keeping its distance from the key fabrications and ideas synonymous with the company is a key element to capitalizing on this sense of ‘premium’—it fosters a unique springboard for information sharing between customer and brand.
“Part of the concept is localization and about tailoring product to the New York consumer,” explained Le Blanc. “It’s allows for an exacting hand—we can be razor-sharp in what we create in order to not have to think about designing for what the entire world needs. We are in conversation with what this city needs, which makes it special. There is a level of exclusivity and intimacy that is a part of that story. Coming into the space, engaging with the design team and seeing the sample room is all a part of the experience.”
As a consumer, the Lab retail concept is empowering. It enables the everyday shopper a behind-the-scenes look into the design and construction process, and brings transparency to the forefront of the Lululemon shopper experience.
“It’s something you don’t get anywhere else—this level of transparency is the future. It’s what people want these days. Consumers want to know who is associated with the brand, how things are made, why things are made the ways they are, why things cost what they cost. Offering that type of information is really impactful to a consumer and influences what they choose to purchase.”
Source : psfk.com