Lululemon’s Taking on Everyday Wear in Its Hybrid Design Studio-Retail Store

One would be hard-pressed to walk into a New York or Los Angeles boutique fitness studio and not find half the clientele sporting the tiny but instantly recognizable Lululemon logo on their derrières. The brand that began in 1998 in Vancouver, Canada, as part yoga studio, part clothing shop has become one of the biggest names in the athletic apparel world. But it wants to take over more markets. So in 2009, it launched a “lab”—a conceptual design and retail space that bears little resemblance to traditional Lululemon stores—in Vancouver, and added another this year in downtown New York. “While the lab is part of Lululemon’s greater design team, the concept is geared toward creating beautiful apparel that men and women can wear every day, versus for a specific activity,” explained the brand’s head designer Marcus LeBlanc. Since the space serves as both retail store and a real-life work studio, it must be versatile enough to accommodate the eight retail staffers, four designers, three sample sewers, two pattern makers and one merchandiser, all of whom need the space to function in specific ways.


Part Store, Part Studio

“People can walk into the lab and shop collections that the lab team designed in-store and also have the ability to see designers work in real time,” explained LeBlanc. 


Pattern Storage

Paper patterns hang along the wall. “You place the pattern on top of fabric and cut around the shape prior to sewing,” said LeBlanc.


Open Plan

“The open layout also gives designers the chance to engage with store guests and receive insights and feedback that can inspire and inform future collections,” LeBlanc added. 


Work Stations

There are nine sewing machines in the lab, including a laser-cutter machine. 


This Season

The summer 2016 collection look book.



hread is stored for easy access—it’s used for hemming customers’ garments on the spot and also creating future clothing developments.

This story first appeared in the June 27, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
Click here to subscribe.

Recommended articles