A LOOK AT LULULEMON MENSWEAR ON REGENT STREET
AHEAD OF THE BRAND'S SWEATLIFE FESTIVAL WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE ABC PANT AND MORE
This week I was invited to inspect the menswear range at lululemon at their London flagship store situated on 187-191 Regent St, Mayfair. I had a modicum of knowledge going in, mainly because my girlfriend evangelise about the premium yoga wear clothes she has purchased from there in the past, but why don't we start from scratch.
Where did it all begin with lululemon?
Lululemon the company was founded in 1998 by Chip Wilson (what a name right?) in Vancouver, Canada, from a love of daily sweat and the desire to create performance-led technical gear for the wellness market; training, yoga, running, even rock climbing as sales assistant Marco personalised.
Initially, lululemon was a design studio by day and a yoga studio by night, but eventually turned into a standalone store in November 2000. What perhaps surprised me the most about the store was how open and unspoilt the upstairs area is. Credit has to go to the store manager for its very relaxed environment (store managers are rumoured to be responsible for their store's layout, colour coordination, and community involvement). The upstairs is not exclusive to menswear, it's also a cafe littered with beanbags and plays host to complimentary classes and events.
I should note here that lululemon are also hosting a Sweatlife Festival on the 23rd - 24th June down at the Tobacco Docks. The event is a 48-hour fitness festival packed with local and globally renowned teachers and studios with thought leaders from the fitness and wellness community. Think Psycle London, Kobox, Frame, Third Space, Mindful Chef, and Amy Hopkinson just to name just a few. Prices start from only £30 too.
Let’s talk Menswear
I meandered around with sales assistant Marco and picked out some pieces. Some recommended, some that resonated. In particular, the key piece I was keen to try was the much lauded ABC Pant; a very 'smart end of casual' pant, maybe what one from the movie world would term, a tweener. For my money it's not smart enough for the office, nor is it intended to be. It's composed of a patented synthetic poly blend, but has more freedom and breathability than your run of the mill poly pants (Trust, I've just spent 2 weeks in sweltering Asian climates wearing ill-advised poly-blend suits, I'm sufficiently familiar with the fabric).
It really holds its place as a perfect travel pant. The sort you'd change into on business class for a long haul flight, or skip to Waitrose in if you're indigenous to Mayfair. If you're like me and the pants come up a little long, the store offers a free hemming service with a turnaround of 3 days. The ABC pant comes in many guises; the Commission, the Jogger and the Classic. Each are formed with Warpstream 4-way fabric which gives it a unique bounce back quality and of course, will be highly wrinkle resistant. Other highlights were the Repetition Hoody and the white cotton tea, made from Pima cotton (that's where the premium comes in).
The price point
The price points need to be addressed. I appreciate premium, I appreciate quality and am willing to pay for it. However, it's not going to jar some people who might be in the market for upgrading their leisure wear but are conscious of budget to stretch (pardon the pun) to the lululemon price point. Here in their own words is lululemon’s response to questions around the premium price point.
“It takes hundreds of hours of meticulous tailoring to create a piece of gear that fits and performs so well that it almost feels like you’re wearing nothing at all. Every single detail, from how our gear wicks sweat from your skin to how we’ll get seams out of your way is thought through with relentless attention. There aren’t any shortcuts and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We have always and will continue to price all of our products based on value, which includes fit, functionality, premium materials and detail, craftsmanship and technology.”