Lululemon energises new year with Ed Curtis collab
In 2020, lockdowns and the shift to remote working have greatly increased the propensity of Europeans to engage in sporting activity. The new situation prompted many people to take up jogging and running, but also indoor disciplines like fitness and yoga, driving the business of specialist sportswear brands.
Canada’s Lululemon has been one of the winners in recent months, its global sales having risen by 22% in the third quarter of the financial year, closed on November 1. In Q3, Lululemon's European online sales skyrocketed, increasing by over 160% compared to the same period a year earlier.
To continue to attract new customers at the start of 2021, Lululemon has launched a capsule collection featuring colourful graphics, created in collaboration with London artist and designer Ed Curtis. The line consists of 19 items, from sport bras to leggings and shorts (in high and low-waisted variants) sporting urban camo patterns in brightly coloured hues.
“It was important for the artwork to link with the human physique, as though they were paintings that fitted the body perfectly. My work is based on hand-crafting and manual methods, and uses no technology, something which is perfectly consistent with Lululemon's high-performance technology,” said Curtis, a former member of the design team at Marc by Marc Jacobs.
“The brand’s elements I drew my inspiration from came alive from the start of the design process. For example, to give an impression of speed, I applied paint on paper with rapid strokes, and I worked with the notion of stretching the paint layers to follow the contours of the body,” he added. Product prices range from €10 for scrunchies to €98 for the most hi-tech leggings.
In addition to collaborations and classic ad campaigns to drive e-shop traffic, Lululemon has deployed several initiatives between the end of 2020 and the new year. The brand has targeted running enthusiasts by partnering with the Strava app, which tracks virtual running challenges, the new format replacing physical events. It has also addressed social well-being themes, for example with ‘This Is My Meditation’, an initiative launched in October 2020 featuring extensive content on the brand’s website, as well as partnerships and free virtual meditation experiences. Lululemon has also organised events in collaboration with charities promoting mental health - for example in France with the Astrée association, which fights against solitude. All of these initiatives involve both Lululemon’s website and its stores, linked together as the focal points of the brand’s community.
It remains to be seen whether Lululemon will continue with this approach in the coming months, and if it will be able to develop new marketing initiatives, underpinned by what the brand built in 2020.
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