For those of you not on Facebook, the Lulu Lab has created a new facts tab on their facebook page for those of you with burning questions. I love visiting the lab and think it’s a terrific space that does not feel like a retail space at all but an artists studio complete with visible seamstresses in the back and design boards. If your ever in Vancouver visiting it’s a worthwhile trip. Here is a copy of the facts page but make sure to check out the photo albums they have on their wall.
- What is the lululemon lab?
The lululemon lab, a combined retail and design space located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Lab’s mission is collaborating to create components that innovate functional fashion.
- Who’s dream was this?
No big surprise- it was Chip’s. The lab is based off lululemon’s original store where designers, seamstresses and educators all worked in the same space. This open concept creates an environment where guests can feel free to give feedback on everything lululemon creates. We track all of this feedback so that the designers have a clear idea regarding what guests, athletes and fashionistas want in their wardrobe.
- Do we create custom clothing?
In a way we do, all of the clothing in the lab is exclusive to our location and cannot be found anywhere else, however the creations are a collaboration between the lab Designers, Product Coordinator and lab Director.
- Where do the designs come from?
The designs come from a combination of different places. Just to name a few; our guest feedback book & facebook tab, local fashion shows, local and international architecture, our walk-in guests, recent and past collections from some of the most famous designers in the world, art, music and nature. Needless to say our designers are constantly on the prowl inspiration.
- Do you have your own designers?
Indeed we do, the lab hire’s designers for 6-month contracts (with the possibility of extension). Since opening one year ago two designers have moved into roles at lululemon athletica in Product Development and as an Assistant Designer.
- What does the design process look like?
The Product Coordinator works with the designers to create a theme and line plan for the season (example the theme for Winter 2010 is Classic Independence), from there our designers create a vision board which includes pictures, sketches and words around their interpretation of that theme. From here they hit their workspace creating patterns for yoga, running and apres. From the pattern a sample (size 8 for women and size large for men) is built by a sample sewer, the entire team gathers around for the unveiling of a new sample (like Christmas). One of us will try it on and the rest of us will give feedback on the garment. After all the changes are made the sample is approved it goes into grading. This is where it gets fancy; the original sample pattern is graded to create sizes the style will come in (usually 2-12 for women and S-XXL for men). This process takes between 1-2 months.
- How do you decide what design’s make it to the big league (i.e. the stores)?
The lab design team meets with the designers and merchants at lululemon athletica to discuss items that we (and they) think are suitable for the stores. Some of the designs that have been adopted by the store’s are: the Insight pant, the PoloCrosse pant and the Yoga Harem Pant.
- What’s the deal with Fabric?
We share fabrics with lululemon athletica (http://lululemon.com/education/info/care); we pride ourselves on using every last piece in everything from circle scarves to the colorful bands in our ‘Build Your Own Groove Pants’ program. (Build Your Own Groove Pants allows you to chose 3 band colors (2 on one side and one on the inside) and put them on any of the 3 styles of reversible grooves (groove pants, wunder groove crops and groove crops) lululemon athletica offers.
- How do we decide which products are remade?
We generally make between 30-50 of each product that is designed. We are always changing the look of the store by creating new fresh and current styles. We pride ourselves on being an exclusive/ limited-edition brand for lululemon.
- Why do we only make a limited supply/Why don’t we ship or offer phone/online shopping?
- What’s the deal with hemming?
Like every lululemon location we offer 5-day complimentary hemming on all lululemon clothing, because of the nature of our location and our garments we do offer hemming 1-hour hemming on all lab creations.
- Are there more labs on the way?
Wait and see! You never know…