Lululemon had a very rocky start to the year with the dramatic resignation of Laurent Potdevin and followed by Lee Holman (creative director) ghosting his position and then resigning. Read the scathing rundown of the toxic culture these two cultivated at Lululemon here. That entire situation was just gross and an unfortunate part of Lululemon’s history that I’m really glad is over and that I’m very glad came to light. It really helped answer a lot of questions about what was going on with the company in terms of design and integrity.
The bright spot for Lululemon this year was their inclusive sizing. I wish Lululemon had made more fanfare of the fact that they now go to size 14 in all of these items because it’s a really important change. At one time pre-2013, Lululemon had size 14 in a few of their core pieces as an afterthought but then went extinct due to incorrect assumptions about size economy, and their target market.
This year I got really excited about the inclusion of size 14 in non-core, seasonal items. This to me shows a true commitment to investing in a new customer base. Lululemon heavily invested in the male customer base in 2016/17 under Potdevin and put the men’s designs front and center at their stores, and even opened exclusive men’s stores. I would love to see the same investment in specialty sizing within the stores – perhaps more ad campaigns geared towards inclusive sizing, a focus on inclusive sizing in their ambassador program, and inclusive sizing in their merchandising in stores.
In the past, Lululemon has really glorified a specific body type, and that attitude can really trickle down to store level when a specific age range, race, body type make up 90% of your customer-facing workforce. Expanding the size range is just one small part of capturing the customer base you want. Health and fitness go hand in hand with body positivity!
The prominent inclusion of this beautiful model on the Lululemon website makes me giddily happy. It makes me feel proud to buy and wear some of the pieces she models, not shy and ashamed to go into the store and pick these items out.
Another bright spot for Lululemon this year was the glorious prints and colors. Lululemon has an incredible print designer which was hired during the old guard (pre-Potdevin/Holman restructuring) and this year she really shined. Many of the incredible floral prints we saw this year where designed by Florence Angelica Colson. I’m a huge fan of her prints and love the depth, scale, and perspective. It’s really something to have such a work of art designed into your running tights so that the print flows with the garment. Honestly, Lululemon has an incredibly talented pool of designers and I’m glad they are really getting to shine now.
An honorable mention in the designer category goes to the new web stylist. I know we laugh a lot at some of the odd shoe selections for the website but I have really loved seeing the immersion of different brand accessories on the site. It gives really great context to the brand and creates a lot of visual interest.
Lululemon had several great capsule collections this year. My favorite was the Royal Ballet Collection. The 20 Year Anniversary Collection was especially popular with the Scuba Hoodies and embossed print Wunder Unders selling out within a day.
There had been lots of whispers this year that for the 20 Year anniversary, Lululemon would release a bunch of heritage designs. This was very exciting for old fans of the brand like myself which generally regard the older 2013/14 designs the very best. I’m forever a fan of Lululemon, but the designs from that era are really the pinnacle. Although Lululemon did bring out some old loved heritage designs, they really didn’t capitalize on the potential and bring out really iconic pieces. I would have loved to have seen the Hustle Jacket, Inspire Jacket, or Method Wrap. I know a lot of people were hoping for a Gratitude Wrap comeback and most especially, Quiet Stripes.
The Scuba Hoodie Plush is my #1 favorite purchase this year. I hate telling you my favorite purchase is also my last purchase of the year, but the Lululemon holiday products always shine for me so it’s not really a surprise. I adore sherpa fleece but over the years I’ve not liked a lot of the designs Lululemon has put out, or, it’s only had a small portion of the garment lined in sherpa. I always get super excited when something sherpa comes out, but ultimately don’t purchase.
The Chaturanga Pullover is an old favorite sherpa item and I chased that one down on
Lululemon came out with the most incredible fully sherpa lined scuba hoodie and bumped up the design by including special features like gold zipper pulls and shiny hardware. I’m not generally a scuba hoodie wearer because I find them stiff and restrictive but I’ve been wearing my plush scuba non-stop. I originally purchased the adobe color but last week as the stock was dwindling on the black one I decided to pull the trigger. I’ve purchased very little Lululemon this year so I figured a double purchase of a favorite was worth it. I still can’t believe how lux this scuba is with sherpa lining even the cuffs and hood, and the entire sleeves.
Another one of my favorite purchases this year was the Lunar Washed Wunder Unders. I only purchased these but I really admired all of the Garment Dye items.
Honorable mentions for best purchases are as always, the In Movement 7/8 Tight and Crop. This is bar none my favorite material for workout tights. I love the simplicity of the design and lack of mesh, only relying on simple seam details, and the everlux material is my favorite. Simple, basic, versatile and technically perfect. This is the type of legging I will repurchase over and over again in black, grey or navy. I also got super excited about the Transformation Wrap making a comeback. I love that wrap and especially loved the colors it came in this year. The only thing they could do to improve the Transformation Wrap for me is if they made it in Merino Wool instead of Boolux. Speaking of Merino Wool, the Sit In Lotus Wrap is a very versatile and well-used piece in my closet. I love the quality and look of the merino wool and I’ve worn this wrap year round. I’m much more of a wrap person than I am a sweater person so if I could I would own this wrap in multiple colors. The Jericho SS was a late discovery on boxing day markdown. Besides loving the cut of this tee shirt, it has a blend of my favorite fabrics – Tencel and cotton. I love my Jericho SS’s more than any of my Love Tees.