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BoF LIVE: How Lululemon Built Athleisure’s Leading Brand

BoF unpacks why a brand built on yoga leggings is winning the pandemic.
BoF PROFESSIONAL

NEW YORK, United States — When consumers found themselves trapped at home by the coronavirus pandemic this Spring, demand for loungewear and activewear skyrocketed. Homebound consumers swapped out their trousers for leggings as they opted for comfort — and one of the chief brands to benefit from this uptick was Lululemon, which saw its online sales increase 70 percent in the quarter that ended May 3.

For the latest in our series of #BoFLIVE events, Executive Editor Lauren Sherman sat down with Senior Correspondent Sarah Kent, BMO Capital Markets Managing Director & Analyst Simeon Siegel and Director and Industry Analyst of Fashion Apparel at NPD Maria Rugolo in a virtual panel discussion, reflecting on how Lululemon came to dominate the athleisure market, prospered at the height of the pandemic and asserted its position as a leader in the apparel industry.

The brand all but created the trend, blurring the lines between activewear daywear before athleisure was even popularised as a phrase. “Lululemon has created this notion that you can have comfort in a world where we’re finally acknowledging comfort… The notion of fashion interjecting athletic or fashion interjecting function is an absolute key to this,” Siegel said.

While its rise to the top was fraught by successive scandals, consumer demand for Lululemon’s famed leggings has consistently sustained and propelled its brand, placing it in prime position to benefit from a period where tracksuit bottoms and leggings became crucial at-home-office attire.

“Lifestyle brands like Lululemon have really been able to fill a void… Right now the consumer is looking to maximise their wardrobe,” Rugolo said. “They’re looking for one wardrobe, especially since activewear has become acceptable to wear for a number of occasions. There really is a less of a need to have multiple wardrobes.”

To participate in #BoFLive, BoF’s digital events series offering insight, advice and inspiration, visit our calendar where you can find details of upcoming digital events.

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The State of Fashion: Technology