Lululemon ranked fifth among sportswear brands in terms of revenue following behind big global brands like Nike, Adidas, and Puma, and in 2015, it was reportedly the world’s top fashion retail brand with sales per square foot amounting to USD 1,541. How did a Vancouver-based brand once catering only to the yoga community encroach on the world market to eventually threaten the decades-long hold of major sports powerhouses?
Most global sports brands deploy emphatic tones that stimulate challenge and achievement. In other words, their principles rooted in “professionalism” govern everything from their marketing to design to communication methods. Rooted in yoga, on the other hand, Lululemon’s orientation looks toward “personality,” toward individual characteristics. The brand tells you that you don’t have to look like anyone else or be intimidated by your goals. It hopes that physical discipline will settle in among the various aspects that make up your life but recognizes that everyone has a different way of achieving that. Lululemon’s apparel can be worn as sportswear, casualwear, and office wear, and such versatility is a result of the brand’s philosophy of respecting the user’s freedom.
Such philosophy is directly applied to their product development as well. Among the many expressions that describe Lululemon’s products is “naked sensation.” Rather than by style or purpose, Lululemon stores organize and display their signature pants according to the degree and sensation of tightness.