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Lululemon Is Aiming to Reinvent Hiking Apparel

The inventor of athleisure turns to hiking, with a focus on sustainability, functionality and inclusivity.

lululemon hike collection
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Lululemon is giving "day tripping" a new meaning with its brand-new hiking collection, a first foray into the category from the brand that defined athleisure and active apparel.

It's no secret that hiking has exploded in popularity during the pandemic, but the numbers are still eyebrow-raising; according to a study conducted with the help of AllTrails, the number of hikes logged in 2020 was up 171.36 percent compared to 2019. Hiking has been gaining traction during the last decade, but with the need for citizens to recreate responsibly in outdoor settings, the hobby has reached new levels of participation.

But, Lululemon has been working on its hiking collection for two years, pre-dating the pandemic onset by just a few months. Spurred on by the need for functional, aesthetically-driven hiking pieces that could transition from day hike to brunch without skipping a beat, the brand has spent the last 18 months conceptualizing and designed its brand-new line.

The inspiration and attention to detail are evident in the 33-piece Day Tripper collection — which includes 15 women’s pieces, 10 men’s and eight unisex accessories — and is themed around adaptability; many of the pieces are packable, cinch-able, stretchable, and able to be configured in multiple ways, including zip-off sleeves that turn jackets into shirts to help combat shifting temperatures on the trail. The Day Tripper collection was designed with modularity and accessibility in mind, tailored to meet Lululemon’s guest where they already are.

“A lot of the outdoors brands seem to sort of defend you from nature, and so you go into nature, but you don’t really feel immersed in the space, whereas Lululemon wants to make sure you feel at one with nature, and that it’s a part of the experience,” says Ben Stubbington, Lululemon's senior vice president of design.

“This is our first foray into hike, in a design-forward way. We know that many of our guests are already in the space, using our product for hiking, but this where we’ve really nodded to the activity, and have designed for hiking in a way that we’re trying to enhance the experience of the outdoors with this product.”

The entire collection was designed to include elements that enhance the wearer’s experience outside. Thoughtful storage capabilities, dynamic ventilation systems and convertible aspects drive the functionality of the designs, while the aesthetic remains lighthearted, even playful, thanks to florally-inspired prints and hues.

lululemon hike
Zip on/off sleeves and an integrated pocket bag bring modularity to the Convertible Ripstop Hiking Jacket, available in three colorways.  
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luluemon hike
The Convertible HR Hiking Jogger is abrasion-resistant, water repellant and transform to shorts at a moment’s notice, thanks to the zip-off function just above the knee. 
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Two notable design features are the abrasion-resistant taped seams and zip on/off components that appear across the line. “Pocketing is really important, especially the placement, because if you’re wearing a backpack, you often have a strap across your chest and your waist — you’re restricted to where you can have pockets you can access," Stubbington explains.

"The pocketing is designed around making sure that everything functions, everything works really well with you throughout the hike, and that’s the same through the men’s and women’s pieces. The taped seams aren't just for style or for looks — the seams are brought to the outside, then you’ve got the taping, so when you put a backpack on, it’s not pushing the seams into your body — they’ve actually been pulled out.”

lululemon hike collection
The Day Tripper Collection was designed specifically for the needs of hiking.
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Along with convertible functionality that's been built into the hardware of the product, Lululemon also brought a multi-use ethos to the fabrications — a portion of the line, including sports bras and shorts, transform into swimwear to ensure adventures from land to water, thanks to quick-dry fabric. The Day Tripper line was designed with the lens of unisex and inclusive styling — the men’s portion of the line goes from XS to double-XL, and women’s goes from 0 to 20 on at least half of the pieces, 0-14 on the other half of the pieces. Although the pieces won't be merchandised as such in Lululemon's stores, they are meant to transcend the boundaries of gender.

Lululemon's new Day Tripper Collection will range from $28–$198, and will debut on July 5th in retail store and online.

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