Lululemon has enlisted a bit of fashion star power to launch a new handbag collection.
The Canadian ath-leisure brand has tapped Katie Hillier, she of the cheeky London-based label Hillier Bartley, to create a new line of bags inspired by its famous reusable shopping totes.
The resulting designs, which launched this week and are called the Now and Always collection, will be priced from $98 to $198. Five styles – from convertible tote bags and fanny-packs to utility cross-body styles – come fabricated in durable, neutral-tone material.
“It was really a collaboration blending together two worlds,” Hillier said. “It was taking my knowledge from the fashion industry and how we approach handbag design and Lululemon’s knowledge of technical and innovative aspects of the design process.”
Hillier saw Lululemon’s reusable shopping bags as a tipping point for inspiration. She identified a certain comfort in their omnipresence: “I came at it from the simple point-of-view that I know Lululemon through its ionic shopping bag — you see everyone, men and women — reusing them at the gym and supermarket. So that was the start of this process and the forefront of my idea of how we should start with bags,” she said.
Audrey Reilly, Lululemon’s senior vice president of women’s design, lent insight regarding functionality and lifestyle. “We wanted variety and versatility. There is a large tote to use going to work or to the studio — this notion of going from morning to night and what it looks like. There is a smaller version where the shape of the bag can change to allow for more volume,” she said.
While Lululemon consumers may use the bags for sport purposes, Hillier was adamant: “I didn’t necessarily want you to look at it and say, ‘Oh, it’s a sport bag,’ or ‘Oh, why are they trying to do handbags?’ What we are trying to do is create something iconic, longstanding and from the point of view that it could be used in any moment of a consumer’s life.”