Fit Tip Friday: The Lowdown on Lorna Jane
It has been said that yoga pants are the wonderbra of back-ends. And honestly, we believe it. In fact, we’re activewear obsessed!
And one of our favorite brands, Lorna Jane makes exercise attire that is a stair-step above the rest! That’s right, we sat down with the founder herself, Lorna Jane Clarkson, who started the brand after turning her favorite swimsuit into a fab piece of aerobics gear. 22 years, billions of tanks, and countless pairs of butt-enhancing capris later, the activewear store has become a phenomenon in Australia and is now hitting the US starting with the West Coast!
Read on to find out more about the latest trends in fitness apparel, how to stay motivated, and the Aussie’s philosophy!
The motto behind Lorna Jane is “Move, Nourish, Believe,” did you come up with that?
“Move, Nourish, Believe,”– ya I did come up with that. But it’s my own personal philosophy. It’s how I live my life. So I promise to move every day, I nourish myself from the inside out with good food and doing the things that I love, and I’ve always been a positive person, so it’s just believing that anything is possible if you’re willing to work for it. You know, things don’t just happen, you have to really put the work in.
And you actually have a book called, “Move, Nourish, Believe,” do you want to write any more books? Have you thought about maybe a magazine or anything?
I’m working on a new [recipe] book at the moment…that’s sort of mid-next year, mid- 2013. But I’ve just finished our diary. So that’s released um end of November which is amazing because it’s a “Move, Nourish, Believe” diary of course. But interactive with all of our social media channels, so you know, you might open your diary today and it will say “try some new recipes on MoveNourishBelieve.com” or um, “what inspires you to exercise this morning? Read some other people’s inspiration” so it’s really connected with our customer every day, and ultimately the goal is to inspire them to move, nourish, believe and be active, fit, and healthy.
We’ve seen that you use your Twitter to interact with fans of Lorna Jane, is that something that also inspires you? When they tweet to you, does that give you ideas for other things?
It’s always been about the customer and getting their feedback and now it’s much better…with social media like the fact that I can interact on Twitter and I’m so addicted to Instagram but I can actually talk and get feedback, and improve the product, improve the customer service by talking one-on-one with people it’s amazing… And you get so much positive feedback too so it really does make you feel good about what you’re doing. I mean it’s still the best thing that I can experience is seeing someone in the product or hearing a story about what Lorna Jane has done and how it’s motivated them. And that they’ve lost you know so many kilos or so many pounds. Or it’s just how wearing our “never ever give up” cap has helped someone battle cancer. I mean it’s a cap for goodness sake, what can that do? But it’s the whole mental thing that it means to them at the time so..
So Lorna Jane is obviously an established brand in Australia, and the brand is sort of an overnight sensation here in California, are you planning on opening more stores through the country? Have you thought that far yet?
Well that is the plan. But we’re just starting with [25 stores in] California …But we’ve done the research on the whole country. So we sort of think we know where we’d like to go next but once we get our online up and going, same thing again the customers will tell us sort of where there’s interest and where stores should be. Because people come in and and say, “Well you should open in Tennessee, you should open in Colorado, you should open in Seattle–” I mean everybody wants their own, local Lorna Jane store. But we really like to see where the customers are.
Since Australian summers are US winters do you find that the trends in Australia are a big predictor of trends in the US?
It is crazy for us in the design room right now. Because this is so new to us. At the moment, we’re doing things for the US first. It’s just how it’s worked out. Um, so we’re doing exclusive US- only styles, and they’re also available world-wide on the internet. So um, I think we’re taking a little bit from both….Like the outfit I have on today is US-only because we’re going into our summer, they don’t need a jacket like this or full-length tights. But um, and then if I guess they do really well we might do it in our ____ again. So again, it’s great listening to the customer…Because we have our own factories we can react pretty quickly so um, but ya the US is getting it first so um, maybe your customers will love to hear that they’re the first!
We find ourselves wearing workout clothes at every moment possible unless we have to put on real clothes. So we love that you incorporate fashion trends like the scalloped hem and cutouts. Are there any other fashion trends that you think we might see in your workout clothes?
Uh well bright colors, I mean everything is neon at the moment. But we’ve always been about color, but lots and lots of neon. Floral prints are really big right now especially in pants. So we’ve done some really cute–with a black base–but bright red and pink floral tights. You know ¾ tights and cute little running shorts and matching jacket. Umm, I think we take pretty much everything. As you said the scalloping with the dye-cutouts and stuff. We’ve done that on the backs of singlets and things like that. I mean anything that we can take from the catwalk and put into activewear, we will because our design team are so into fashion and just love the latest things. So if we can convert it and put it into an intelligent fabric, we will.
Awesome! Lorna Jane sports bras are probably the cutest sports bras that we’ve ever seen. So with all those straps and cutouts and all that, how do you balance between fashion and function?
OK well we test drive everything in our head office… we try to make most of our styles (except for some of the yoga styles) with adjustable straps so you can customize your fit. A lot of our straps you can make longer or shorter but you can also hitch them in the middle and undo them. Which is really great, because you hitch it together when you’re exercising. But you don’t want to have that tight feeling on the top of your shoulders all day so you just unhook it and then you can wear it for the rest of the day and we also put the removable padding in, which, even though they’re just padding they actually give you a lot of support. So and um, we do double layer panelling, mesh panelling. We do a lot of things.
So speaking of balance, how do you fit your own workouts in between travelling across the ocean?
Ya, haha I just, you know, I’ve been doing this for so long it’s just routine and I’m addicted. I’m addicted to anything about health and fitness. So I just do it in the morning, I um I have a tradition where I –as big on Instagram as I am– lay out my activewear. And I get excited about what I’m going to wear. Just like when you’re going to go to a wedding or something. You know you organize your hair, you organize your makeup, you organize your outfit. I put that same amount of time into thinking this is what I’m going to wear and get excited about wearing it and what I’m going to do… and I just make sure I get it done first thing. I mean, it’s out of the way…and um I like that feeling. The feeling I don’t like is when I skip the exercise and I’m driving to work and I see someone running and I think, “That’s who I am, I’m not the girl that slept in–that’s who I am.”
And one last question. This one might be hard. Out of your entire line, what’s your favorite piece right now?
Wow, I think I’d have to say these jackets (LJ Excel Zip-Thru) . I’ve got this in red as well. And because I’m really petite in the shoulders I love the gathering. We did this about 3 months ago in red, and it was really really popular. So I’ve designed it in plain black for the US…I just love these jackets in excel– which is our intelligent fabric– because they feel so good on your skin and they keep you warm, but they’re not too hot, and it tops off a great outfit… But I mean people come into the store and say, “oh I have to get something new, I don’t need it, but looks there’s this and this and this,” and I say, “try working at the head office” like seriously, every photoshoot I go to I say, “can someone grab me that top,” hahah. So it’s fairly addictive, just like exercise, this clothing is addictive. And I think you don’t know how good this fabric is until you try it on. Like, I hear people all the time, and the girls have great stories, you know, you put on a pair of Lorna Jane tights and think, “I feel a size smaller, I just feel so supported, and it just makes you feel like exercising, and I know that sounds like a crazy story, but it’s true!”
The FabFitFun Team