Inside Lululemons new Queen West concept store

Lululemon Athletica is the epitome of laidback west coast style, but after two rough years for sales, the Vancouver-based yogawear.

Lululemon Athletica is the epitome of laidback west coast style, but after two rough years for sales, the Vancouver-based yogawear brand is hitting the reset button in Toronto. The company recently relocated to a new location down the block at 318 Queen West. This new space is larger, multifunctional and what the brand is calling a concept store.

The airy, 4,000 square-foot space carries the full range of Lululemons womens and mens lines. And if you havent been inside a store lately, their current clothing collection extends beyond black, stretchy pants into high-end leisurewear. For men, that means polo shirts ($98) and long-sleeved crewneck tops ($108) made from their signature Luon fabric that work just as well at the office as they do for a night out.

In the womenswear department, wraps and blanket scarves ($58 to $98) are sold in addition to the brands popular hoodies, and the new Jet Crop Luxtreme pant ($108) gently tapered trousers that feel but dont look like sweats are a smart city alternative to ubiquitous black leggings.

The concept goes beyond retail. Beyond the shopping area and fitting rooms is the Hustle, a community gathering space thats free to use and open to the public.

A Toronto mural painted by artist Victor Ving of Greetings Tour dominates one wall and photography by Adeyemi Adegbesan (who goes by Soteeoh on Instagram) hangs on the other. With plush leather sofas, large tables and free WiFi, the room is ideal for quick meetings or as a place to chill and take a breather from busy Queen Street.

Upstairs is the Attic, a 1,000-square foot dance and yoga studio, where Lululemon and its partners will offer classes. Guests can register online, and this weeks offerings include Vinyasa yoga at night and a beer-meets-yoga event hosted by the Brew Gentlemen Beer Co.

Near the entrance to Lululemon also contains the Residency, a small gallery area for showcasing local artists and entrepreneurs. Theres also a Station Cold Brew Coffee Co. pop-up with java on tap, and a Village Juicery cold-pressed juice bar for those looking for a healthier alternative.

Its clear that with the new concept store, Lululemon is trying to establish connections to its Toronto clientele that go beyond high-end activewear. But for Lotus Land expats and dreamers in this city who want nothing more than to wear yoga pants and sip on green juice, Lululemons here for you, too. | @michdas

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