Now a world leading activewear brand today, Lorna Jane had humble beginnings. It had initially been started at the home of fitness instructor Lorna Jane Clarkson in Brisbane, Australia, in 1989.
According to the Company, Lorna Jane at that time, originally didn’t like the fact there was no sportswear for women. So she had decided to make some proper women’s sports bras and tights and people loved it. Her students ended up buying her pieces, and word of mouth spread, others soon began buying her pieces. Then she opened a store and things then took off from there.
Lorna Jane today has 150 stores across Australia, and about 50 in the United States. There are thousands of other stores worldwide. And now they are trying to increase their presence in Asia, having set up their first showroom in Singapore recently.
Invited to the Lorna Jane Showroom
I was invited to the Lorna Jane showroom recently to find out more about the brand, and also underwent a personal styling session.
And when I had reached the Lorna Jane showroom at Ang Siang Hill, I admitted that I was a bit taken aback that the location was not too accessible. According to Alyaa Rauff, the Sales & Marketing Ambassador at Lorna Jane Singapore who had been in charge of overseeing that everything went smoothly in the showroom when I was there, this is because Lorna Jane intends to sell their customers an experience and not a product.
She said, “If we put ourselves in a shopping centre right away when we were trying to build the name of our brand, people would see us for just sports bras, tights and tops and they are not going to look at what the company is about. At Lorna Jane, we want to promote the active living philosophy more than our products. We want to tell women to move their bodies, eat well and have a great mindset to life, and if you want the clothes, hey, we have them too.”
An extensive collection of clothes
The Lorna Jane showroom may be small, but at first glance, I had thought the collection of clothes there was pretty extensive. I thought that there had been a good range of sports bras, as well as tops, shorts and tights for runners. Accessories like socks and water bottles were available as well.
But according to Rauff, the most prominent item in the collection is Lorna Jane’s sports bras though. She explained, “We always make new collections of everything each month. We have 100 new pieces each time and we don’t re-stock. Our bras stand out in particular because we believe that since a woman is going to wear it, we need a woman to make it; there is no place for a man to come in and say that this is what a sports bra should feel like, because he isn’t going to wear it. We strongly believe in designing products by women for women to wear and only a woman will know how it is supposed to fit, feel and bend with the body. A man could never do that.”
Feedback from women in Singapore so far about the brand have been positive. Lorna Jane’s sports bras, according to Rauff, are typically more supportive and adjustable than most of the other sports bras out there. Rauff said, “Our basic bras have adjustable straps. We also have those with adjustable clasps and bends, as well as those with high necks but not adjustable capabilities.”
As well, Lorna Jane also guarantees that their products have a shelf life of about four to seven years, so this means that you do not need to keep on buying new clothes, in fear that the old ones would be worn out.
Target audience is every woman
The target buyer for Lorna Jane products is all women, from those who do sports to even those who do not engage in sport. Said Rauff, “Lorna Jane started making her tights and bras for aerobics and pilates, as well as high intensity cardio work – that was big in the 80s and 90s, and the products transitioned over the years from only activewear, to lifestyle and streetwear as well.”
She added, “In fact a lot of our products may look like casual streetwear but you can wear them to work out as well. We also have lightweight and cotton tank tops too, because we have had women who don’t like wearing anything that looks sporty. They want a plain tank top and that makes sense too.”
Products are versatile and can be used across sports
The Lorna Jane products today can be used for any sport, ranging from yoga to pilates and running, and they are quite versatile, compared to sports wear sold by many other brands. Explained Rauff, “Whatever sport you do, pick out anything you want and it will work for you. We don’t want to focus only on say, yoga gear or running gear. We want you to choose whatever you want to stay healthy and we will provide you with what you want.”
Every now and again though, Lorna Jane does make items that are suited to water activities and these generally have a high durability content in salt water. But then again, Rauff stressed that if you choose to wear these clothes to yoga, then it is not a problem either.
Personal Styling Session
Personally as I do mostly running, Rauff and her team at Lorna Jane Singapore picked out a range of running stuff for me during the personal styling session. Normally I would wear tee shirts rather than tank tops, but I gave some of their bras, tank tops and tights a try, and I did feel that the designs certainly do look and fit better than most generic running clothes out there.
Most of the tights that I usually wear are black, but I tried on a couple of Lorna Jane’s printed tights, such as the Tranquillity Core 7/8 Tight (SGD 148) and the Crazed Core Full Length Tight (SGD 210) and these had looked surprisingly good on me, especially when they were paired together with a plain coloured top. Normally I have associated these types of tights with sports like yoga, which is the reason I don’t typically bother with wearing them. Perhaps I should re-consider this thought, then.
For the tank tops, there were a couple that I had particularly liked, and the design of the bras were innovative indeed. I had thought that the high necked Challenge Sports Bra (SGD 110) was interesting, as not many sports bras are designed in this manner. When paired together with a lower necked tank top, I felt that the effect was pretty interesting.
The price ranges at Lorna Jane Singapore can typically be from roughly $70 for the more lightweight tank tops to about $200 for the most expensive tights. Types of designs available will vary according to the season.
Thank you Lorna Jane Singapore for having me.