After two years of development, Lululemon on Tuesday released the Enlite sports bra, which leverages scientific thinking about bra design, including psychological research regarding how women want to feel in their sports bras, according to Women's Wear Daily.
The bra’s design goes against the traditional notion that bras should limit breast movement. The Enlite design instead reflects the reality that each breast is capable of moving in different ways and in different directions during physical activity, and that movement patterns vary from one woman to another.
The bra, which retails for $98, is made from a proprietary lightweight fabric, Ultralu, that is designed for high-performance and physical activity. It has encapsulated cups, no-budge straps and comes in 20 different sizes.
"Our goal with the Enlite Bra was to create a product that could embrace movement by eliminating the elements of movement that cause discomfort, so the innovation here lies in the way we approached movement management,” Alexandra Plante, innovation product manager of Lululemon Whitespace and an engineer, told WWD.
While the price of the high-tech bra may be steep, that may not matter to shoppers if the technology behind Enlite really delivers and redefines the sports bra for a new age. Many early reviews suggest that may be the case.
Lululemon certainly could use some good news and a burst of energy. The company recently took a big financial hit, based in part on the notion, CEO Laurent Potdevin said in March, that its spring clothing line was found "lacking depth and color."
The athletic apparel retailer, which arguably invented athleisure, recently reported that it anticipates same-store sales decreases in the low single digits this year. That said, Jane Hali analysts wrote in a note emailed to Retail Dive at the time that, "the company is not without firepower, especially on the innovation front. There are further product launches in the pipeline, included in categories like bras and some more menswear initiatives.”
Innovation has also been seen as a strength in recent months, and Ultralu seems like the latest in a line of performance fabric that could help the company boost its value proposition. At the same time, the company that helped turned yoga pants into a fashion revolution may still be looking for its next yoga pants — its next product to spark consumer devotion and inspire a raft of competitors to follow in its footsteps. Could the Enlite sports bra be that game-changing product? We will soon find out.