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Lululemon unveils "revolutionary" sports bra

Canadian yoga wear brand Lululemon Athletica has unveiled what it says is a "revolutionary" sports bra, designed to embrace movement without compromising performance and featuring a new high-performance fabric.

Following two years of development at its Whitespace research and development centre, Lululemon's Enlite Bra contours to the shape of the body and aims to enhance rather than restrict movement.

Typically, sports bra designs begin with one focus, to restrict up-and-down movement at all costs. Instead Lululemon says its researchers took a "holistic" approach to design, understanding how the female form moves in all directions, not just up and down, and recognised an opportunity to understand how movement impacts support.

"From the very beginning, we just wanted to get to the heart of how women want to feel in their sports bra," Alex Plante, innovation manager, explains.

Instead of sketching the product, designers started with the body itself, draping the new soft, lightweight Ultralu fabric onto a woman's body to inform the design from a "3D perspective". From there, Lululemon says it was able to craft a shape that ensures an exceptional fit and is highly functional.

"We looked at how the body moves and at the contouring shape of it in order to understand how to develop a product that adheres to the needs of the guest during a high intensity workout," adds designer Laura Dixon. "In order to ensure the perfect balance between form and function, we actually handcrafted all 20 sizes on the body."

The company then paired this 360-degree design approach with its knowledge in biomechanics and body movement, and used motion-capture sensors to study movement. From here, Lululemon says it discovered that not all movement is bad and, "contrary to popular belief", movement actually allows for more support and even enhances comfort.

Engineered with runing in mind, the Enlite Bra features individual encapsulated cups, free cut edges and carefully considered strap design to reduce chafing, with added Lycra for stretch and shape retention.

Meanwhile, lightweight, breathable built-in cups are engineered to soften bounce and a bonded underbrand prevents constriction, while the stitch-free hook-and-eye closure lies flat for a distraction-free fit.

Available in three colours the Enlite Bra is available in stores and online, priced at US$98.

Last month, Lululemon named former Gap Inc CEO Glenn Murphy as co-chairman of its board, a week after the company saw a 23% drop in its stock price.

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