Lululemon athletica opens Robson Street flagship in time for 2014 SeaWheeze

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      An iconic Vancouver brand is finally getting a major spotlight on one of the city’s busiest shopping districts. Lululemon athletica will open its new flagship location Thursday (August 21) at 970 Burrard Street.

      The 4,500-square-foot store—the yogawear brand’s largest boutique—takes over the southeast corner of Robson and Burrard Streets. The building previously housed a Blenz Coffee and Subway restaurant, as well as New Balance and HMV stores. Office space still occupies the highrise above.

      Only two other clothing retailers are situated at the major intersection—Victoria’s Secret and Roots. The American lingerie brand opened its first Vancouver location in 2013. The aging Roots shop is set for renovation and expansion later this year. Women’s clothing line Bebe previously occupied the southwest corner, but closed in February.

      Lululemon’s flagship store will house all of the brand’s collections, including yoga and athletic apparel, yoga mats and accessories, and casual, lifestyle wear. In addition to carrying women’s and men’s clothing, the flagship boutique will also feature a special men’s section called The Joinery.

      The store will also be a testing ground and launch pad for the company’s various retail ideas before they’re taken globally. Currently at the store, shoppers will find in-store digital storytelling,  a men’s specific shopping experience, and product personalization.

      The design of the store is meant to capture the West Coast spirit of lululemon’s roots. Natural wood, stone, and concrete elements combine with playful lighting to recreate the feeling of walking through a temperate rainforest. The floor layout is circular and represents yin and yang philosophy.

      To celebrate the launch of the flagship location, lululemon will release a line of limited-edition tank tops and T-shirts sold exclusively at that store. The men’s and women’s white tops ($42 to $54) feature a bicycle design by local artist Colin Moore that celebrates five distinct Vancouver neighbourhoods.

      The brand will also host Coastal OM, a free outdoor block party taking over a portion of Robson Street from 6 to 10 p.m. on August 21. Around 500 yogis are expected to take in a complimentary yoga session on the shut-down street starting 7:30 p.m.

      The lululemon SeaWheeze, which includes a half-marathon along the Seawall, outdoor yoga, as well as festival and parties, takes place Saturday (August 23).