Activewear: it’s come a long way from your basic leggings and sports bra. An entire movement all on its own, brands are tapping into the desire for gym-wear that supports and enhances every type of activity, as well as looking good enough to wear outside of the changing room and fit into our ever-increasing busy lifestyles. At the forefront of new British activewear is LNDR, the London-based brand from fashion industry veterans Joanna Turner, Donna Harris and Sarah Donnelly, who are creating innovative performance-wear with a minimal design aesthetic. We sat down with Donnelly to find out more about LNDR, its technical fabrications, and what pieces we should wear when.
How would you describe LNDR?
LNDR specialises in high-performance active to premium casual-wear, creating functional and technically innovative clothing designed with a clean aesthetic, to support and promote the modern active lifestyle.
What made you want to start LNDR?
All three of us (LNDR founders, Joanna Turner, Donna Harris and Sarah Donnelly) have worked in the fashion industry for several years and as a result our paths crossed many times. We live very similar lifestyles – working hard, working out whenever we can, socialising and travelling – and together wanted to create a premium high-performance active-wear and every-wear brand that would promote the healthy, fun and active lifestyle that we like to live.
We also shared the same ambition to do things a bit differently in our business – to really question how things are done and analyse whether there’s a better or more logical way. This is now part of our company culture and something we make sure we’re always discussing and testing.
The name LNDR is a nod to our brand’s DNA. Our team (as with many Londoners) are from different corners of the globe, but each is a proud Londoner (the brand is pronounced L N D R, with each letter spelt out). Although the name refers to London where the head office is based, the product is in no way exclusive to the UK, already selling globally throughout Europe, the US, Asia and Australia.
You put a lot of emphasis on technical performance – why is this important in activewear?
Technical fabrications and innovative functional design is at the heart of every single piece of clothing we make. We want the clothes to look good but it is also hugely important to us that they do exactly what they should do in the active-wear space. We want our customers to enjoy working out as well as living busy lifestyles, and to have the clothes that help and allow them to do that.
Many of LNDR’s performance activewear pieces are high compression and seamless, created on a circular knitting machine for a streamlined fit. On each of these, the panelling placement has been carefully designed for optimum breathability with maximum compression and support, and a smooth, flattering silhouette.
Our biggest inspiration comes from the people living this lifestyle. Really looking at every element to make the pieces more flattering, smart, and transitional as well as superior comfort, fit and feel. Living an active lifestyle in a big city means comfort is as valuable a commodity as time. You want to be able to fit everything in, and you need clothes that cross between the different aspects of your life – in aesthetic as well as capabilities and function.
What goes into the design process of your collections?
We’ve always had a very strong focus on our customer and what the product needs to deliver for her: she’s a busy woman, who appreciates sleek design, superior hand feel and quality, and believes the distinction between work and home-life is increasingly blurred.
She works hard, she works out, she travels, and she socialises – she wants to fit everything in, without any fuss. So she needs clothes that transition between the different aspects of her life – that are high performance; technical and functional with a clean and fresh aesthetic and flattering lines.
The starting point behind the designs come from the human body. The central idea starts with function and form. Seams and panels follow muscle lines or movement/hinges/joints that bend. The product development is considered in a way to cradle muscles, slim physiques and open up movement points. Then styled with tonal and clean fresh colours to create a sophisticated, relaxed look. Things that you can wear all day every day…doing what makes you feel good.
What kind of sports and exercises are LNDR pieces best suited to?
Our products are designed with function in mind and are perfect for a multitude of different workouts from yoga to HIIT classes.
Our sports bras, like the Hustle Bra, don’t typically look like traditional sports bras, so can easily be worn as a top on their own or under clothing. The Hustle Bra is made on a circular knit loom to reduce the number of seams so there is less risk of irritation when working out and so that it fits like a second skin, this makes it the perfect bra for Pilates, yoga, boxing, spin, circuit classes, among others.
The Blackout Leggings are a high-compression seamless style designed with strategic panelling to maximise compression along the thigh and upper leg. These leggings are made with Cool Comfort technology which helps to wick moisture away from the body and keep the wearer cool and dry, making these leggings great for a high-intensity workout like running.
That said, the Blackout is made with high stretch yarn which also makes it a great option for lower impact workouts like reformer Pilates. The double compression waistband sculpts and supports the lower abdominals so your core is working even before you step into the class!
What should we look for in a great piece of activewear?
Comfort is key. Wear something that makes you feel great – even before the exercise-related endorphins kick in – and make sure that choose the right size.
What can we expect to see next from LNDR?
We see ourselves expanding our global reach with multiple headquarters around the world to better service different markets. We also see LNDR expanding into a full range of women’s and men’s lifestyle products, in addition to clothing.