Chief product officer for Lululemon Athletica champions Texprint
12 July 2012 by TexSelect in Fashion, Sponsors, Judges & Champions
Sheree Waterson is the charismatic chief product officer for Lululemon Athletica; the Vancouver-based company that creates apparel for people taking part in active sports. Working with a team of over 100, Sheree oversees the design, merchandising, planning, sourcing and production of the fast-moving brand which is sold through 165 stores in Canada, the US and Australia. Lululemon’s website is a source of more than clothing; it is a portal into the company’s energising ethos of community interaction and positive living. Texprint is delighted to welcome Sheree to Texprint London where she joined the special prize judging panel and began the process of selecting a winner from among Texprint’s 24 star textile design graduates of the first Texprint Lululemon prize of £1,000 and a three-month paid internship in Vancouver.
The Texprint team were thrilled to meet you and your team at Indigo, Paris, in September 2011. What was it that inspired you to launch the inaugural Texprint Lululemon prize and internship? We have always been attracted to a certain part of Indigo. And we didn’t know what it was about this certain corner that we felt compelled to go see. But we have come to find out it was Texprint and the exceptional talent we saw. What’s exciting about Texprint is it supports, develops and nurtures the creatives that are involved in textiles.
How important is it for you to support the next generation of textile designers? The world is changing and we are going from a society of consuming and conquering and we are moving into one of simplicity and beauty. People who are right-brained and creative are going to be the ones who lead the way for a new future.
What does ‘trained in Britain’ mean to you? The UK has a phenomenal track record for producing talent that’s unparalleled and the rigour with which the curriculum is constructed results in the best talent in the world. They have to work really hard and be extremely passionate to graduate. The talent at Texprint is the best of the best and it’s international.
Will you be looking for a particular personality type as well as design talent in your choice of winner? We are looking for talent. We are looking for somebody who can create a future that isn’t already out there someone who is pushing the boundaries of creativity. And we are also looking for someone who can fit into the culture. So there is an energy and enthusiasm, a passion about what they do. We find the people who are successful at Lululemon are naturally intellectually curious and are anxious to be in a relationship with people that share the same values and creative energy.
Will you be looking for someone with an understanding of technical fabrics or a particular aesthetic? At this point we are looking for an aesthetic. Combining beauty with function is what our brand is about. So taking the beauty of what is created here by the designers at Texprint and juxtaposing that with function, creating something new that’s never been before – that’s what we’re interested in. The person who will be an intern will be a pioneer with us.
And three months in Vancouver! Vancouver is the perfect spot for Lululemon to be born, Vancouver is a city where people are constantly outdoors and doing something physical. Whether it’s yoga for yoga’s sake or yoga for cross training, for run, ski, paddle boarding, kayaking, snowboarding… then go out and eat great sushi. It’s a physically beautiful place, it’s very vibrant and it’s a young city.
Tell us about the Lululemon lifestyle, do you have breakout yoga sessions? (Laughing) We do have yoga and training classes in our main office building. All of our design team are athletes; everything we do is authentic because they are partaking in the sport they are designing for. And a big part of the power of the Lululemon brand is the relationships that we have with the community at a grassroots level which are very powerful. We support the yoga studios, run clubs… that we love and uphold our values and in turn, they do product testing for us, so that we understand how to improve the function and the fit and so forth so that we can be the best in the world.
In certain ways, what we’ve said to one another is, if we weren’t a yoga company we would be a leadership company because the product is really the entrée or conduit to the conversations with our guests to teach them to have a life that they love, fulfilled, through goal-setting, personal responsibility, creating their own life – attracting great things.