Lorna Jane's New Sydney Store Is Drawing More Men, But Founder Will Stick With Just Women's Clothing

Staff at the new Lorna Jane flagship store in the Sydney CBD are noticing an unusually high proportion of an unusual type of customer for the women’s fitness chain.

Men.

The store opened almost 2 weeks ago, in advance of an official launch this Thursday.

“There’s a lot more [male customers] than we’ve seen before, and it’s all men in suits, wanting to inspire women in their lives to get active,” founder Lorna Jane Clarkson told Business Insider.

Despite the male interest, Clarkson said she had no plans to introduce a men’s clothing line.

The former part-time aerobics instructor founded Lorna Jane in 1990 to “inspire women to be active”.

“When I started Lorna Jane, I wanted to make clothing that would inspire women to be active without having to get changed 5000 times a day,” she said.

“Maybe if some men came up to me at the time [with similar demands], I would have done it too, but not now.

“Lorna Jane is a feminine brand, isn’t it? And I sort of like men to wear their old footy shirts and triathlon shorts.”

Lorna Jane’s Sydney flagship store is its 149th in Australia. Clarkson said the flagship store is larger and offers a wider range of services than other Lorna Jane venues.

Those include styling, special events like healthy cooking workshops, and regular group runs or walks from the store.

The privately held company doesn’t disclose revenue or sales figures but Clarkson said its growth has “doubled every single year since we started”.

Lorna Jane now has stores in Australia, California, Sweden, South Africa with plans to expand to Britain and Hong Kong in the near future.

Clarkson said the Australian fitness culture had evolved in her 23 years in the industry, with new technology and flexible workplaces sparking a more holistic approach to fitness.

“Today, there’s a more holistic way of looking at health,” she said. “It’s not just about exercise and eating a lot of rubbish food.

“So many people work from home now; people can do a 9am fitness class and then do some work.

“Fit is the new black; it used to be the skinnier the better, but now we have models who are more toned.”

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