Lucas Hugh designs clothes made for sweating in like a fashion brand does couture. It was a power move by London-based founder Anjhe Mules, who saw room for style in the activewear market. She launched the label in July 2010, after a career in design (swimsuits, an internship with Alexander McQueen, and more), a pedigree she’s put to use on luxe, high-performance pieces that often ooze cool, futuristic chic.
While the combination of style and technology in fitness apparel might sound common now, Mules’ pieces helped create the concept and they continue to overshoot much of what’s on ready-to-workout racks. The fabrics she taps, for example, are European-made, typically reserved for Olympic athletes, and include go-for-the-gold details like laser-soldered seams.
It made the line attractive to the costume designer of the Hunger Games, who put Jennifer Lawrence in Lucas Hugh for the film’s training scenes. And the brand’s appeal is clear on sites like Net-a-Sporter, Shopbop, and Carbon38, where it has pride of place and easily commands up to $440 for leggings and $285 for tees.
We spoke with forerunner Mules, who’s working on new sport categories such as skiing, surfing, and yoga and a US site for 2015, about how she thinks about the fitness fashion space and what’s next. —Melisse Gelula
You come from the fashion world. What design elements have you brought with you into the fitness space?
I think we offer what has been missing within activewear—special prints and colors and also something elegant and smart that transcends the gym. My designers and I come up with a theme each season for our collections, and everything we do design-wise follows that theme. We show collections at Fashion Week, exactly the same as the fashion world—this is quite unique for active wear.
Your previous collections have included fabrics from an European producer who makes scientifically based performance clothing for Olympic athletes. Are you still into using it?
Yes! I am obsessed with all new technologies and all performance clothing. We have introduced a bio-ceramic textile t-shirt to our AW14 collection called the Slider T-shirt. This emits infra-red light, which penetrates the muscles to promote blood flow and more oxygen can be delivered to increase recovery rate.
I’m so trying that out. Talk to me about the inspiration for the stunning Vitascope print?
It’s a microscopic view of vitamin C. We came across the photo during our research and could not believe that the delicate feather like print was actually vitamin c. It tied in perfectly to what we were working on—it’s dynamic, energizing, and delicate.
That’s amazing. Do you have “basics”? What is the Lucas Hugh equivalent?
We recently introduced our Core Collection. This is a range you can buy year-round in a rainbow of colors. Our signature leggings with internal support, iPhone pockets, moisture-wicking, and quick-dry fabrics. Our classic cross-back bra shapes with removable padding, tanks, and t-shirts… this means our signature fit will always be there, as well as the high-fashion looks we introduce each season.
What is your own workout life like?
I work out for an hour in the morning five days a week. I really like to try new things, but I am loyal to running in Hyde Park, Reformer Pilates at Heartcore, a PT session with Dalton Wong once a week, and resistance training at the gym—I do need/enjoy yoga, too.
Fitness fashion is a quickly growing category with more designers than ever launching their own active collections at the higher end. What do you make of that, since you were one of the first?
I think it’s great. Finally people recognize this category was missing from women’s wardrobes. It supports what we have been doing for the last five years. It’s exciting times.
For more information, visit www.lucashugh.com