Designer Spotlight: Laboratorium LA

Designer Spotlight: Laboratorium LA

We spoke to Nikki Balsem, Senior Designer for Laboratorium LA, on the luxury technology driven fashion company.

We spoke to Nikki Balsem, Senior Designer for Laboratorium LA, on the luxury technology driven fashion company.

Text: Dominique Norman

If wearable tech is not already on your radar, Laboratorium LA should be. Short for Laboratorium Luxury Athleisure, the company is based in Amsterdam and focuses on “hybridizing technology with fashion through experimentation” while still remaining incredibly fashion-forward.

Laboratorium LA translates uniquely from work to play while perfectly embodying the spirit of athleisure. Each collection is produced in one colorway, so mixing and matching will never be an issue. For the person who is always searching for a work-life balance, Laboratorium has provided it in their modern, everyday essentials. Senior Designer Nikki Balsem gave us some insight on what makes Laboratorium stand alone, the rise of athleisure, and futurism.

How would you describe the fashion scene in Amsterdam today?

Most people in Amsterdam generally manage to dress in a stylish and casual way. Considering most of the people here walk and bike a lot, you will not typically see many men dress in suits or dress pants or women in heels, but a lot of jeans, chinos and sneakers instead. Fashion here has to be comfortable and practical.

How has athleisure evolved over the past few years? Do you believe it is still evolving?

It seems as though athleisure has become more refined over the years. Brands like Athleta, Lululemon, and Sweaty Betty were seen as typical athleisure brands. Now you have high-end designer brands such as Valentino, Fendi, and Chloe presenting sports-inspired, relaxed fashionable garments that are considered athleisure, ath-luxury if you will. Since nowadays healing and wellness are considered equally important as working out, I personally feel like this shows also in the style of the garments.

Within the brand, what aesthetic is the basis for your creations?

We have quite a minimalistic approach. We don’t want to be dependent on temporary fashion fads. Referring to our brand name, Laboratorium, we habitually put subtle hints to futurism by for example incorporating futuristic geometric shapes in our patterns.

Who do you picture wearing Laboratorium?

Men and women who have a demanding career and a healthy lifestyle, who need their wardrobe to multitask and work with their busy schedules. People who don’t want to overthink their outfits but go for an effortless classy look.

How do you define success for the brand?

We would like to expand our clothing line in the future to become a full lifestyle brand. Offering different types of accessories, and maybe even furniture and Laboratorium sports equipment for at home such as dumbbells or yoga mats. Success to us would be if we can be seen as one of the leaders of the ath-luxury lifestyle market.

The first collection was presented fully in dark navy, is this what we can expect from future collections as well?

The color blue significates integrity, strength, and ambition. The color blue is known to have positive effects on wellness of the mind and body. It invokes rest and can cause us to produce chemicals that are calming and exude feelings of tranquility. This is why we decided to present our collection completely in navy. However, like with the second collection this doesn’t mean it will be sold exclusively in navy. We offer most of the garments in different shades such as white, black or khaki green.

How do you foresee Laboratorium growing in the coming years?

As a new brand in the luxury market it’s not easy to become a big player overnight. For now, we focus on growing slowly but steadily and staying true to our brand values.

If you weren’t making clothing and lifestyle garments, what might you be doing instead?

I don’t think I could ever completely leave the creative industry. They say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. I would either move into a different direction in the fashion industry or focus on my illustrations.

Scroll through some of the looks below.

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