Find out how the athleisure trend suits the blogger and influencer’s lifestyle
Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photography: Paul Samuels
Because her parents didn’t do social media, and predate our current infatuation with digital documentation, Lulama Wolf’s family history flutters between truth and tale. That’s why she’s taken it upon herself to find out who she really is, and then record everything she does so that future generations will hear her howl.
“So far I know that we’re Khoi, the originals, and then somewhere along the line my mom’s side of the family met my dad’s side of the family who are Xhosa, and so I’m busy trying to find out where the two come together. I grew up in a family that didn’t document things and because of this we don’t have much in the way of proving our existence. I try to document everything I do now. That’s scrapbooking, diary entries, photos... and I don’t throw anything away. I’m going through a process where I want people to see everything I’m about. I don’t need empty spaces.”
Lulama fills the void by constantly documenting her best life, something that has made her one of the leading influencers in South Africa where she’s able to work with brands looking to tap into her enviable lifestyle. She supports herself by being herself, and the final year journalism student has taken the day off school to allow us to share a typical ‘day in the life’ with her.
She laughs how these days it’s not rare for her to wake up to a stylist, videographer, journalist, photographer, producer and makeup artist in her home.
“How do you wear your makeup?” asks the MUA.
“Like a boss,” replies Lulama, only half joking, while flicking through a champagne pink iPhone that has a checklist printed out on the back: “Pout, wink, pose, selfie”.
An innovator at the forefront of fashion, Lulama’s in love with athleisure and its wild-style leggings, oversized hoodies and hi-tech sneakers, saying that they’re perfect for her on-the-go lifestyle.
“Athleisure is about being comfortable while still maintaining energy. This is my style. I actually call myself the sports-luxe CEO. You know how it is, you’ve got places to be, people to see, and if you’re dressed in a certain way then you’ll be perceived in a certain way, so firstly you’ve got to look dope. Then, because I need to be at so many different places at different times throughout the day I need to be able to switch it up. Right now I’m casual and comfortable, but by changing a few things I can look more classy and chic.”
Kicking off every morning with yoga, Lulama dresses in leggings and a loose top so that she has freedom of movement. She prefers to start everyday like this, meditating and stretching things out before her classes, where she’ll simply slip on some sneakers and add a coat before heading out. Not today, however, as her friend Bass meets her at the tennis court of her complex so that they can collaborate on an editorial for Lulama’s channels. The gate is locked, but Lulama isn’t perturbed and simply scales it – problem solved.
A variation of her morning outfit is the theme of the day where it keeps transforming so that Lulama’s able to ride around the city, attend an afternoon meeting and spend a night out on the town with ease. Dressing in an adaptable outfit that stands up to the requirements of your day is great, but athleisure isn’t denim, meaning that it wears differently and needs more maintenance. Because we want to keep our favourite items for longer, we need a cleaning product that’s as smart as the tech fabrics from which our athleisure is constructed.
Speaking to Nicola Cooper, the lifestyle, pop and youth culture specialist who counts P&G as one of her clients, Nicola not only had the opportunity to attend Ariel’s Future Fabrics global events, but is also privy to the inside of their research and design laboratories. Nicola explains how Ariel’s new product doesn’t just clean clothing, but actually feeds it.
“Ariel Auto Liquid works with the fibres of fabrics like shampoos and conditioners work with our hair. In that respect it treats your clothes like a living thing. Which is important because when we wear clothes we don’t just wear them for how they look, but the way that they feel and smell, too, because people are tactile. What’s also interesting to note is that these treatments actually increase the longevity of your clothing so that your favourite things last longer.”
As a trend analyst who explores the how and the why of a trend – and not just what’s trending – Nicola goes on to add how there’s been a shift where more millennials are working from home now. They’re not sitting around in PJs all day, and these slashies need to do myriad things throughout their day, which is why they’ve gravitated towards a fabric that allows them to be both comfortable and stylish.
These new fabrications are waterproof, moisture wicking and far more comfortable to work and play in than, say, denim. But the clincher is how easily they transition from one thing to the next with just a few simple adjustments.
Case in point, the range British designer Giles Deacon designed in collaboration with Ariel, and which Lulama chose a piece from to style into the outfit that she chose to ride her bicycle in. Makes sense – athleisure is ideal for commuting, and as part of a larger healthy lifestyle trend Lulama has incorporated this into her life instead of doing something because she feels that she has to.
“I don’t run, I don’t gym, but I love my bike and we have a group where we meet up regularly and do rides together. Like the yoga, instead of doing something that I really don’t like I’ve managed to integrate health into my lifestyle. You should try finding what’s best for you and your personality. Dressing like you’re healthy is the gateway, and after a while you realise that you might as well integrate more of it.”
Miss Wolf wasn’t born with this name, and was one of eleven Mlambo children living in the small town of Parys. In the same way that she dominated the sports fields in high school, where she first earned her nickname, she’s now adopted the moniker in order to express herself through fashion, art, photography and living her best life in the city of Johannesburg, which she now calls home.
Because she needs to be so many different things at different times of the day, it’s crucial that Lulama dresses in a way that supports this. Lulama Wolf is athleisure, and the ferociously diverse talent relies on Ariel Auto Liquid to ensure that whatever she puts on is able to keep up with the rest of her.