As an ex-Vancouverite, I aspired to have Lululemon in my life. It was a staple in the lives of exercise-conscious yuppies and health gurus. As I strolled along the Vancouver beaches on Sunday mornings after a hearty breakfast at a well-known eatery, my dog and I would often pass copious amounts of people wearing Lululemon. I was a poor student that couldn’t afford Lululemon. I would exercise in yoga pants just not the famed Lulus. I just couldn’t part with a few hundred dollars on my meager budget.
After I graduated university I really wanted to buy a pair of Lululemon yoga pants, but never did. Again, other things seemed more important. I chose to spend my money on other athletic brands. I was an exercise fanatic for years and never regretted not spending the money for Lululemon.
I realized that behind Lululemon was an effective and powerful marketing team. They wanted us to buy a lifestyle. If you weren’t wearing Lululemon you weren’t dedicated enough. They were also selling socio-economic status. If you weren’t in Lululemon, you weren’t of middle or upper class stature. These are the people that Lululemon wanted to sell their clothing to. They only wanted those people that through word of mouth would sell their clothes for them.
Do you remember all the re-usable Lululemon bags that women used as lunch bags? What they found out was that many of these bags had questionable comments written on the inside such as:
“You only have 30,000 days to live”
and something to the effect that exercise creates a better HIGH than sex.
And even more detrimental was that the bags contained high levels of lead. So yes we were being environmental conscious but to what end? To our own demise and risk of heath implications?
It has been brought to my attention that I cannot blame Lululemon solely for pitting women against one another in the competition of who looks better, etc., but what I can fault them for is perpetuating that type of marketing. Enter Lululemon’s latest scandal. Their founder Chip Wilson has decided that Lululemon’s issues with pilling fabric and see-through pants are not indicative of shoddy fabric and a cheapening of the bottom-line so to speak, but rather women are to blame. And more specifically women’s bodies are to blame. Our thighs might rub together too much; therefore, this creates an issue with the yoga pants and their magical ability to become transparent.
The only thing transparent here is that Wilson is an asshole. I’m sorry, but what retailer blames their customers for production issues? Do electronics companies tell customers that our ears are to blame because the headphones don’t fit properly? No they don’t. They fix the problem in the next production run and the customer understands that sometimes things happen and we move on and remain in a symbiotic relationship. But what Lululemon and Chip Wilson, their mouthpiece, is doing is creating mistrust in their product. This may not affect them right now or in the immediate future, but eventually it will. Women, over time, will think deeply and consciously about what wearing Lululemon says about them. Does wearing this brand mean that I condone the comments made by their founder? For me, it does.
Since I’m providing full disclosure here, my thighs rub together. And it’s because I was an athlete. I skated for a roller derby league and in training my thighs and calves, for that matter, built muscle mass. Before derby my thighs never rubbed together and I had no problems fitting into boots and socks. So, actually the fact that my thighs rub together is a point of pride for me.
So Wilson blaming women and blaming us for our body types that in the past they have catered to so they could build their multi-billion dollar empire is…well…disgusting! Is there a problem with the consumer wanting well fitting and long lasting attire for their hard earned dollar? I don’t think so. But apparently, Chip Wilson thinks only certain body types have a right to wear his brand and buy into the lifestyle that he built his lifestyle upon. I guess he has enough money that he doesn’t need to care about his customers or what women think of him.
So please do not buy me anything from Lululemon for Christmas or any other time of the year because I cannot condone a brand that treats it customers with a lack of respect and intelligence.
RantingnRaven on twitter