Despite its genius marketing strategy and obscene amount of success, Lululemon can’t seem to escape the trains of mishap and controversy. Sidestepping see-through pants, sweatshop scandals, and a brutal murder of an employee by another employee, this company boasting the themes of Yoga and togetherness seems superfluous to any deserved backlash.
The latest in Lulu’s debacle is its not so brilliant Chairman, Chip Wilson, who wisely blames women’s thighs for the complaints over the quality of their $98 pants. Customers are claiming the pants are “pilling, scratchy and see-through,” and despite widespread complaints over the company’s clothes only fitting certain body types, they’ve remained steadfast in their apparent strategy of “the customer is always wrong,” or as Stephen Colbert cleverly quips, “the customer is always fat.”
This isn’t Wilson’s first foray into hot water. Colbert covers news that has been known in the community for years: Wilson named Lululemon to point fingers and laugh at the Japanese’ attempts in saying it; beyond designing athletic wear for a very small and specifically sized customer, Wilson also maturely claims the advent of the birth control pill changed the environment in such a way that was a catalyst for most divorces.
Where does he get this stuff?
What’s more, Lululemon has been able to corner the Yoga market, completely monopolizing the industry. As far as Yoga clothing goes, there’s no other competition that measures up to it by miles. It has high standards for studios to carry its clothing and is the ultimate schemer in making them feel they need Lulu’s stamp of approval.
Teachers who aren’t affiliated with the Lulu community feel like outcasts and those who’ve stuck up for better companies and policies in the past have been warned not to step on the toes of such a powerful conglomerate.
Lululemon does treat its employees and ambassadors very well, that’s a plus, and the company has managed to breed a loyalty unlike any other. But what the whole the western world is forgetting is that Yoga has nothing to do with any of this crap. Patanjali, who Stephen is smart enough to quote in his piece, would be shocked by the consumerism, the attachment, the attention paid to such a superficial venture at all.
True, dedicated yogis laugh at this bullshit and are astounded by the shenanigans we so readily engage in.
Is Lululemon all bad? Of course not. But is it worth supporting in such a feverish, cultish way? Worth spending hundreds of dollars of hard earned money? You decide.