Walking into Lululemon at Easton, the calm decorations and inspirational quotes adorning the walls welcome you. The brand sells clothes meant to make you look good while working out. The bag you receive at checkout is covered with motivational sayings. Lululemon seems genuine in its goal of encouraging self-confidence and dignity for all women. Well, all women who can afford a $98 pair of yoga pants. And don’t forget your $68 yoga mat.
It’s a known fact: Lululemon sells very expensive workout clothing. Apparently, it costs a lot to look good. So you would expect at least a quality pair of yoga pants, if you are paying a phone bill for them. But recently consumers have been complaining that the yoga pants are see-through in some places and that the fabric wears quickly and pills. The company launched a new fabric technology, Luon, because of complaints, but founder Chip Wilson had a different response to consumers: “There’s always been pilling . . . Quite frankly some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for it.”
That’s right. It’s your body’s fault. If you don’t have a gap between your thighs, then you cannot blame the pants for pilling. Even if this knotting up occurs after the first use. It is not the quality of the pants. It’s you! “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there,” claims Abercrombie’s Mike Jeffries. Duh. Your thighs touch when you walk; you can’t expect pants to withstand this minuscule pressure. You didn’t pay $98 and expect to wear these yoga pants in good condition more than once, did you?
If this controversy over brand-and-body relations sounds familiar, that is because you were not living under a rock when the media blew up earlier this year, reacting to a 2006 comment from Abercrombie and Fitch CFO Mike Jeffries. He claimed that A&F clothing is not meant to be worn by unattractive or overweight people.
Here we are again, another high-end clothing brand telling consumers who should and who should not wear their clothing. It’s glaringly inverted. Aren’t companies supposed to tailor to the customer? It is going to be hard to maintain a loyal consumer base if these executives continue to make deprecating and altogether false comments about body types and clothing fits. But there is no need to fret; Wilson, who no longer works for Lululemon, will not return to the CEO role anytime soon. He and his wife are “may be too wealthy now.” They don’t have the time.
Written by Kendall Silwonuk’15