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Lululemon Controversy

Photo by flickr user m01229
Photo by flickr user m01229

I love my Lulus (despite their ridiculously high price). Don’t we all? Lululemon just seems to have a desirable product for every imaginable situation. They have yoga pants, leggings, shorts, spandex, shirts, jackets, sports bras, headbands, yoga towels, yoga mats, water bottles—the list goes on. And I think most of us can agree that somehow Lulu leggings just make you look better. You can run in them, hike in them, do yoga in them, lounge in them—that list also goes on.

As much as I love my Lulus, I can’t help but be distracted by the scandals I see popping up in the news about the company. Now, some customers may be inclined to take a more radical stand and boycott Lululemon Athletica all together, but I plan to continue wearing my leggings and enjoying them. Whatever your approach, we should all be aware of the company’s affairs.

Lululemon founder and former chairman Chip Wilson might not be the guy you want to support so readily. According to the New York Times, in March 2013, Lululemon recalled 17% of its black yoga pants due to claims of the material being too sheer. Wilson attempted to explain the situation on Bloomberg TV that November: “Some women’s bodies don’t work for the pants,” he said. “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time.”

Excuse me, Mr. Wilson?! If a woman doesn’t feel comfortable in your skin-tight bottoms, she won’t wear them. But if a woman wants to show off her curves, whatever size they might be, she surely has the right to. This appalling PR mishap certainly undermined the company’s dignity.

The company also faced a scandal regarding the messages they put on the bags that they give customers to take their items home in. Many of the bags’ designs have “inspirational” quotations displayed between silhouettes of women in various yoga poses. A bunch of years ago, though, people reported the outer layer of the bags starting to peel off, revealing much more inappropriate quotations, one of them comparing the “high” one gets after working out to drugs. The company stated that, due to its commitment to environmentally friendly practices, it covered the inappropriate sayings with new ones after customer complaints. Well, Lululemon, you didn’t cover them well enough.

So, Lululemon lovers, now you know the controversy that mars the pure love we might otherwise have for everybody’s favorite workout clothes.