Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An Honest Mistake? Or An Excuse? Lululemon’s See-Through Pants

While everyone is congratulating Lululemon on their bravery and good business tactics on letting customers return their see-through yoga pants (as any retailer would do), I have a different opinion.

lulu logo

Logo taken from Lululemon.com

After reading an article in the NY Daily News on the current Lululemon fiasco, I couldn’t help but think,

Is this Lulu trying to cover up what was supposed to be a silent change in the quality of fabric?

According to the only manufacturer of Luon in the world, the company in Taiwan that has been making Lulu pants for years, the fabric that was used for these pants was a direct request from the spandex connoisseur.  This wasn’t a production mistake, it was Lululemon trying to lower costs and increase margins as a result of their falling sales.

I work in the industry, and as someone who sees collections every season, I can tell when the fabric has been changed instantly.  This doesn’t JUST HAPPEN, especially if the fabric is coming from the same manufacturer.  You can not venture to believe that people will spend $100+ on yoga pants that are poor quality just because they are popular.  It irks me that people will still spend money on Lulu pants that do not last for more than one season without pilling.

For a company that’s mantra states that friends are more important than money, the latest saga of the Lululemon brand shows otherwise.  A company whose name purposely has 3 “L”s because Japanese people cannot pronounce the letter, in order to make it ”innately North American.”  A company who told customers their clothing was made of seaweed, when it wasn’t.  A company whose founder stated that he approves of child labor so it can stimulate third world economies.

I don’t post about Lululemon for all of these reasons.  I commend them for creating a feminine line of workout gear when nothing existed, and for creating the entire industry.  I do not commend them for what they have become as a company, and I make it a point to post about quality brands, mostly made in the USA, who believe in their customers and treat them like queens.

So while your Lulu pants are out of stock, give these brands a whirl: ROGIANI, RESE Activewear, BodyRock Sport, HardTail Forever, LVR Fashion, DA Active, Heidi Hat, FeelFitWear, MPG Sport, Splits59, Zobha, Body Language, and so many more.

 

**These are my opinions and have nothing to do with any brands mentioned above.  This is a personal blog that is only of my opinions on Lululemon.  All claims can be backed up in  this article by the Business Insider “The History of Lululemon”**

29 comments :

  • Cammie

    You’re barrage against this company is weird to me. I also think you should stick to the facts instead of claiming the company or someone in it is racists towards Japanese people. If you look it up, that’s not what was said. I like your blog, but you’re doing yourself a disservice by not doing your homework and going on these rants.

    • YogaInHeels

      It is a noted fact, and can be confirmed by a post by Lululemon that Chip did name the company lululemon because the Japanese could not pronounce the letter “L”. He wanted it to be a fully North American name, but Europeans can pronounce the letter “L” so I’m not sure how that makes sense. Thanks for reading and posting your opinions, that’s what the blog is all about! :)

      • Cammie

        My problem is that you’re trying to make the company seem more evil by twisting the words to make the man sound racist. Let you followers determine for themselves:

        In 2009, he wrote:

        “It was thought that a Japanese marketing firm would not try to create a North American sounding brand with the letter “L” because the sound does not exist in Japanese phonetics. By including an “L” in the name it was thought the Japanese consumer would find the name innately North American and authentic.”

    • YogaInHeels

      Thanks, and I went ahead and linked one of the articles I reviewed for this post so everyone can read exactly what is meant. I believe in transparency, and you are right, I should have posted it.

  • Ashley

    First off- i too enjoy your blog. It has really helped me become more fashionable in my workouts. And yes some of this has meant that i wear lululemon, along with other brands. However, i also agree that your rant against them is unbecoming and alienates some of your audience. You’ve posted numerous jabs at them and it just doesn’t make sense. I have even noticed that apects about other brands you comend on your blog are very similar to what lululemon is doing with their clothes. If you don’t like the brand, fine- but you’re almost gleeful in their hardship, maybe it has something to do with them being a competitor with your sisters store. Posts like this make me not want to come into your store. (And also the manufacturer is quoted is not the only manufacturer of their fabric in the world.)

    • YogaInHeels

      I absolutely commend Lulu for creating feminine product and creating the industry, as I mentioned above. Without them, most of these brands would not exist and neither would my blog! They have done amazing things! But I also posted about when my Target pants went see-through on me, so it isn’t just me attacking one brand. It is a quality issue. The manufacturer is the only one Lululemon uses, and because they are the only people licensed to sell Luon, that is true. Other companies make different versions of the fabric, but cannot make the exact specifications of the fabric they use. I think Lulu’s clothes are very cute and functional, but I choose not to wear them or post much about them. Just wanted to put my view out there, and like I said, this has nothing to do with anyone I feature here. It’s my personal blog, nothing corporate so I do hope that you do not judge others or their brands based on my views.

  • Tamara Grand

    Thanks for this honest post. I started wearing Lulu way back in the day when they were only available at the local store in Vancouver. The company was grassroots, community-based and (I believe) made locally. The fabric was also different back then. No pilling, no see-through. I was still wearing pants I bought way back in 1995 last year (the elastic waistband finally gave out). There was a noticeable fabric change when they ‘internationalized’ and the company went public. Not surprised that it’s happened again.

    Another reason why I’m looking at some local, Made in Canada workout clothes companies to support!

    • YogaInHeels

      Thanks for reading! Yes, Lulu was originally made in Canada but outsourced when they grew, I wore them back then, too. Take a look at Tonic Activewear and MPG Sport, both are Canadian companies. MPG is made in China, sadly, and I’m not sure where Tonic is manufactured these days. If you want a brands simialr to lulu in fit and fabric, try RESEActivewear.com, they are made in the USA.

  • Steph

    So, I read your blog and I like it a lot. I’m not one to regularly comment, but I do love the fact that you do give fun alternatives to Lulu and UA, and NIKE. There are very few blogs out there that are sporty and still fashionable. So thumbs up there… :)

    I commend Lulu, as well, for starting a movement for feminity in activewear, when clearly: it was a need. I’m not going to point out what others have pointed out about your rant, as that’s what blogs are for. Opinions. I wear a few lulu tops when I head out to yoga, and i will say, their mat changed my practice. Everyone has fair points here with everything that has been said.

    What I am going to point out, as someone who also works in the fashion industry (I’m a designer by trade over here in NYC), that new fabric development is an entirely valid process that isn’t ever glitch-free. It’s also a necessary thing as more advances are made by your competitors and new technology is created that is likely expensive to replicate when you don’t, say, own a particular patent. Everyone in the apparel industry, I’m sure, can entirely attest to the fact that some budget-belts have been tightened by duties, environmental/political issues, and the simple issue that there’s been less foot traffic lately,which means less revenue coming into your company (regardless if your stock options are up). Everyone is looking to save a dime…. But regardless, my point about fabric development being a process and never glitch-free is that, sure– they might have been in the process of creating a more cost effective garment with the same quality (they feel, at least, after going through a vendor submission and development process). But sometimes… As any designer might know… Sometimes, what you approve in the office is not necessarily what hits the shelves. Production mistakes do happen, and when they happen, you sit there and fume in frustration, praying that they don’t cost the company ridiculous amounts of money. And believe me, those are not fun meetings to sit in, when vendors are called out for their mistakes.

    Who knows what actually happened. I don’t work for them. But, if it truly was a mistake on their end, I sympathize. Because a) lots of people are under-fire right now (all we heard was a statement), and b) the company has a big misstep to repair.

    I wish them a little luck, here.

    Anyway, keep on writing. I love your posts! They make my design day more fun…. (And as a southern girl working up north, I gotta say… Atlanta Activewear is a great resource for cute sporty style, and so is your blog. :) )

  • Lululemon recall, blogging and #noexcuses

    [...] An Honest Mistake? Or an Excuse? Lululemon’s See-Through Pants I’m sure you’ve heard about the big Lululemon recall  (if not, check your rear! You might be exposing more than you thought!). Most coverage has talked about the impact this has on Lulu’s image and stock price and how Lulu is “doing right” by allowing customers to return the pants. However, Yoga in Heels brings up a great question: “Is this Lulu trying to cover up what was supposed to be a silent change in the quality of fabric?” [...]

  • Danielle @ I Eat Therefore I Run

    I refuse to buy Lululemon anymore simply because of how expensive it is. I remember being in university, surrounded by students thousands of dollars in debt, yet totally decked out in Lululemon gear, it didn’t make sense. Yes, their clothes are very nice, and yes, in the past I have purchased items from them, but now, when I’m in a position where I can afford to buy in cash rather than credit, I can’t bring myself to dish out $60 on a running top.It irks me that people willingly do this, and I feel they’re sheep following the herd. Thank you for this article, and links to other Lulu related ones, for opening my eyes and supporting my opinion.

    I’m a Nike person myself, and I do love how their running clothes continue to evolve, but I’m not sure I would blog about it considering Nike sponsored Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius….. :/

    • YogaInHeels

      I don’t think it’s the cost that should throw you off, as Nike has gotten more expensive over the year. I always like to base my purchase on price per wear. If it’s good quality, you will be able o wear it everyday for years. If it’s cheaper and great quality, GREAT! If it’s more expensive, eventually the cost will be little to none. I’ve had some ROGIANI $104 leggings that I wear almost every day for 4 years. People still ask if they are new! I’d suggest taking a look at small, independent brands like the ones I feature, you’d be surprised about the lesser cost and the amazing quality. If lulu was a quality product, I’d blog up a storm about them, but I can’t stand behind it, so I can’t blog about it. Thanks so much for reading!!! Hope you come back for more!

  • Leahkimyoga

    I’d also recommend checking out Nike clothes for yoga! ;£

  • Michelle

    Well, you have to admit, they are good marketers. Make a cheaper fabric and then convince people that it is trendy…that is pure Madison Avenue Magic.

  • barb

    I have researched this company and wholeheartedly agree with every word in your blog. This company started out with good intentions while at the same time revolutionizing a niche in a developing industry. They have created a trend but long since forgotten to stay true to their own company motto.
    they continue to increase profit margins but cheapening the product, skipping corners and sacrificing quality.
    Unfortunately they will conitnue to profit until people realize these other brands you mentioned offer a far superior product. They are a fad. I spent thousands of dollars on Lulu until the see thru pants. Now my favorite brand of leggings is Yogasmoga and Underarmour. Their material is amazing and they deliver on everything they promise at a more friendly cost.
    As far as the original Owner CEO whatever you want to call him…. I think its a joke that someone tried to disprove that he did not name the company Lululemon because the Japanese could not pronounce it when in fact thats exactly what he did and his thought behind it. Why else put so much time into creating a completely weird company name with the only letter a certain group of people can not pronounce….?
    Anyway… good review. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and seeing everything I’ve read elsewhere summed up into one place.
    thanks.

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