So at last Lululemon has decided to get into the conversation regarding the company’s very unflattering and unyogic behavior and I for one am glad to see it. Recently they participated in a panel discussion in New York during the Yoga Journal conference.
In management’s own words, they have decided to “take control of the conversation.” However, I wish someone would please tell corporate that yoga is not about taking control of things as much as it is about being okay with what is. But whatever. At least someone there has decided enough is enough.
For far too long the company has remained silent in the eye of a tornado of criticism. Worse, it answered their critics with even more damaging sound bites such as the problem with women and their fat thighs.
If you missed that kerfuffle, it went something like this: Some noted that the new pants are shredding between the legs. The company responded by saying it was our fault for having big legs. That is actually how my marriage works (being that everything is my husband’s fault), but it is not a good corporate strategy to blame the customer for a quality-control issue.
However, I am happy that Lululemon is answering its critics because it will go a long way to making an honest woman of me. You see, I have been in the closet. I am afraid to admit that I am a Lululemon wearer.
I am not a “fan.” I do not condone their corporate policies and tactics. I do not wish to support the enslavement of tiny foreign nationals who work in sweatshops. And I detest that they do not make clothes for all women, including mature ones. But, damn, some of their stuff is cute.
Yet it is detrimental to be seen in Lululemon attire in public. I have received numerous emails to the point that if I am seen wearing it, my books, workshops, classes and retreats will be boycotted by women who have brains and morals (their words, not mine).
Up to now I have been skulking when I go into my local store. I put on dark glasses and a big hat. And of course, that is when someone says, “Meeeeeeeeee-chelllllle!” Oy.
I want to come clean: I wear some of their clothes. Not a lot, but I wear a few pieces such as a particular bra, and a sweatshirt. I live in that thing. And I have an old Lulu travel bag that is really great. My thighs, however, do not fit into any of their pants. I have big, womanly, badass thighs.
So there it is. The cat is out of the bag, or more to the point, the Luon is on. I figure if the great Carol Horton (blogger, author, university professor and yoga genius) can go to the dark side and make a rational argument for why she believes Lululemon should be given a chance, then I can be seen in a bra.
But here is the point: As yogis, we have a responsibility that is greater than looking cute. A yogi must leave the world a better place. And so, we should spend our money on companies that do good in the world.
I am an ambassador or representative for two other brands, one is organic (because that is important to me), and both are deeply committed to the principles I support. They manufacture in the U.S., they support Off The Mat programs, and they dress yogis of all sizes, ages and colors. They are good people. I support these brands because the clothes are cute, and yogic (just like meeeeee!)
Lastly, I am glad that Lululemon is answering its critics because up to now, it has been pretty one-sided. So many yogis hate, and I mean HATE Lululemon that it is frankly, scary. Hate is never a good way to build a relationship and it actually shuts down the conversation. I hope Carol Horton is right, and that this company is ready to listen and change.
Then perhaps I can appear in a Lululemon bra now and then without wearing those funny glasses and mustache.
If Lululemon is ready to come to the table and listen to their critics and make some real changes, amen. Perhaps we should be willing to give them a chance and be part of the change as well.
May 7, 2014