I am going for honesty here. I figure since I pontificate on the dangers of carbon emissions, chemicals and bottled water I should 'fess up to my short falls. I hope you all still like me...
Just as a preface before I start: I've been thinking a lot about the "branding" of yoga and how corporations are jumping onto the increasingly popular and lucrative yoga train. My yoga doesn't really have room for sexist advertisements or corporate manipulations. That being said, I don't like practicing yoga in regular clothing... and I am an admitted consumer (recovering!). If push came to shove I'd declare myself "Anti-Lululemon" as it would fit better with my distrust for all things ginormous and corporate-y (see SIGG). This post is meant to begin the upfront and honest discussion I need to have.
Lululemon. I have a ridiculous love-hate relationship with you. You are my kryptonite and SO clever in your marketing genius. Perhaps a little bit of background on my lulu relationship (most likely similar to all of yours):
I was introduced to Lulu while living in Montreal, umm, five years ago-ish. My friend S., from B.C., introduced us during the pivotal "we should do yoga" part of grad-school. At that time Lulu was definitely moving towards being annoying in B.C., but JUST becoming popular in Montreal. Such a pretty store, with nice sayings on their bags and they even carried "organic" materials! S. assured me that although I was paying a ZILLION dollars for the top and pants that I'd never have to buy yoga clothing again. Sigh. How I wish that were true.
Fast forward two years when Andrew and I moved to BC. At that point, if you wore Lulu you were bordering on being a branded fluff lemming. One of the gaggle of women who wore it for the symbol and not a "true" yogi. I gained ten pounds and no longer fit in my standby top. Yay, more shopping! I discovered "Oqoqo", Lulu's "organic" and sustainable line and salivated over their flagship store in Vancouver.
Introducing "eco" life change and little things started to become apparent. I started noticing that their "Proud to be Canadian" clothing was deteriorating in quality. Their pants were no longer thick and well-made and their "eco" TPE mats shed within days of use. The culmination of our first "break up" was noticing the "Consciously formulated in Vancouver, Made in China" B.S. on their tags. Seriously, what?? Every single time I read that tag I am insulted. As if I'm stupid enough to believe that stating it was designed in Canada but made in China really makes any difference. Finally, the majority of Lulu's shares were sold to an American company and they are no longer Canadian at all.
Now that we live in Halifax, my relationship with Lulu has changed once again. The store drives me crazy. People drive from all over the province (and sometimes from New Brunswick) just to go to that one store. The result; it's filled to the brim with pushy Lemmings 100% of the time.
At the Halifax store they also have some fantastic poster info on their "workshop factories" (ahem) in China. Some day I will brave the masses to subtly take a picture of this "info-board". I'll get Andrew to pose with a bandana or something ridiculous and pretend to take a picture of him. On this board the company goes on about how wonderful the working conditions are at their factories, complete with cutesy pictures of the female Chinese workers at their sewing stations wearing matching pink hair bands. I didn't see a lot of smiles. It was creepy. Consciously formulated in Vancouver my a**.
However. Sigh. Lulu has a FANTASTIC community presence here in the city. Three and sometimes four free classes per week! Much more than the local studios. They also almost completely run the show for yoga wear in the city. Thank goodness I discovered Bhavana Boutique and was able to try on different companies such as Karma, Tonic (which are both actually formulate and MADE in Canada) and Cura clothing. Unfortunately I have yet to find a top by another company that fits as well as my Lulu tops. I think this is due to my body type and that I hate shopping online.
This is my downfall, I hate shopping online. Especially for clothing. If I'm going to spend that much money I want it to fit. This leads me to my jacket purchase which shattered my "I'm never shopping at Lulu again" resolve a few weeks ago. Thank goodness I have valiantly been avoiding all "yoga-apparel" based stores in the past few months. We don't "need" special yoga gear to practice. Though I'll be the first to admit that practicing yoga in jeans just isn't the same.
No matter the marketing suave of Lulu, my jacket purchase is the epitome of my love-hate relationship and represents perfectly how they manipulate (me) the consumer. Especially us "green-yogis". Story to follow shortly. :)
How do you feel about Lulu?
Article copyrighted by EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com