- from the Wall Street Journal September 13, 2010… “These ‘ambassadors,’ as the company calls them, are given up to $1,000 of free apparel in return for modeling it for their clients.”
So, I took part in a Lululemon event last year. I was one of many teachers for the August 8 Salutation Nation. I had to buy a $30 tank top to volunteer my time to teach yoga. They were giving out Lululemon fake tattoos and buttons.
The whole thing really left a bad taste in my mouth. Why does the yoga community need a clothing company to build a stronger community? It is ridiculous that we couldn’t put together (that we DON’T put together) national (or semi-national) events ON OUR OWN.
image from here.
Now, full disclosure: I bought two pairs of pants before I got a creepy feeling from the partnership between American/Canandian yoga and Lululemon. And I can tell you, they are fine. Good pants. Work great. But let us remember: they are just pants. And Lululemon is just a clothing company.
And this is where I say, dear Lululemon; it’s not you, it’s me. You are just a clothing company that makes pretty good yoga clothes; as neutral as any other company ever conceived by man or woman.
photo from here.
It is US, the yoga teachers, who harbor an environment of exclusivity around wearing the right clothes–very expensive clothes for that matter–and therefore around yoga. It is us, the yoga teachers, who, in exchange for free clothes, will hawk a ware.
We are the ones putting our faces on a product by becoming ambassadors for Lululemon. We are the ones adopting the Lululemon company credo as our yoga’s credo. We are the ones saying yes to the upkeep of the image that only rich, thin, white, women do yoga in America. We are agreeing to this by letting a clothing company steer the direction of our community.
We are agreeing to this by letting a clothing company become more than a source of reliable clothing in which to practice.
Yes, we need to wear stuff to do yoga unless we’re doing it at home. And I don’t give a holler about WHAT you wear. A lifetime ago, I asked a friend which brand of guitar I should buy. “The best guitar is the one you’ll play,” she told me. So if Lululemon is the clothing you’ll “play;” if that’s what gets you onto your mat to practice: rah cheer! Go for it. Wear the heck out of it.
But teachers, please: let us be more mindful of the things we agree to and endorse.
- from the Wall Street Journal September 13, 2010… “Elena Gallo, a Chicago attorney who takes Pilates and boot-camp classes from Ms. Cushing, says that until she saw her instructor wearing Lululemon, ‘I was always adamant that I wouldn’t spend a fortune on workout clothes…. Now Lululemon is all I wear.'”
- From Financial Press Nov 2, 2010… “Affluent women willing to fork over US$100 for yoga pants or US$60 for a tank-top have helped the high-flying Canadian company wallop quarterly earnings expectations and drive same-store sales up 31%. That’s nearly unparalleled in a soft retail environment where many chains are closing stores, not opening new ones. Lululemon reaches out to local fitness instructors, driving brand awareness through word of mouth. Their stores and showrooms offer free classes, workshops and community events.”
- from Lululemon’s own SEC report 2010… “This grassroots approach allows us to successfully increase brand awareness and broaden our appeal while reinforcing our premium brand image.”