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Thursday, November 14, 2013

14

Lululemon's Selling of "Ostentatious Wellness"

Famously, the CEO of Whole Foods, another company much beloved by liberals, is also a Rand devotee and staunch libertarian. It’s easy to dismiss these men as flukes, or to categorize them as savvy capitalists who were able to spot which way the cultural winds were blowing and create a set of products that would serve the wants of the continent’s upperclass. But that hard-right Galtian spirit hasn’t seemed to turn anyone off. In fact, Lululemon has been so successful because, not in spite of, its founder’s combination of woo-woo New Age-iness with a sharply competitive spirit. It’s the same approach many American women (and men) bring to buying organic, to drinking fresh-pressed juice, and yes, to yoga. There is a boom market in ostentatious wellness these days, one that is underpinned by the same synthesis of seemingly opposite impulses—to achieve, and to bliss out—that drives Wilson. His customers are much more like him than many would care to admit. If you seek spiritual enlightenment through yoga and fasting, go to India or the 1960s. If you want to have the best-looking ass in line at Starbucks, try Lululemon’s free Saturday class and a pair of $82 Wunder Unders.

At the New Republic, Noreen Malone takes on Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, who earlier this month told Bloomberg TV that his company's pants don't work for some women's bodies because of "the rubbing through the thighs." Oh! This is a smart read that doesn't really dwell on that very stupid comment. [TNR]


14 Comments / Post A Comment

coolallison

Oh my gosh, I am so over Lululemon. I am ashamed to admit how much money I've spent at that store, but the more I read about this Chip Wilson dude and his opinions on women, the more I want to set all my Lululemon clothes aflame.

carolinaclay

so beautiful...LOVE LOVE THIS@y

mistersister

"combination of woo-woo New Age-iness with a sharply competitive spirit. It’s the same approach many American women (and men) bring to buying organic, to drinking fresh-pressed juice, and yes, to yoga."
THIS. I've been talking about this with my friends for a long time. The blissed-out, self-righteous veneer only makes the aggressive, competitive, type-A qualities even more apparent, somehow.

Faintly Macabre

@mistersister I think that whole lifestyle encourages (and is probably encouraged by) really intense narcissism. If you spend all of your time focusing on getting your ass and smoothies perfect, and all of your money on the best-for-you wheatgrass or yoga pants, there's not a whole lot of energy/money left for anything else. It's like religion without any of the altruism or memento mori, and with a hefty pricetag.

stuffisthings

Just added "stand outside of Lululemon and blow cigarette smoke on people as they walk out" to my list of things to do on the way home today.

stuffisthings

"I wish I'd only... trained.. for more 10Ks" gasped no one, on their death bed.

tulliola

@stuffisthings yesss ahaha <3

yeah-elle

My food-service job is practically next door to a Lululemon. I thought I was imagining it at first, but nope, it's a definite pattern: customers who come in carrying Lululemon shopping bags are more likely to be rude and entitled, and less likely to leave a tip. I should make up a chart.

up cubed

I think this is the corollary to fat shaming.
Fat=poor=not trying=social shame; Fit=rich=socially acceptable.

avocadosandwich

everybody is the worst

Legal

Can someone please inform all these dudes that most people outgrow Ayn Rand at about the age of 17? Like, I loved Ann Rice novels when I was 12 to 15 - but I've moved on - not adopted them as a life philosophy. Though I suppose I would much prefer the company of Ann Ricians, to Ayn Randians.

Michael Potter - CEO of Eden Foods - is another undercover douchenozzle, selling his goods to liberal consumers, all the while using the profits for his conservative agenda. Many of those goods are available at....Whole Foods! It's a conspiracy - lol! Not that this paragraph has anything to do with the topic here - I just feel the need to get in a loud BOYCOTT EDEN FOODS!!! whenever anything tangentially related comes up.

Lululemon is a joke from the get go. It reminds me of the super expensive grunge fashion collections sent down the runway by Marc Jacobs, etc. years ago. Like, isn't that oxymoronic?

P.J. Morse

@Legal Not gonna lie. Admiration of Ayn Rand is the world's most reliable asshole detector. The second I hear a person talk about how much he or she loved "The Fountainhead," I know we will not get along.

Whole Foods shoppers can be a mixed bag, but they are often the rudest shoppers I've encountered. But I have an addiction to their muffins, so that makes me weak in their libertarian eyes, right?

j-i-a

my god i am late to this but

FUCK LULULEMON

i have never been inside a store or touched a lululemon garment but aesthetically i find it as troubling as spanx. none of this cleavagey workout shit with a draped stomach to forgive the belly as if it needed forgiving. we must embrace our flesh as god intended us to, in old college fundraiser shirts or whatever the fuck does not cost $100 to soak up sweat

MrsSekone

I am not a small girl. I wear a size 10-12, I have worked for lululemon, I lift a lot more than many men, run like a zombie is chasing me and I still love lululemon gear.

I am all about being strong and beautiful no matter your size or favorite way to live your life. I don't care if you are a size 2 or a size 24 as long as you are happy and love your life. I hated what Chip said because it was cut up/ taken out of context and as the face of a brand he should have known better than to directly discuss women's thighs. However, and remember my thighs have been called tree trunks, we always had women in the store trying to wear sizes that were to small for them or styles that did not work for their activities or body types.

What Chip said wasn't right but I think what he was trying to say was that some women aren't buying the right size or style. It is just truth that if your thighs rub together there will be friction that leads to pilling in that area. Seriously though, as a former rower, let me tell you how many pairs of designer jeans I have literally burned through the crotch of.

I love my strong and massive thighs but I also know that they mean some of my clothes may not last. So hell yeah I will continue spending more money on lulu gear because they do use awesome fabrics, their designs are suited to specific activities and their gear has always outlasted any other gear I have bought.

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