Friday, March 22, 2013

Could Lululemon get any weirder?

Via Lululemon

The ad above ran a couple of years ago. Yoga people seemed to like it. But right now, the Canadian stretchpants empire is in big financial trouble over a massive recall of black yoga pants that showed even mo' than toe.

"The truth of the matter is, the only way that you can actually test for the issue is to put the pants on and bend over," Christine Day told analysts on a conference call in which executives were repeatedly grilled about the pants debacle and the company's quality-control process. 
"Putting them on themselves does not solve the problem," she said, adding the pants made of the company's signature black Luon fabric had passed a series of standard quality metric tests and felt normal to the touch. "It has to be engaged in a four-way stretch for the sheerness to appear. It is a very complex thing to test for."
In case you haven't heard, the pants are reported to become transparent in certain positions. But the "bending over" quote isn't the first questionable PR thing said by company executives.

Business Insider has compiled a list of weird facts about Lululemon, starting with founder Chip Wilson's explanation that the company owed its success to the birth control pill. Not for good reasons, mind you, but because the pill created a world in which women worked, became more stressed, tried to dress like men, and lived unhealthy lives that resulted in breast cancer.

Almost overnight, women went from 20% to 56% of the university population.  By the 1990’s, Super Girls were finishing university where they excelled at school and sports.  They then entered the work force en masse and tried to figure out how to compete in a 12-hour-a-day competitive job market and have a functioning family.  Rarely did the two reconcile which created, and is still creating, an inordinate amount of stress on women today.  Fortunately, there is a direct correlation between education and health.  Super Girls knew that the best way to combat stress and sickness was to create natural endorphins found in athletics. 
Breast cancer also came into prominence in the 1990’s.  I suggest this was due to the number of cigarette-smoking Power Women who were on the pill (initial concentrations of hormones in the pill were very high) and taking on the stress previously left to men in the working world. 
In 1997 or so, yoga emerged as an activity that was both accessible and non-competitive for its participants.  It showed up at a time when women recognized the benefits of decompressing and living in the moment.  Yoga provided the same great feeling as snowboarding or surfing but could be done in an hour and a half and close to home.
Ultimately, lululemon was formed because female education levels, breast cancer, yoga/athletics and the desire to dress feminine came together all at one time.  lululemon saw the opportunity to make the best technologically advanced components for the Super Girl market.

Here's something Chip said about child labour:

According to those who attended BALLE BC conference, Wilson told the delegates third world children should be allowed to work in factories because it provides them with much-needed wages. They also say he argued that even in Canada there is a place for 12- and 13-year-old street youths to find work in local factories as an alternative to collecting handouts. 
"I look at it the same way the WTO does it, and that is that the single easiest way to spread wealth around the world is to have poor countries pull themselves out of poverty," 

And then there's this:

Some say that the recall, despite plunging Lululemon stock, is also providing priceless earned media. Could be. But when more and more people peer into the depths of this brand, what will they see?

Update: The answer to the question posed in the headline is YES.

No comments:

Post a Comment