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Lululemon Gets Slapped in the Manifesto – A Provoking Parody

in Business of Yoga, YD News

BRAND LOYALTY: It’s almost like having a personality.

4000 Years of Yoga and we finally figured out how to cash in.

Yeowch! Love it or hate it, presenting the most scathing lulu parody we’ve seen as of late, brought to you by less-than-miffed-by-corporate-yoga-brands the seacowcoalition, a bunch of grad students in Australia Canada we’re told. It’s definitely a stinger in the stretchy pants. lululemmings?

Click to enlarge, or if you like, download the pdf here (right click)

OR go to their site for interactive news links for each “directive.”



50 comments… add one
  • monica

    i was at one time excited to be an ambassador… only to be left feeling used & abused by my local store – like a complete LULULEMMING!!!!!!!

    • bradley

      My bf is applying to be an Ambassador.

      Oh no…what should I warn him about? Please let me know!


  • CT

    Yawn. I say, if you don’t like Lulu, don’t buy their stuff. $98 for a pair of Astro or Groove pants is a pretty easy expenditure to pass up.

    Maybe I’m a lemming, but this crosses the “snark” line into the territory of bitter, sour grapes. There are more heinous retailers reaping their success at the hands of far more harmful practices; I think those are more deserving of the time, attention, and mental energy that went into this.

    • Lizbeth

      So satire is OK, but only so long as we don’t diss your pants or get too critical. Noted. Will you please send us a list of what we’re allowed to say and how vehemently we’re allowed to say it?

      Please respond quickly. I need to know exactly what I can spend my time, energy and attention on while avoiding receipt of your sage and non-judgmental “yawn” moniker.

  • this is so brilliant! yes yes yes.

  • Soooo wickedly funny; I absolutely love this!! The skewering of the mix of corporate promotion and new age-y spirituality is brilliant and hopefully a bit conscious-raising . . . even for those who like the clothing, no need to uncritically swallow the hype.

  • Yawn yawn as CT said. Now can you imagine how much time went into this? What if that time was used for a good cause?!! Dang!! World peace could be possible. LOL

    • Lizbeth

      Yes, imagine the wasted time. They could have been writing a vacuous blog detailing what they ate and how they felt too tired to go to work today. That would really be helping the world! LOL

  • Yogi-A

    I must say, I enjoy my lulu products as well as the company itself.
    I think they were the first, in Vancouver anyways, to put those messages on the bags, as well as actually try to be active in the city to promote fitness. Yoga there on Sunday mornings are actually one of the things a lot of people love. For people that have never gone to yoga before, this is a great way to get into it without having to pay some $15+ for a class here in the city. They also had run groups every week and such…

    They are a smart company in many ways…They use a lot of free marketing through ambassador programs, the free classes, and fitness instructors in general. They provide a discount for the fitness instructors and in return they ask for feedbacks on their products. Now this is one of the most amazing things they have done that other companies don’t do enough.

    They actually ask the people who use their products often to provide feedbacks as to what’s good or bad…I actually have never found any other man’s clothes with a thumb hole on the cuff…It’s one of the most amazing thing I like about my lulu sweater…

    The price tag on their things are pretty steep for most markets, but one also has to look at the fact that it’s based out of Vancouver, and most things in Van are expensive…If people are willing to speed a couple thousand dollars on a bag, they *can* spend $100 on a pair of pants…I’m not saying that it’s just for them to charge that price for stuff, but it’s the market in Vancouver BC Canada…If they reduce it for other markets, then their local community will just stop buying them locally and go else which (which is what happened for a long period of times when they were cheaper state-side.)

    Last note is that consumerism is when you continue to consume more and more, but so far for me with lulu, I have bough enough of what I need for my activities, and those things are lasting a very long time with the amount of abuse they endured.

  • Yogini

    Lulu, you left one out of your ad:

    “Enjoy that liberating cleanse, and know that you can see us on some pro-ana sites”

  • One thing is for sure, they are definitely the only clothing store to actively promote fitness in my area. The running stores try but only so many people want to join marathon training programs.

  • of course I love it.

    now who will the first to call the person who came up with this a “hater” and “unyogic”?

  • Lululemon frustrates me. They started out so cool- I used to work there- then it got bigger in the U.S. and changed totally- got crazy corporate and their prices jumped almost 20%! A hoodie was $79- now $98? You have to be kidding me! I bought all my stuff at 60% off, and that made it normally priced.

    And, by the way, their “manifesto” is totally stolen from Mary Schmich’s famous article in the Chicago tribune from 1997. Ugh.

    • assman

      eeeeewww i hope you were fired. i love my full price $98 hoodie and the experience i get at my local store. glad to know i won’t be seeing you there anytime soon!

  • Double Yawn

    Oh, look, someone took a shot at Lululemon. How edgy. Next let’s gang up on Bikram Choudhury. Fish in a barrel.

    Time for something new, gang. Or at least something positive?

    As others have noted, Lululemon offers free yoga practice in our area. That’s something even the local YMCA hasn’t yet managed to do. Before I turn my nose up at their efforts I think I’ll make sure I’m matching them myself.

  • @double yawn: good point. Not very “yoga” to be constantly attacking various members of the yoga community.

  • Jessica

    I love there pants but the rest is really cult quality – yes – under a great ‘guise – health and fitness (and who would argue with that). As a teacher – getting a $45 tank top to travel to teach for an hour to a bunch of unfamiliar often new and possibly injured students, that you’ll likely never see because they don’t value your time or service – is only one of many many things I could say that are the true colours of lulu. They also brain wash their employees (make your private goals public, share them with a manager who is probably a competitive insecure 20 year old, oh….and if you’ve been there awhile – do not refuse to do Landmark – you’ll make yourself an outsider) …

    Does anyone on here know what part of Landmarks manifesto is: breakdowns for breakthroughs>>In public venues.

    This is a form of training…..or emotional manipulation; depending on how straight up you want to be. And wait – how’d we get here? I just want my gusseted hot stretch pants (and hot they are)

    This isn’t the yoga community – its a highly calculated marketing scheme. And bravo – lets recognize it for what it is. Quite clever at that. And bravo for the team of creatives who created this. Its engaging albeit snarky. The yoga community needs a little cynicism to point of the obvious idiocy of certain elements that – if we take them seriously – or worse yet – neutrally accept them – are the very items that leave us looking like a big bunch of ignorant flakes.

    laugh it up. unless you get roped in. then go ahead and lap it up.

    • assman

      if there was a way to disban you from the yoga community i wish i could. and you call yourself a yoga teacher? namaste.

      • JC

        assman: “disban you from the yoga community?” you joker, you. you can’t disban people from seeking union with their true self, after all this is the definition of yoga. don’t be such a bummer. the world has lots of opinions, including yours.

  • If you offer yoga classes (and free ones at that) you are part of the yoga community. Marketing doesn’t make you not part of the yoga community. I have no particular preference of yoga clothes…i have a pair of lulu pants that I got as a gift and they are fantastic, it’s out of my price range otherwise but I’d buy it if I could. The people who work in the store really help promote local studios (mine included) via facebook and word of mouth no matter if I buy the clothes or not. You can’t discount them as part of the yoga community because they have a high profit margin.

  • 🙂

  • Zorba Dravillas

    Ummm, “Lulu lemming offers free classes to the community” …how is it not obvious this is so they get you into their store to buy more merchandise? Merchandise that is fabricated under unregulated, cheap labor in other countries and out of public view ( a little disconcerting to me). And if your answer to that is “at least they have jobs” …doesn’t your bad touch feeling go off knowing you’re waltzing around in overpriced stretchy pants while some kid is scratching together enough money to buy a can of ham for his family with the money he was payed to make your “magic seaweed pants” (not an exaggeration). And let’s not forget the desensitization of North America and it’s need to buy and consume crap at a level that astounds all other countries numbers, even China where the people are literally stacked wall to wall. Oh, and this is all being done in the guise of an ancient practice and ritual used to promote health and well being. Yoga is not meant to be a community, that is just another silly term drummed up by people sitting around a table being payed a 100 dollars an hour to figure out how to make you feel “Part of the Yoga community” I would be embarrassed to even say I was part of any sort of community that gets my friends or sister to show their naked breasts for stretch pants. Shame. Lastly, The YMCA? Where do you get off? Although you pay for a cheap ass membership they DO teach yoga, and have a pool, youth at risk programs, weight rooms, and even counseling. Please do yourself the favor and look at this wonderfully put together collage of truth and forethought, and then look inside yourself and see if you remotely possess these qualities. If you do this you may realize the the true point of the piece. WELL DONE PEOPLE! :o) INDEED A POSITIVE MESSAGE TO BE SPREAD HERE!

  • Double Yawn

    “Ummm, “Lulu lemming offers free classes to the community” …how is it not obvious this is so they get you into their store to buy more merchandise?”

    In my area the free classes aren’t in the store. They’re at various yoga studios around our city, a different studio each month.

  • Double Yawn

    Also, I seem to have hit a nerve by mentioning the Y. I’m sorry that you misunderstood my tone; I was NOT criticizing the outreach efforts of the YMCA, which I agree are fantastic. I was saying that in my area FREE yoga classes are NOT available as part of those outreach efforts. (And I’m not talking about payment for a membership for which “cheap” is relative — remember, for some people $98 for yoga pants may be “cheap.” I’m talking about offering health and fitness learning opportunities to the community for free).

    Thus, Lulu, with their FREE monthly classes , is providing an outlet to yoga practice that people in our community would truly not have otherwise. Because, as I said, “even our local Y — often the source for that sort of outreach — hasn’t been able to provide that yet.”

    As for everything else, truly, to each his/her own. It’s great that the ad resonated so strongly with you. It didn’t for me. But I don’t feel a particular need to “look inside myself” simply because one person/group’s propaganda meant less to me than another’s.

    • Zorba Dravillas

      Down play my response as much as you like, however you like. (if it makes you feel better) They offer the free classes so you will by more shit. Simple. And yes, I am very passionate about excessive waste driven by money machines and marketing ploys that ultimately damage our worth as a society and individuals. It is part of the problem. If i thought i could do it without hurting anyone I would burn the one down in my city, along with a majority of the other stores. Done here because It will probably keep going, and obviously with no real prevail. cheerio. Double yawn, time for bed.

      • Double Yawn

        Thank you for stepping away. Your “where do you get off” and “time for bed” comments are pedantic and unnecessary and are adding nothing constructive to what has otherwise been a very interesting and even-toned discussion among adults.

        It’s unfortunate that you are unable to get your message across without resorting to bitter, grandiose rhetoric and tactics — you’re unlikely to effect much change when you come out slinging snark and treating anyone who disagrees with you even slightly as an immediate enemy.

        What you call passion comes forth as hostility. Burning stores down, or idle threats to do so, doesn’t demonstrate a reasonable person with reasonable concerns. It makes me think that you, not I, need to look inside yourself and see where all of this anger and hatred is coming from, especially when you’re lambasting thoughtful individuals here, rather than the source of your gripe, with your snide and hostile tone.

        In closing, I didn’t downplay your comment. I responded thoughtfully (just because you disagree doesn’t mean my input wasn’t valuable or thoughtful) to your points. But I’m only going to devote so much of my own energy to someone who seems to only want to pick a fight, not learn/educate/grow. You know nothing more about me than that I thought this spoof ad was a waste of time on the wrong target, so I’m simply not going to take your soul-searching directives to heart, particularly not when they come from such a hateful place. If that hostility is what makes YOU feel better, then so be it, but I’m not interested in feeding that.

  • Sam

    Hmmm tough call. Almost every brand develops in Asia and so to be competitive you almost have to. That being said, look at American Apparel, they did it here without having to use child slaves. Touchy subject but there are always both sides and its always easier looking from the outside to judge.


  • i think this article should advertise the great comments on this one!

    there’s a real back-and-forth, interesting as *%!! , and full of stuff i didn’t know about

    did i mention 90% of my yoga wear is still spill-over from clothes i use in jazzercise and zumba? 😉

  • annie

    lulu pants are expensive, until you consider how long they last, how comfortable and good looking they are and how their style stays for years. I bought lulu pants over 5 years ago that I wear, and wash, weekly and they still look and feel like new, holding their color and shape. The fabric looks as smooth and good as it did when I bought them brand new with no indication I won’t be still saying this in another 5 years, or 10. If I wear something weekly 500 times over that’s .05 cents per wearing. I’ve never gotten that kind of wear out of a pair of jeans or a pair of business slacks, which also cost about $100 on average, and they usually change styles often enough that they’re out of style anyway by then. As for the whole community thing, well, get your community needs met by your community, lululemon is a clothing store people…

  • Nadine

    I have been a longtime consumer activist and think that the ad was cute and loved the mouse-over feature. I could really care less about ‘branding’, labor practices and environmental policies concern me primarily. I mean, nobody’s nose is completely clean if you live in this culture, but it’s a matter of personal responsibility to use discernment as a consumer as much as possible – especially if you claim to be on the path of yoga. So ask yourself – is the illusion of a tight butt worth it? Is sporting a label worth it? There are responsible apparel companies who make quality items at a lower price, example : http://innerwaves.org/
    Ahimsa isn’t just applicable when it’s cute and convenient, and in this consumer culture, what we buy is one of the more practical ways we can exercise non-violence.

    • Double Yawn

      Nadine, thank you for posting the link to responsible apparel alternatives. I was just talking about this issue last night and I remarked that, while it is easy to find criticism of almost every accessible retailer, it’s far less often that I see positive commentary about acceptable alternatives.

      Company G, B, O has affordable clothing, but it’s cheaply made by underpaid, underage labor. Company AA uses domestic labor and pays a living wage, but their advertisements are extremely racy and objectifying. Company L is expensive and equates self-worth with wearing their brand name. Company T made political donations to anti-gay candidates. The list goes on.

      So I wondered about examples of companies, particularly in the apparel industry, who were “doing it right.” Thank you for providing that.

      • Nadine

        Inner Waves is just one company. It’s not hard to find brands that are made in the USA and promote a socially/environmentally conscious agenda. Patagonia, PrAna, Be Present, and of course American Apparel (of course I know people have issues with them) are just off the top of my head.
        If people want to shop at Lulu, that’s their deal. I have a lululemon shirt that I bought on discount at a studio I worked at, and I did have some shorts but sold them on ebay. I am just not that impressed with the product’s quality and think most of the designs are kind of tacky. Discovering that most of the merchandise is manufactured in China was the final nail in the coffin for me.

        Honestly, I don’t get the fascination.

        • Double Yawn

          Yes, I think the way I feel about American Apparel is how others feel about lululemon. More often than not my response to an American Apparel advertisement is “ew.” Sometimes it’s the clothing, sometimes it’s the fact that I had to search for the actual clothing among their porn-y ad style.

          But I do love PrAna and HardTail, for example; I think some might find their pricing similarly prohibitive to lulu’s, though. I think that’s a tough hurdle for most socially conscious retailers — fair trade, organic materials and living wages for domestic workers mean the final products are simply going to cost more than cheap sweatshop goods, but it can still be difficult for consumers to reconcile the idea that stretchy pants need to cost more than $20.

          For me, it’s just hard to spend $75 on something if I can’t see, feel, or try it on before I buy it.

          • with all due respect, Nadine, why should it be a problem if most of their merchandise is made in China? honestly, i’m baffled by that concern.

        • Lizbeth

          Why should Lululemon clothing be made in the USA? It’s a Canadian company. Do our people not deserve jobs? Do people in China not deserve jobs? The problem is not where it’s made, the problem is that employee and environmental protection is insufficient. US labour practices are also far from perfect -should I therefore say that all remaining manufacturing jobs there be transferred to Canada because we have higher minimum wages and more employee protections? Or would that merely be saying that my people deserve jobs more than yours, wrapped up in the guise of progressive values?

          • It’s not about the idea that foreigners don’t deserve jobs, it’s about the fact that companies outsource their jobs to countries where they don’t have to pay a living wage or obey child labor laws (or other labor laws that we have here). They can have their clothes made cheaply by people who may be working in unsafe sweatshop conditions for 12+ hours a day, but avoid the stigma that would develop if they were treating US workers in that way. And it’s deceptive, because companies like Lulu that cultivate an idealistic image know their customers hate the idea of supporting sweatshops.

            I think it’s a matter of degree, the US doesn’t have perfect labor laws itself, and companies certainly aren’t required to set up operations in the most expensive country. Moving US jobs to Canada would be a silly thing to do. But if a US company voluntarily paid its workers Canada-level wages and offered Canada-style benefits, that would be an admirable step. Saying “I did the bare minimum that was legal” is nothing for a company to boast about.

          • Nadine

            I’m coming back to this late and nobody will probably read it…but…

            Thank you Emily H. You summed it up nicely. Those are my thoughts exactly. I didn’t realize that it would have to be explained, as I assumed that most people were aware of the labor practices in China, Bangladesh, etc. I see companies who buy from sweatshops and then mark the prices up to ridiculous heights as taking advantage of the workers and I want no part of it. It’s out of RESPECT for workers worldwide that I choose to use my consumer power to keep my money out of the hands of companies that perpetuate such injustices. Sure – US labor practices are far from perfect, but elsewhere it’s pretty horrendous. I am saddened that my comments were misconstrued as some kind of anti-China pro-USA BullSh*t. Research the issue. You’ll see where I’m coming from.

  • funny parody that still has me laughing days later. It is crazy to have yoga pants more expensive than the GDP of Bangladesh, but what can one do except not buy their clothes? I’ve taught a free class at the place but never thought it was only about giving free yoga. After all, that’s what donation-based studios offer, but without the shopping. It’s all a long way from the traditional yoga though, I mean, there’s no mention of having to have the right clothes in the sacred texts, but that’s it in a nutshell. We’re convinced we need the “right” things before we can do something, wether it’s clothes, friends, lovers, qualifications…I like Osho’s advice. Sit down and shut up. Or Mr Jois’s…do your practice, all is coming. Hey, when’s the sale btw?

  • Whether it be Gap or Gucci, I don’t understand the submission we have made as consumers; we continually buy products that come either in bags that advertise for them or buy bags that advertise for them directly. I’ve never liked Lululemon’s packaging, but they do make the only yoga pants I’ve found that fit well, and last for a very, very long time, 2+years. Every other brand I’ve tried is not that durable.

    I like what you brought up Nadine when you said,
    “Ahimsa isn’t just applicable when it’s cute and convenient, and in this consumer culture, what we buy is one of the more practical ways we can exercise non-violence.” I’m going to check out the website you mentioned innerwaves.org.

    Ahimsa has always been an incredibly interesting topic to me; the yoga community I find no different than any other community in that there are some having very thoughtful conversations, and thinking on a global level, and there are some who just look blindly for someone else to provide the answer, and it’s the 2nd half that end up making most of their decisions based on consumer culture, mass media, etc…

  • I do not think that marketing Yoga is a good thing.

  • L.A.

    This is great! I’m flat out anti lulu-mainly because everything about them is pretty ridiculous. Their “Luon” is glorified cotton spandex. Dancers (like me) have been wearing this type of material for years! It’s nothing new, so I have a tough time justifying buying pants at double the price a similar pair would be in a dance shop.

    Yogi-A writes
    “The price tag on their things are pretty steep for most markets, but one also has to look at the fact that it’s based out of Vancouver, and most things in Van are expensive…If people are willing to speed a couple thousand dollars on a bag, they *can* spend $100 on a pair of pants…I’m not saying that it’s just for them to charge that price for stuff, but it’s the market in Vancouver BC Canada…If they reduce it for other markets, then their local community will just stop buying them locally and go else which (which is what happened for a long period of times when they were cheaper state-side.)”

    News flash dude-people in Vancouver CAN’T/ aren’t willing to afford these clothes. The Lower Mainland is one of the most expensive places to live in Canada/North America with the lowest minimum wage in Canada. Sure there are some folks (West Van, Shaugnessy) that can afford,make the choice to afford these clothes but you’re making a pretty big generliazation when you’re saying their product pricing is based on their home market. They’re selling you on the idea of life changing clothing-plain and simple. The pricing is definitely NOT a reflection of Vancouver.

  • Kristy

    Quick tip for those who like Lulu’s pants but don’t want to pay $98 for them: You can find a knockoff at Target for $36 under the C9 Premium label. Reversible, 4-way stretch. I’ve got 3 pairs….they’re great!!

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