The Dalai Lama aligning with yoga might not be too shocking, but teaming up with Lululemon? We’re not making this up and it’s not April. Lululemon and the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education are partnering to “promote mindfulness…to foster heart-mind wellbeing in children and youth.”
Heart-mind well-being refers to “creating a balance between educating the mind and educating the heart” by encouraging children to develop social and emotional skills, as per the description on the Dalai Lama Center’s website. Thanks to this new partnership with Lululemon and the 250,000 Canadian dollars ($221,900) they’ll provide annually for the next three years (that’s almost a quarter of a million dollars every year), the center’s heart-mind education initiative can be expanded and further research can be done on the connection between the heart and mind, so that more kids will be more mindful, compassionate and able to resolve conflicts more peacefully, for example. Something Lululemon could learn from? Maybe if there’s a part about conscious and mindful marketing?
Both sides have made statements and are quite happy about the partnership, apparently. Via the NY Post:
“In our 16 years working through our stores and communities, we have learned the positive impact created when athletes, yogis, and leaders leverage the connection between the heart, mind and body,” the company’s CEO Laurent Potdevin said in a statement. “Together with the Dalai Lama Center we have a unique opportunity to further inspire a compassionate, mindful generation.”
A spokeswoman for the Dalai Lama Center told the Daily News that the partnership is “about looking forward and about expanding ‘the village’ that it takes to raise generations of compassionate, kind, and resilient children by creating adequate supports around them.”
However, many people are not pleased about the news and have shown it via the Dalai Lama Center’s facebook page where the announcement was made on Tuesday. Pointing to Lululemon’s exclusionary and expensive luxury brand, their recurring quality issues, plus Chip Wilson’s lack of good judgement and ironic lack of compassion towards women’s bodies, commenters are rather flabbergasted and frankly disappointed to hear about the partnership.
“Being a plus size woman, I never cared that I couldn’t buy Lululemon clothing. However, in the recent past, the company has shown its inability to be compassionate and caring towards all people,” said one commenter.
Another commenter added that she’s “…not sure I believe that the purpose of the Dalai Lama and corporate marketing should ever go hand in hand.”
To which the Dalai Lama Center replied: “Dear Danielle, our partnership with lululemon that was announced yesterday at the Heart-Mind Summit in Vancouver is about looking forward and about expanding “the village” that it takes to raise generations of compassionate, kind, and resilient children by creating adequate supports around them. We’re both based in Vancouver and we both share a vision for building stronger, healthier communities. The partnership is rooted in research on Heart-Mind education and luluelmon [sic] will help us expand our global reach.”
But people are not convinced of the “ill-advised” partnership and have taken to the lulu blog announcement as well to voice their opinions. Echoing disapproval, commenters call the collaboration “a shame” and “bizarre.”
This comment by Valerie draws attention to the potential conflict of interest and Lululemon’s remarkable ability to keep screwing up in the public’s eye:
To the folks at Lululemon,
There are some things in this world which should remain non-brandeable.
There are still some things in this world which remain sacred to many people.
It is offensive that you have sunk to low as to use the Dalai Lama and his image as part of your branding. How dare you.
There are people in this world who have suffered and some died for their beliefs in the practices and philosophies that the Dalai Lama embodies. His image is sacred to them and you have the audacity to post this on the same page where you brand your tights and tanks and yoga wear.
Shame on you.
I had thought you wouldn’t be able to tarnish your image any further or find new lows…but you seem to have developed a remarkable corporate talent for that.
Meanwhile, lulu fans are upset over the connection to the Dalai Lama’s activism and politics. As Nichole put it: “To be honest, I’m very disgusted by it right now. I even feel I should get rid of all the labels from my LLL’s clothes. I’m neutral on politics and I’m not on either side. If you put such a politically sensitive person to be your soul leader, then I’ll leave.”
Those lulus. Honestly. It seems they just don’t know what to do with themselves. Unfortunately, taking a corporate “time out” doesn’t go over so well with the shareholders, though that’s probably the only and best thing they could possibly do right now.
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