We took a critical side eye to the ginormous yoga clothing commercial that happened last week in Central Park. We took issue with the unabashed marketing saturated in white (or white light, depending on which side of the yellow branded mat you’re standing on) with no clear message besides that of the sponsors. But, indeed, we have to share that something good did come out of all of this.
Earlier this week, we learned that Yoga Foster, a worthy non-profit org bringing free yoga programs to NYC schools, had a table at the Lole White Tour event in Central Park that drew 10,000 properly-outfitted yoga practitioners. Yoga Foster often holds mat drives to collect donated mats for their growing programs. On the day of the event they were able to collect 300 mats from yogis eager to help, or not have to carry yet another yoga mat around town (either way it’s good for YF). Because of this, fifteen more classrooms in NYC will get free mats to practice on.
Here’s the message posted to Yoga Foster’s facebook page:
A major thanks to the hundreds of people that stopped by our booth to donate their mat at the Lole White Tour in Central Park Wednesday night. Thanks to you, fifteen more classrooms in NYC will receive their own sets of yoga mats to practice on when school starts next week.
On average, each yogi owns four yoga mats, many of which end up getting thrown away – having harmful effects on the environment. Give your old mat a new home through our mat drives, and support yoga in schools: yogafoster.org/mat-drive
Yoga Foster founder Nicole Cardoza told us in email that the Lole table was also donating a portion of their sales to the organization which was a nice gesture. We inquired with her about whether or not Lole had mentioned that mats could be donated since we hadn’t see anything about it shared via the promotional materials or in the Lole social media marketing. We’re waiting to hear back. The 300 mats is a killer haul, but imagine if the Lole people got their heads out of their peace mission for a second? You’d think they would. All those Lole mats in schools? Even more free advertising. Start ’em young.
Lole presents themselves to be all about peace and love which is fine and whatever. Everyone needs a little (or a lot) of peace and love, but their philosophies are sounding increasingly familiar to another L’d yoga brand that’s fallen off the deep end. If you haven’t been keeping up with the Lole message, you may find this interview with Bernard Mariette, president and CEO of Coalision (parent company of Lole), to be en-whitening. For example, they are obsessed with purity and aesthetic.
A few snippets:
Lolë is a lifestyle brand, which means clearly we want to [practice] what we preach. We believe that yoga is a very strong way of living, not only physically, but mentally. So we wanted to promote this. Lolë is also about design, style and something pure, so we also wanted this event to be really clean and aesthetic. This is why we have [everyone wearing white] and the yellow mats everywhere. It’s very calm and peaceful because of the colours and of the unity between each other.
It’s not a luxury brand, but it is an expensive brand. As long as we promote the lifestyle, well being, meditation and yoga, then plenty of women will be touched by this lifestyle.
We’re spending tons of money on [The White Tour] and up to now we’ve spent very little on traditional advertising. But we are at the point now where we have to make people realize that we also sell clothes.
They’re like a mini Lulu. It’s almost cute. They’re also Canadian (Montreal). Hm.
You can hardly fault a non-profit organization like Yoga Foster for taking advantage of the benefits handed down from a corporate entity. Coca-Cola gives away lots of money every year, too. Are we to be mad at the receiver of these benefits? But we understand that Coca-Cola is a corporation and we know what they’re selling no matter how they advertise to us. We know it’s sticky sugar water. With yoga brands, it gets a little muddy, or in this case, we may be too easily blinded by the white.
We’re not the only ones skeptical. Here’s an interesting recap of the Central Park event.
So glad that a white benevolent large corporate yoga co-opter is helping a small non-profit yoga co-opter. I’m sure all the Sudanese refugees are benefiting plenty from all of this.
Glad the “recap” link was provided. The lead picture of that article portrays a diversity of participants. Seems as though the Lole sponsored event accomplished what the yoga community often falls short of accomplishing. They should be congratulated rather than derided for their efforts.
if a company does not say where and how, under what conditions their product is made, the lifestyle promoted is one for ignorance, torture/sorrow, hatred, all the rest. stay asleep, hungry!
While I agree with the sentiment presented in both your original article and this one focused on Yoga Foster, please refrain from the Canuck shaming: “They’re also Canadian (Montreal). Hm.” I’m a proud Canadian yogi, and I’m confident that you don’t think we’re all bad.
I was at the event in Central Park and they DID make two announcements asking people to donate their mats on their way out if they didn’t need it. The whole event was so peaceful and quiet that there’s no way anyone could have missed these announcements.
I also would add that the staff running the event were really nice and the whole thing was a great experience. I had no intention of buying new yoga clothes, and like many others I saw there, I definitely did NOT wear white yoga pants, and yet I felt welcomed and no one gave anyone a hard time about it.