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Does Lululemon Discriminate Against Plus-Size Women?
If you are willing to pay $100 for a pair of yoga pants, you probably care something both about yoga and your image. Could you also be plus size? Perhaps, but Lululemon has found it doesn’t sell much to plus sizes, and thus has deemphasized its plus-size selection. That does not however stop media watch guards who harass the company for being the same as Abercrombie and Fitch. It is insinuated from the likes of Elizabeth Licorish, who spoke with Huffington Post, that the company isn’t doing enough to encourage the 10s and 12s, that such merchandise is left clumped and unfolded under the table.
“All the other merchandise in the store was kind of sacred, but these were thrown in a heap,” said Licorish to Huffington Post. “It was definitely discriminatory to those who wear larger sizes.”
Or perhaps they emphasized the products they actually sold? Nothing as Machiavellian as Abercrombie and Fitche’s vow not to sell to plus size women need be at work.
“There was sort of a grumpy response to people who weren’t familiar with the brand,” said Licorish of plus-sized shoppers. “Moms would come in with their daughters, look around and say, ‘Clearly I can’t shop here.’” But Lululemon sells so few of such sizes that it would not be profitable to make the space for it.
“We didn’t want it to look sparse,” she also said, saying the 12s tended to gather dust. “They just sit in the store and you sell them like once every six months.” The plus sizes actually use 30 percent more fabric, but in an interview with Calgary Herald, the founder of the story, says they wouldn’t think of charging more for them, considering plus-sizers are sensitive.
“It’s a money loser, for sure,” he told Calgary Herald. “I understand their plight, but it’s tough.”
Nevertheless, some consumers think they should offer just as many products to plus-sizers, though they sell considerably less, and this, apparently, just to be nice. Cordelia Storm, a coach of a nonprofit parkour gym in Seattle has made a petition on Change.org in this direction. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if Lululemon took an active stand in showing women of all sizes being athletic?” the petition asked, demanding the company support “fitness at any size.”
“They’re basically saying, ‘To be healthy, to do yoga, to be a part of this manifesto, you have to look like this,’” claimed Storm.
The cultish nature of the Lululemon brand involves a lifestyle vision they call the Lululemon Manifesto, that advices buyers to “do one thing a day that scares you,” and use goals to “trigger your subconscious computer.”
Why some consumers need a built in religion or ideology into the paraphernalia they buy, or why they pay exorbitant fees for some miscellaneous bit of yoga wear, would require psychological insight. Better to wear rags, so long as the yoga is approached devotedly – at least that’s how many of the practice’s initial adherents felt. But as for making a broader selection targeting people who don’t even buy their product, this is just consumers’ will to power and self-righteous activism.