elephant journal reviews: Blue Canoe Organic.

Via Pam Uhlenkamp
on Feb 24, 2010
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Blue Canoe logo

Blue Canoe:

I fell in love with Blue Canoe a few years ago at the Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park. I bought a couple pieces, in classic blue, at a discount…and ended up wearing them all the time. Years later, believe it or not, they are still…blue! And the fabric is still like new. I love the feel of the amazingly soft cotton and the look of the styles on my body type.

At this year’s yoga conference, I met up with down-to-earth owner Laurie Dunlap and told her that my goal in life is to “wear yoga clothes every day.” Happily, I found that her new (and old) styles encompass not only extremely comfortable yoga wear but also a few pieces so stylish you could sport them at a business meeting (see her new Button Pant and Jacket on her website). You can also find flattering, cute dresses that are either casual or dressy.

Not only is every piece made in the USA, each is made of organic cotton, and has been since the company began 14 years ago. Laurie started as a one-person shop in Humbolt County, Northern California. Where did the name come from? By the lake she lived on, Laurie saw a row of green fiberglass canoes…and one wooden canoe painted blue. That idea sums up the business philosophy: unique, authentic and committed to keeping things on US soil.

From the beginning, Blue Canoe was known for its “un-granola” styles; it was the pioneer of fashionable organic clothing. The office still sits in the redwoods looking onto the lake, but the styles are as hip as urban San Francisco, where all the clothes are made. It is officially the longest-running successful organic cotton company around.

And, exciting news: Blue Canoe now features a new line of sustainable bamboo clothing. Think super soft underwear made of bamboo and cotton…it makes you want to throw out your old ones and replace them all (but don’t, wouldn’t be very eco-responsible now, would it?). Reminiscent of Laurie’s first designs of a swimsuit (all she wanted while she played volleyball or bodysurfed), they have just enough spandex for gentle support, plus are naturally breathable and don’t retain odors.

A couple of tops have gone with me on every one of my world travels:

1) In the Sheer Halter top, I can look sexy and still keep from “falling out” in a yoga class.

2) In the Strappy top, I’ve gotten tons of compliments on the flattering criss-crossing straps in back, plus it keeps me cool.

Now I’m adding on to my collection with:

1) The Metro Zip Up—I think it would fit in just great in London or Barcelona.

2) The Wrap top that I can go to “work” in….and then go out in.


You can sign up for the monthly email newsletter, Blue CaNews, at www.bluecanoe.com



About Pam Uhlenkamp

Pam Uhlenkamp has been the graphic designer for elephant journal since pretty much day one. She cornered Waylon at his infamous Trident coffeeshop hangout one day and the rest is history. Blogging for elephant about natural health topics, she is also a certified herbalist formally at Pharmaca and now with John Douillard's Lifespa.


20 Responses to “elephant journal reviews: Blue Canoe Organic.”

  1. Lainie says:

    Finally – elephant is paying some attention to a yoga clothing company with real history and true integrity, instead of being the chief apologists for American Apparel. Blue Canoe is wonderful. Thank you.

  2. Laurie Dunlap says:

    Hi Pam-
    It's wonderful to be appreciated! I'm so glad you enjoy our clothes – and tell others about Blue Canoe. A personal testimonial means more that dollars spent on marketing campaigns!
    Thanks much,

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Thanks for your backhanded compliment. Where were you when I attacked AA in my last post, and got savaged by AA fans, Lainie?

  4. Not to us, it doesn't! Media—and articles like this—only exists with community support.

    That said, we're genuine longtime fans, love your style, fun and particularly your pioneering eco-responsibility.

  5. True, true. That said, rather glass-half-empty. What do you regard as free of bullshit? Don't confuse Blue Canoe with bigger yoga brands—they're doing it right and have been doing so for many years.

  6. Sarah says:

    Hmm… BKS Iyengar is sure huffy and puffy… but I guess at his age it's ok to be that way… 😉

    I love Blue Canoe tops… I pair them with my Shining Shakti pants which my friends Cathy and Rachel make and they are the best yoga pants in the nation! Here's the link Waylon:



  7. Happy to review, have 'em email us. Thanks!

  8. BKS Iyengar says:

    You are truly the most talented, beloved temple dancer on planet earth. And all it took was some Shining Shakti® pants!

  9. helen says:

    those photos are kinda crap, why , if one cannot see the neckline or hemline of many of the garments.
    ps, mr bks Iyengar , love your comments, it does become ridiculous.

  10. BKS Iyengar says:

    To anybody who disagrees with what I said, just shut up and focus on your breath.

  11. kavika_ali says:

    http://www.alibytes.com/?p=710 – see #8… no "workout clothes" necessary in India… from friend's blog post, I can't take credit, though I wish I was in India right now!

  12. Christian Griffith walks his talk with Verve, we've talked lots about it (that said, he always owns three cars at a time, it seems). Blue Canoe is a small, eco-mindful company similar to Verve, and actually more eco-responsible. I don't think reality is found in suburbs outside of Boulder. I think reality is find 10 minutes above Boulder, where all you can hear is…as you put it, your breath!

  13. Thanks, Helen, seems negativity is contagious! Luckily, I'm healthy.

    Next time you call something "crap," try clicking the images first—then you'll see the full neckline and photo. They're from the Blue Canoe site.


  14. Heather says:

    I think the clothing you choose is an important extension of a yogic life. I would rather wear pretty clothing connected to the concept of yoga, sustainability (including fewer pesticides in our world), health, physical freedom, and comfort than something else. It is no secret that we pay more for organic products in our mission to decrease the cost on human lives and the land where the cotton or other crop is grown. Only women who have enough money can afford to do this or women who will sacrifice other things in life in order to align their money with their values. This is a good and admirable thing. I like supporting a woman owned business. The women who invest their money in products such as Blue Canoe clothes are using their money very respectably. I suggest less judgement of others choices and more self-awareness. Faux moralism and ignorant self-righteousness are not pretty. (I have no Blue Canoe affiliation other than liking their products.)

  15. shakti says:

    awww guys. its just clothes. organic too, thats cool yeah? what matters most is the yoga right? together in peace? see you at pratice and maybe chill after–namaste, your fellow yogi shakti from sf (where this expensive yoga stuff is made)

  16. shakti says:

    gosh bks iyengar you are the classic "intense" yogi as described in the yogasutra, and this is why your yoga system is the one i practice most. rock on dude…hope to meet you in pune sometime this year man 🙂

  17. BKS Iyengar says:

    shakti, perhaps I'll speak with you in India, or in "American Tibet" as I call these Rocky Mountains. For further dialogue, contact me at [email protected] . thanks to the elephant journal and to all discussion participants. hopefully my murderous critiques were not too heavy-handed.

  18. shakti says:

    oh you definitely have that light touch that we iyengar yogi are known for 😉

  19. […] just a little more than a little…if they got half as eco-responsible as, say, prAna, Blue Canoe or Patagonia, they would become my fave company in the world. Why? ‘Cause they’re huge, […]

  20. yoga says:

    I disagree with all GOOD opinions about Blue Canoe Clothing. Just recently I purchased yoga pants and some new tops and was disappointed with the high price/low quality. Their items were really good a few years ago and I still have them and wear them every day. It is sad when companies like this become famous because of the good quality products and then they start making less quality items. I feel like people just want to make money.