The Real Reason I Won’t Buy Lululemon.

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Relephant: In Defense of Lululemon’s CEO, Chip Wilson.

It seems that everyone has an opinion about Lululemon these days.

That’s hardly surprising since the founder, Chip Wilson, just cannot seem to open his mouth without firmly planting his foot in it.  (In just the past few weeks alone, he’s made comments blaming fat women and the friction of their thighs for the infamous see-through pants scandal and even suggested that high-power career women were to blame for the increased rates of breast cancer. Or something like that—their affinity for smoking and taking the pill, both?)

You really couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

Still, whether it’s the intention or not, all this is generating tons of publicity for Lululemon. Love ’em or hate ’em, even the company’s harshest critics have to admit that their success and association with yoga is nothing short of astounding. The company was only founded in 1998.

Despite a rough economy, Lululemon, until recently that is, have continued to make a lot of money. While I have no idea about all the factors that contribute to its success, there is no doubt that “snob appeal” plays a huge role in it. Wearing a pair of $98 yoga pants sends a clear message: I have enough disposable income to spend on such things.

I first learned about Lululemon about five or six years ago. I noticed several women in various group yoga classes wearing tanks and pants sporting that distinctive logo. I had no idea what it meant or what brand it was, but I noticed that more people were showing up in those clothes.

During teacher training, one of the most memorable conversations we had involved Lululemon clothing. To this day, I can clearly recall the joy and excitement many of my fellow trainees expressed over the fact that a Lululemon store was opening up in town.

As expected the store did well, and I was among the many people who plunked down $98 or more for its yoga pants and other items.

I freely admit that I felt like one of the cool kids in my Lululemon gear. It didn’t matter if those around me noticed that I was wearing it or not: I knew I was and I felt like a member of a clique. (Plus, I was now a certified yoga teacher to boot.)

However, my trips to the local Lululemon shop became fewer and fewer. Simply put, the stuff was not wearing well. After about six months or so, I noticed that my Lululemon tanks and pants were pilling. In a moment of complete honesty, I laid my Lululemon gear next to some other yoga clothes that, for all I know, may have been made in the same Asian sweatshop as the Lululemon gear, and I noticed no difference at all between them except the logo. Truth be told, some of the latter items actually looked a lot better despite being several years old.

Furthermore, after reading about the clothing industry and educating myself about the plight of clothing workers in developing countries, I could not in good conscious justify paying the over-inflated prices for stuff that I knew was made in a sweatshop.

It also did not help matters that I discovered in my research that unlike some other companies who claim ignorance over the conditions of their factories especially when it comes to the use of child labor, Wilson not only acknowledged in 2005 that they knew but even justified it, saying that they were actually helping poor Asian families and many of them wanted to work up to 16 hours a day.

The idea that perhaps these workers might actually be better off doing something besides sewing their clothing never seemed to cross Wilson’s mind.

In a nutshell, the combination of shoddy workmanship and poor working conditions of its workers was the reason that I stopped buying from there.

To me, that is even more outrageous then all the comments Wilson has made over the years.

While I doubt Lululemon executives are ever going to ask me for my opinion, I am still going to offer: while apologizing for comments by Wilson is the right thing to do, if you want to make amends, how about manufacturing your clothes in Canada or some other first world place with standards, and focus more on the quality?

Likewise, to all those who are rightfully appalled by Wilson’s comments and vow not to buy from Lululemon take a look where your other yoga clothes are manufactured. Just because a rival’s company’s founder does not make boneheaded statements in public does not necessarily mean its products are any better either, as far as quality or manufacturing practices go.

Lastly, lest anyone thinks I am jumping on the bandwagon and kicking Lululemon while it’s down, that is not my goal. Rather, my hope is that people look past the outrageous comments of its founder and look at the products they are selling.

While it’s ultimately up to an individual if they wish to buy products from Lululemon or not, it’s just as important to look at what they are buying and the conditions under which they are being made.

While my newest yoga pants may lack a logo or a clever name, they do give me something that is far more rewarding: the peace of mind of knowing they were manufactured in decent working conditions and enough money left over to pay for some yoga classes.

Keep your clique. I’m choosing to opt out of it.


Chip Wilson, Founder of lululemon, Apologizes. [Video]

Say No to Lululemon! 

Why I Don’t Hate Lululemon.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Clothes. 

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 Editor: Catherine Monkman

{Photo: Wikimedia Commons.}

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anonymous Jan 31, 2016 10:31am

Great article, I think that we have to be conscious of what we buy and how it is made. We can't "achieve inner peace" practicing yoga while we obviate how unjustly the clothes we are using have being made.

Together with my wife we have just started a small fair yoga wear line called JUSTA. Our goal is to give fair wages to the tailors and fair prices to the costumers. We are not driven by economic goals but to improve life quality for those who work for us at least. We won't get big, we won't become rich, but we will at least have a clear conscience 🙂

anonymous Jan 21, 2016 5:26pm

The clothing industry has a long way to go in terms of sourcing, product production, and abiding by fair trade laws.

That said, pilling of any synthetic fabrics (Nylon, Spandex, Lyrca) is a direct result of washing the fabric with cottons, denim, or fabric softener. If you mix the fabrics in the wash, then put them on hot in the dryer, your black pants will pick up the cotton fibers just as they’d pick up white cat hair. Most Lululemon product (and competitor brands with similar fabrics) require cold, gentle wash and a tumble on low to dry or hang dry. The product is designed to last 5 years with proper care, information about which you’ll find on the company’s website.

anonymous Oct 25, 2015 3:58pm

Well written.Appreciable.Totally agree with you.Thanks for share about it.

anonymous Oct 25, 2015 3:57pm

Agree with you!

anonymous Oct 24, 2015 9:17am

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anonymous Jan 21, 2015 9:51am

Great article– this illuminates some of the dirty little secrets of the fashion industry. I want to point out that at least one thing is more complex than it appears on the surface. I think it is just (and mentally healthy) to react negatively to Chip Wilson's statements regarding "that they were actually helping poor Asian families and many of them wanted to work up to 16 hours a day." The working conditions are poor, the pay outrageously low–and sadly may be the only jobs available. Then when we boycott the products they make, the laborers lose what is often the only crappy job available to them, and while our consciences may be salved, their plight is now even worse than it was before. I am not saying it's right, I am not saying don't boycott (lousy quality at a high price is ridiculous), I am only saying that it is a complicated issue played out in many countries for decades. Even crazier, paying a better wage would create a host of different plights–if the workers themselves even saw a nickel of it.
Why can't human beings just be decent and fair? I don't have the wisdom to fix the problems, but the obvious would go a long way.

anonymous Nov 18, 2013 8:10am

Inspired by your article, I wrote one about alternatives to lulu… check it out!!

    anonymous Nov 18, 2013 9:19am

    Very cool! I am flattered to have inspired you!

anonymous Nov 17, 2013 7:32pm

I am in no way condoning the use of sweatshops. Nor am I in any way justifying any of what LLL does. But as someone who works in the textiles industry (and LLL happens to be a client of mine) there are two points that I think are being missed.

1) Manufacturing in Canada would be fantastic, I am all for local production, it's good for your country, and it's even better for your economy. Know what's it's not good for? Quality. Despite the fact that manufacturing in Asia is cheaper. It's better quality. They have better technology and better technicians. And in performance textiles, trust me, that makes a difference. In other apparel markets (other than performance) pushing for local production is definitely something that I would get behind.

2) Price of LLL, yes many people have claimed that their leggings from Target are wearing just as well as their luons. And I don't believe that for a second. Luon is a technologically superior material. Compression, wicking, anti-bacterial…all this makes a difference. These materials have performance in mind right from the very beginning. Yes, you're paying for a brand. But you're also paying for the technology. You're also putting money into a company that is fostering innovation in performance textiles. They are pushing the industry forward. If you don't want to support LLL then support companies like Patagonia, Columbia, Under Armour, or even Puma, who in this industry are all seen as innovators.

In saying that, I agree with a lot of what people are saying. I just think that this side of the coin needs to be looked at too.

    anonymous Nov 18, 2013 8:48am

    "Despite the fact that manufacturing in Asia is cheaper. It's better quality. They have better technology and better technicians."

    I just want to point out that the above statement is not necessarily true. Yes, SOME of the manufacturing in Asia-esp. China-is home to factories with better technology and technicians, but not all are. The same can be said for SOME of the manufacturing in the US, the EU, and other companies. (I've referenced this book a lot on here, but again, "Overdressed" by Elizabeth Cline addresses these very issues.) Just because a factory is in Asia does not mean it has the best technology. In fact, the vast majority in, say, China do not.

    BTW, nearly all this better technology is coming from the developed world and being sent to developing countries in Asia. It's not the other way around.

    Secondly, has it ever been proven by independent, third parties that Luon is a superior material? lululemon may say it is, but that does not necessarily make it so.

    Plus, I would advise people to do some research on the chemicals that goes into a lot of these "performance" fabrics and the possible risks they have to human and environmental health.

    I am not trying to be an alarmist-just want to point out that these innovative materials do not automatically equal better.

    Plus, one could argue at the end of the day, we are talking about yoga wear-not space suits. All clothes wear out eventually and more often than not, they end up in landfills.

    anonymous Nov 18, 2013 9:15am

    One more thing I wanted to add, the irony that so many associate lululemon with yoga is not lost on me. For centuries, people practiced yoga in cotton loincloths. The goal is not to be the best at postures. In fact, yoga is not about the poses at all. The majority of people who are buying these products with all their "technologically advanced" bells and whistles are not pro athletes. No one actually needs this to practice yoga. Plus, at the risk of repeating myself, mastering asana isn't even the point of yoga.

    However, for argument's sake, let's say it is and we are talking about professional athletes. Is this technology worth it if it means that the people making these items are working up to 16 hours a day for very little money often times in unsafe working conditions?

    Everyone has different priorities, but I can honestly say that the conditions that my clothing were made under matter more to me than, say, if I can wear them for two hours or more after a practice not have to worry if they stink.

    Lastly, FWIW, I have noticed that my own lululemon stuff has not held up that well. I teach and practice yoga up to 5-6 a week, so I am in yoga clothing a lot.

      anonymous Nov 18, 2013 7:11pm

      I completely agree with you when you say that there are also great facilities in America and in Europe. But the sad thing is that is where money comes in. LLL is a Wall St company after all, and now it's about profit margins. You're also correct about the technology coming from other parts of the world, some of the most exciting innovations are coming from Europe. The seacell in Vitasea is from Germany and the same company has exciting developments using Zinc Oxide.

      Luon does everything it says it does. It is manufactured by Eclat in Taiwan and they have EXTENSIVE testing on all their products. I do know that test results by Eclat, LLL, and also a third party all exist but it does in fact seem odd to me that LLL (a company who talks about educating the consumer) don't at least make these results available to the consumer, if they have nothing to hide (and they may well have something to hide) then at least it will silence the naysayers. If Luon did not do what it says it does, LLL would not be paying as much for it as they are, and Luon is their biggest range of fabric…they wouldn't put all their eggs in a faulty basket, although these recent pilling and sheer issues may beg to differ.

      What you say about chemicals in synthetics is very interesting. I believe you do have cause to be alarmed, it can get pretty nasty and of course that information can be very difficult to find. But do know that not ALL synthetics are awful. A lot of companies out there are really pushing for change and for closed loop production and change is happening. It is happening slower than it should but all the top sports brands are all pushing hard for change (without dramatically affecting their profit margins of course…)

      Please also keep in mind I do agree with everything that is being written here and I'm not saying LLL is perfect. In fact I own very few pieces of LLL, there are other brands out there whose vision I believe in more and I choose to support them over LLL.

        anonymous Nov 22, 2013 4:58pm

        No, not all synthetics are bad. However, some chemicals used in clothing-esp. those in sports clothing and performance gear is-are suspected to be endocrine disruptors. There is growing body of research out there for anyone who is interested.

        I suppose for me the bigger issue is much "performance wear" is really necessary for yoga. As I pointed out, we aren't talking about Olympic athletes here. We are talking about a practice which was traditionally done in men in cotton loincloths.

        Also, I still think believe very firmly that even if we were talking about Olympic athletes, some things are more important than clothing that can supposedly increase performance esp. when you are talking about people sewing these things in poor working conditions.

        In the end, as someone who has been in the yoga community for over a decade, I believe the real reason people plunk $98 on lululemon yoga pants is because of snob appeal. I really do. Ironically, many of the people I see in head to toe lululemon are not even regular practitioners. Other than the once a week or less yoga class, that performance gear is mainly being worn on trips to the supermarket, the coffee shop, etc. before or after class. Just an honest observation.

anonymous Nov 17, 2013 3:08pm

Where did you learn that lululemon has poor working conditions in factories? Did you ask someone at lululemon about this before posting? Where are their products made?

    anonymous Nov 17, 2013 5:32pm

    The majority of lululemon's products are manufactured overseas including India, China and Vietnam. Wilson claimed in 2005 that he personally inspected at least some of these places in China but to the best of my knowledge, there were never independent audits in place. He can claim all he wants to, but I take this with a huge heaping of salt without independent audits.

    You can do the research on the majority of the places yourself if you wish, but I would bet every penny that I have that these places are like the majority of sweatshops in Asia and in most developing countries: they pay poorly, employ mostly young women and girls who probably work well over 8 hours a day.

    BTW, here is a quote from Wilson:' "In China, many people come from the western provinces and their goal is to work seven days a week 16 hours a day, because in five years they want to have a pile of money to go home with and start a business."

    'Wilson sees a similar situation in Canada.

    "In Canada for instance, 99 per cent of our factory workers are Chinese women sewers. If you were to work them eight-hour days, they will be mad at you. If you only work them five days a week for only eight hours, they'll say, 'What are you doing? I don't want to work for you.' If you do only work them that much, they walk out of their shift at 4 o'clock and walk across the street to another factory and work another six hours. This is in Vancouver, in Canada." '

    Here's a link BTW the full piece:

    Here's a link to him defending the use of child labor:

    It's my opinion of course, but I think expecting workers to work up to 16 hours a day classifies as poor working conditions.

anonymous Nov 17, 2013 7:51am

Please keep in mind that the other options for uneducated women in Bangladesh are often working 16 hour days in the fields or prostitution. Saying that they would prefer to work somewhere else is an assumption based on developed country standards. As hard as it is to accept, sweatshops help countries develop and help women feed their children. Boycotts only hurt the workers. A better strategy is to advocate for better working conditions.

    anonymous Nov 17, 2013 12:38pm

    If you haven't done so, I suggest read Elizabeth Cline's "Overdressed". The fact is even compared to other industries in developing countries, sweatshops tend to pay the least. (As awful as they can be, these workers would be better off assembling phones.) Then there is the huge environmental impact. This argument that boycotts or buying fair trade clothing only hurts the worker is simply not true. Please do the research if you do not believe me. It's out there.

    Edited to add: BTW, I'm unaware if lululemon has it's stuff made in Bangladesh. Most is made in Vietnam and China and the irony is, there are fair trade, regulated clothing factories to be found in both of those countries. However, lululemon is a company that does not contract with them.

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 10:57pm

I love these clothes. As a yoga teacher and someone who has been sponsored by many clothing brands, I will continue to wear the clothing because from my experience it is the best out there. sorry people but get off the whole anti-lululemon thing -its silly. nothing is perfect….

    anonymous Nov 17, 2013 12:41pm

    If you wish to buy and wear lululemon clothing then that is your choice. However, for you to claim that the legitimate concerns I and others have over their production methods is "silly" shows a lack of knowledge on this topic. Again, if you wish to buy and wear the clothing despite knowing how it is produced, then go for it. Still, there are many out there that would rather take buy products that are made under ethical conditions by workers who are treated decently. Customers have the right to know this.

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 8:58pm

I was unaware that Lululemon used sweatshop labor to produce their clothing, that bothers me greatly. Yet, I am not surprised.

I ran into quite a bit of Lululemon staff at The Landmark Forum, which Chip encourages, if not requires, staff to go to. While I found some of the material presented at the seminar useful, what was most apparent was my dollars were important to The Landmark Forum, as are the dollars of my friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances.

Lululemon was mentioned many times as a “success story” at The Landmark Forum and as a client of their corporate division. The Landmark Forum is one of the most efficient money-making processes and schemes I have ever witnessed. $525 for the initial seminar and then The Advanced Course to finish what was started, for an additional $875. To complete the curriculum, the Self Expression and Leadership course is recommended for $225. And of course, they have on-going seminars and other programs they continually offer.

I have little doubt Chip’s business model is based upon what was inspired by his participation in The Landmark Forum and it’s corporate division. They make money hand over fist and use former seminar participants who volunteer to run the seminars and do the majority of the work for their for-profit corporation. $98 for a pair of yoga pants goes, in part, to send Chip’s employees to a seminar geared to bring in a substantial amount of revenue with very low overhead. Similar to the business model of using sweatshop labor to create a product he marks up significantly and then claims the benevolence of what he is doing. Frankly, I am not surprised by his manner of doing business and I do not support it.

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 5:13pm

Nice one : ). Thanks kimberly.

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 4:59pm

Hi, i am from a third world country, Peru. And i know for that many companies like Adidas, Nike, etc, manufacture clothing Made from cotton, including sports clothing. They actually demand the Peruvians companies to get all the quality standards and of course to be certified not only by ISO quality standards, also they are need all demand international textile standards and certificates and has to be renewed every couple of years so they can keep working for them. And this is used to work with other manufacturing companies worldwide by this big brands, specially after the big scandal with Nike years ago. So a company like lululemon, should at least demand the same standards that guaranties the good labor practiced by this manufacturing companies; I think is very irresponsable and show lack of ethics from them. I want to clarify, I have a major in business, so I really don't have anything against big companies, I understand it and I am starting a clothing company with my sister! But I also believe in ethics and corporate social responsibility Is one of my secret passions after yoga.
Changing the subject a little, about this transparency, Peru has one of the best cottons and even after a while it gets very transparent, specially on the inside tights. Spandex always gets a bit of transparency, best thing you can do to avoid this is using always a bigger size, Spandex is always stretch and the more skinny it is the more transparent will be. Good quality Lycra is also very expensive, specially the ones with fiber technology for sweating and others. Took me several months to find the best Lycra and I had to travel cause they don't have it here, is gets transparency too, but I had to work with the design and lots of black to try avoid it but in some positions even black gets a bit transparent, even thou I love the colorful designs and I wear it myself. Here is a tip there is one type of Spandex it comes with a soft side, kinds like polar side and that's the best one to not get transparency but not very comfortable for hot days or classes. Spandex will always lasts more than cotton, also any clothes you have in spandex or cotton with silkscreen(not sure about this word, serigrafía in Spanish), won't last much specially after many washes, that's why I worked with sublimation ;)! The only way i founded to avoid transparency on other is to concentrate in my practice so I don't get distracted by it and wear long t shirts to feel more comfortable. 🙂 ! Sorry for the redaction and others faults, I am not used to write in English much and sorry is too long!

    anonymous Nov 17, 2013 12:42pm

    Thank you for this post, and good luck with your company!

    You're 100% right when you say Peruvian cotton is amongst the best in the world.

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 4:04pm

Lululemon is the evil empire and needs to be taken down. They can take the Yoga Journal,with them too! This is the problem with the current state of the yoga community. Case closed. Great work here.

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 2:16pm

Your article highlights so many of the reasons we started MAI: I AM enough yoga clothing company. We are based it MN and everything is sewn in St Louis Park. I have weekly, in-person conversations with the women who sew our clothes and will continue this practice as we grow! Yes it is more expensive, but it is soo important. Thanks for the great article!

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 9:03am

Chip Wilson reminds of the Republican candidates during the 2012 elections! Thank you for this article. You hit the nail on the head!

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 5:47am

Another thing to consider is their close association with Landmark Education and the Ayn Rand quote they put on their shopping bags. Says it all to me.

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 5:02am

While the debate is certainly "debate-able" for all the reasons stated, I just keep going back to when I started doing yoga in 1972; in the rural Midwest, by a book. My boyfriend at the time and I scoured Kansas City bookstores and whatever we could find on yoga, and did it in sweatpants or nothing…there just wasn't a Lululemon or any of the other "brands" relied on today…we figured it out, with a lot of practice, and I still find yoga to be one of the most important influences in my life. So do what you can, with what you have, it will come together, one way or another

anonymous Nov 16, 2013 4:33am

Thankyou for this article! Just noticed a typo/grammatical mistake though – "in good conscious" should be "in good conscience". Unless you were being deliberate with strange usage of the word "conscious" in which case, my bad, carry on.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 9:01pm

Thank u! This is exactly what I have been thinking this week!

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 7:52pm

My comment is, how do you know where your Coatco clothes are made or any other brand. Company’s are so well hidden today and barely let is know anything about their backend practices, unless people uncover them. Where can we find well made clothes gat aren’t putting children in desperate conditions? I’m thinking I made need to start making them myself.

    anonymous Nov 17, 2013 6:51pm

    You make an excellent point. Made in the USA or Canada does not automatically meant that the product was fairly made or that the workers were treated well.

    Luckily, there are fair trade clothes and factories that have met certain standards via third party, independent audits.

    If I don't buy second hand, I buy from places like the above.

    Frankly, I don't mind paying more but many fair trade clothes are comparable or even cheaper than their counterparts.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 6:58pm

I'm new to the Yoga world and was instantly told " I must have Lululemon" from some classmates. I googled Lululemon and saw the prices I was like No Thank You!!! Now I am even more happy that I read your article. Thank you!!!

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 6:47pm

Extremely well written and relevant. Well done!

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 6:45pm

i used to work at Lululemon for about 4 months. I was always astounded by the fact that they claimed the clothes were absolutely not made in sweatshops but of course they never offered up any evidence that this was the case. As a company which claims to practice Ahimsa or non-harming, they have a duty to "prove-up" to that ideal. They should be posting video, pictures, employee interviews, etc… which would show how great the working conditions are. I'm not one to judge, just noticing some hypocrisy here.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 6:35pm

First off, I want to say that I think this is a great article and I love how you admitted that you've bought Lululemon yourself, but have gone another route after doing so. I think a lot of us have fallen into many different bandwagons along the path to where we stand now. I think manufacturing clothes in the USA or Canada is great and often does imply better standards, but not always. Another option that I would really, really like to see is creating factories in third world countries that have better standards – "first world" standards, if you will. Fair trade has become a huge thing over that last while, which is great, but I think it lacks a role in the clothing industry, as I see a lot of activity in the food industry. After all, if we move all production away from off-shore facilities, people will be out of jobs. This goes in hand with what Oxfam is doing; it's not about boycotting companies and getting rid of them, it's about encouraging them to make more ethical and sustainable decisions and using their world-wide market to our advantage, showing people that it can be done on a global scale.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 6:24pm

I won't ever buy another pair, but I have to say that my Lulu pants have outlasted every other pair of yoga pants I own, even with frequent washings. Maybe I am just lucky..which considering the price tag, you would hope they would last forever. But I am just putting it out there that not everyone has had an issue with the quality. There are a lot of factors that go into wear; the temp you wash them in, detergent, etc.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:39pm

I purchased my first Lululemon yoga pants in Vancouver, BC in 2001. They lasted me 10 years and looked great. When I replaced them in 2011 the fabric pilled and knees bagged out within 6 months. The quality is so poor that I decided not to buy anything from Lululemon again. I love how eloquently you wrote your article. Knowing more about the corporate mentality solidifies my decision to stay away. Thank you!!

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:32pm

I am one of those…women he referred to 'not made for their clothes'. Have tried to buy stuff there that says it's my size…but really isn't. Have never been a fan of their attitude, even shop staff look you up and down if you have a few curves.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:32pm

Simply put….the Lululemonheads cult

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 1:18pm

Kim, where are you buying your things now? XOXOE

    anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:11pm

    I buy a lot of second hand. I also am a fan of Hard Tail. They make all their stuff in the USA in ethical factories. My hands-down favorite is Foat Design which is based in MN and everything is made there often from reclaimed fabrics.

      anonymous Nov 15, 2013 10:36pm

      Kimberly I'd love to send you a pair of girl skirt mission organic pants. Ethically produced. Hand Loomed. Fair Trade. Made in the villages supporting women that work from home. Our supplier's aunt was a freedom fighter with Gandhi. She started the first Khadi (hand spun yarn on spinning wheel and hand loom cotton) fabric shops in Gujarat, India. We have expanded more and more into organic. And I visit the factories for long stretches of time that produce finished products. Moving toward more and more NGO units. As a small company with limited resources it astounds to see the profits of Lulu and what good they could do. However it can also be said they are doing a great service by providing the contrast on a massive scale. If they weren't so huge and weren't failing so much on so many levels publicly there would be nothing to provide us that contrast. All is always unfolding for highest good. So he is in some ways a saint 🙂 He is teaching us collectively who we are and who we are not and we make the choice and evolve. Namaste.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 12:32pm

Don't assume that bad working conditions don't exist in North America. As a labor auditor in global supply chains for the last 17 years, I can tell you that the very best and worst labor practices exist everywhere. China can have very good factories with no child labor and above legal wages. In the US, we can find not only child labor but even forced labor, workers trafficked into sweatshops in LA (where I live) and elsewhere. I know- I've met them face to face. These are complex global issues that can't be isolated to one country or region. Companies need to establish global policies that promote compliance to international labor standards in every country where they operate, whether that is Canada, Mexico or India. Here's an article you might find interesting – In US, more than 60 percent of low-wage workers have some pay illegally withheld by their employer each week

    anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:12pm

    You are 100% right. Elizabeth Cline's amazing book "Overdressed" addresses that very thing. See my other response above. I was aware of this before I wrote this piece, and wish I had included this info.

    Thanks for reading!

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 12:14pm

As a manufacturer of organic–based yoga clothing I can share that we've chosen to design, cut and sew all of our clothing in the US for two main reasons: 1) its the best way for us to monitor and ensure that our high-quality standards are met. 2) We sleep at night knowing that the skilled craftsmen and craftswomen who sew our product line, work in safe and happy conditions.

We recognize that there are several sides to this issue. But this is the decision that we've made. Yes – it is more expensive to do it this way. But for us, its worth it.

    anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:14pm

    I am going to check out your site. Thanks for reading and posting!

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 12:05pm

I have been much more cognizant of my purchases as of late because of all of the lululemon hype and other companies as well. I love your article and agree with all points 🙂 Thankfully for myself, I have never purchased nor tried on a pair of lululemon anythings..

    anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:13pm

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 12:04pm

I'm proud to say that I buy my yoga pants at Costco and you know what? They've lasted much much longer than my first pair of Lululemon yoga pants AND they're made in Canada! Tuff Athletics out of BC. It's ironic that they are made in the same city where Lululemon has it's corporater headquarters, yet they outsource overseas…

    anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:13pm

    That is so ironic! Wish I had a Costco in my town. 🙁

    anonymous Nov 19, 2013 3:44pm

    I have been wearing Costco workout clothes for several years, and although I have not looked into where they were manufactured, they are uniformly of very high quality and wearing very well, workout after workout and wash after wash. And usually only $20-25 per piece.

    anonymous Feb 8, 2016 12:22pm

    Guess how much the workers making Costo pants are making, if you're buying them for $25. company only has to add a button, drawstring, or flourish to a garment in Canada, to claim that it's "made in Canada". You can bet that they are not fully being made by someone making Canadian minimum wage.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 11:01am

This is extremely well-written and the topic is one of value to me as well. Great job!

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 10:35am

I buy all my clothes, for yoga and the rest of my life, second hand. I'm not putting money into the hands of sweatshop owners or overpriced retailers. I'm not participating in the waste, pollution, and exploitation of the garment industry and I'm not throwing my hard earned money after some stupid logo. While I've never worn a pair of $98 yoga pants, I am quite certain my practice is in no way diminished by wearing secondhand clothes.

    anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:07pm

    I buy a lot of second hand as well. It's a great option.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 10:35am

I buy all my clothes, for yoga and the rest of my life, second hand. I'm not putting money into the hands of sweatshop owners or overpriced retailers. I'm not participating in the waste, pollution, and exploitation of the garment industry and I'm not throwing my hard earned money after some stupid logo. While I've never worn a pair of $98 yoga pants, I am quite certain my practice is in no way diminished by wearing secondhand clothes.

    anonymous May 17, 2015 5:38pm

    Pat yourself on the back much? lol self righteous people are the worst offenders and rarely deserve to own any moral high ground.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 10:26am

While I agree with most of your article, one line really catches me off guard. Instead of assuming that "first world" places are the only places which can overlap "standards" and "quality", perhaps it would be beneficial to focus on more of a fair trade movement. Just because things are made in America doesn't mean the employees of factories get treated well, nor do they make proportionally relevant incomes for their work in comparison to the bankroll of lulus capitalistic chip. (Although obviously treated better than those in sweat shop labor schemes). Either way, such a big name in yoga wear certainly has the capacity for a two bird one stone approach, nailing quality & benefiting third world atmospheres OR benefiting first world atmospheres of low wage workers! Third world places do have standards, we first worlders aren't exactly uninvolved in sucking them dry of their standards through capitalism and then turning our noses to the sky…

    anonymous Nov 15, 2013 3:06pm

    You are 100% correct. Elizabeth Cline's amazing book "Overdressed" which I alluded to in this piece makes that very point. There are sweatshops in the US and other first world places. Likewise, there are ethical places found in China and other places which meet certain standards. Sorry if I implied that sweatshops and child labor were only found in developing countries.

anonymous Nov 15, 2013 10:25am

Beautifully put! Thank You!

Laura AngéLica Jun 26, 2016 11:05am

interesting article, true facts about many brands. on a side note I'm a bit shocked thar you wrote "the" instead of "than"

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Kimberly Lo

Kimberly Lo is a yoga instructor and freelance editor & writer based in Charlottesville, VA. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework, travel, and photography. Connect with her on Facebook.