Nov 16, 2013

Lululemon's Law of Attraction Fail

What has Lululemon done to law of attract its shrinking stock price?! Numerous ham-fisted efforts to shrink women down to nothing perhaps?

The yoga-wear retailer is both alienating current customers and "making it tough" to get new ones, an analyst at Sterne Agee, Sam Poser, wrote in a note to clients on Thursday. Poser downgraded the company's stock and sent Lululemon shares downhill 4 percent to $66.24 on Thursday afternoon.

"We believe that the core Lululemon customer has been alienated and will begin to look for yoga and active-wear pants from the likes of Nike, Under Armour, Athleta and numerous other brands," Poser wrote.

Lululemon did not respond to a request for comment.

Poser singled out the "mouth of the chairman," pointing to the recent controversy surrounding Lululemon chairman and co-founder Chip Wilson. In an interview on Bloomberg TV last week, Wilson attempted to address recent reports of issues with the company's yoga pants, which customers said were too sheer and easily pilled.

Wilson blamed the pants' problems on women's bodies, sparking outrage from consumers.

Yes ladies. Even women thin enough to fit Lululemon's yoga pants might be too fat to not rip them apart.

"Frankly some women's bodies just don't actually work for it," Wilson said (at 2:40 in the above video).

He didn't stop there.

"They don't work for some women's bodies," he continued. "It's really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it."

Oh, women! With all your nasty, nasty curves. Your bodies just aren't adequate racks for the latest fashions... in yoga.

The poor pants! Will no one think of the pants and what is best for them?! Priorities, people!

It sounds like the problem is that even women in that target size 8 and under market don't have the "thigh gap" necessary to not cause undue stress to Lululemon's lovely, $100 work-out pants.

What is thigh gap? I only learned this recently and I was rather taken aback. This gorgeous, gorgeous, "plus size" model explains.

So it's no longer enough for women to be unnaturally thin. Our thighs aren't even allowed to touch... at all.

What I flashed on immediately was something Callan Pinckney says in the original Callanetics video. She shows an image of the "perfect legs" she'd grown up with. Four coins could be held at the places legs should touch. Note that one of those coins is between the thighs.

While this is also an overly idealized vision of a woman's body, what I can't help noticing is that the fashion industry seems determined to make women thinner and thinner. Ironically, the more public outcry there is against dangerous messaging that contributes to growing rates of anorexia and bulimia, the skinnier the fashion industry standard gets.

Worse still, the burgeoning yoga industry is following suit. Is it me or is there something particularly pernicious about the commingling of spirituality and fat shaming that issues from trendy yoga marketing. As I wrote here, it's just more of the hideous trend toward equating spiritual well-being with our material wealth and beauty. Reminder: Yoga means "union" with the divine.

Chip Wilson responded to the outcry over his odious comments with an equally odious non-apology apology. It's one of those I'm not sorry for what I said, I'm just sorry you got upset apologies.

For what it's worth, Wilson appears to understand that he's bad for his own brand, expressing concern that the cult status of his creepy, cult-like stores may be "chipped away."

So what have we learned? Well, for one thing, that Chip Wilson's apparent attempt to put into practice Rhonda Byrne's stellar advice to not "observe" fat people or think "fat thoughts" may not have proved to be the best business model. And we've learned that controlling your thoughts to attract health, wealth, and success may not be as important as just watching your mouth when you're on camera.

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