The clock strikes midnight, and the new year is upon us— everyone is ready with their "new year, new me" mantras; You, you're ready for a new workout set and head to the distinguished Lululemon to kickstart your new healthy habit. Walking into these athleisure stores are already quite daunting, staring at these astronomical price points feels a bit more high fashion than anticipated. Since when has Lululemon become only accessible to the wealthy and elite? Aren't we talking fast fashion for the lower and middle class?
Founder of the billon dollar brand, Chip Wilson, stated in his most recent interview with Forbes that the brand needs to be “clear that you don’t want certain customers coming in”. While the brand’s promise is a commitment to “create positive change for our people”, this statement creates a direct target on a specific community that isn’t sitting well with its consumers.
Wilson’s comments, have left people wondering what demographic he is exactly talking about? Although he doesn’t make a direct statement on which demographics he thinks should be excluded from shopping at Lululemon, this isn’t the founders first experience with backlash from negative comments.
With over 25 years of business, Lululemon has placed it’s mark on the athleisure wear community. Their catalog includes products such as: ultra-soft leggings, bodysuits, puffer jackets, sports bras, and more. Price points range from $118 for their Wunder Train Aerobic High-Rise Tights, to $78 Swiftly Tech Long-Sleeve Shirt 2.0, which is not even comparable in price to other athleisure brands such as GymShark or Women’s Best.
According to Lululemon’s 2022 Annual Report, their clientele seeks a combination of performance, style, and sensation in their athletic apparel, choosing products that allow them to feel great however they exercise. The company’s largest customer group is made up of guests who shop within the women’s range, representing 65% of their 2022 net revenue. As for their largest market geographically, North America makes up their largest customer base, representing 84% in their net revenue.
With GRWM videos going viral on TikTok, Lululemon has became an essential in the wardrobe of millennials and stay-at-home- wives. Lululemon goes hand and hand with luxury lifestyles that people want, know, and love. While the company has held it’s standard to great heights, controversies have spread with Wilson's most recent interview on social media.
In the past, Wilson has faced heat from comments he’s made in regards to the plus-size community not being his ideal target market, and how he finds humor in how Japanese people pronounce the brand’s name.
In typical fashion, the first idea that one may have is to boycott the brand, as many Black creatives have encouraged. In fact, some have taken their thoughts to social platforms stating that they would rather spend their money elsewhere.
“Chip Wilson does not speak for Lululemon, and his comments do not reflect our company views and beliefs,” a company spokesperson said, “Chip has not been involved with the company since his resignation from the board in 2015 and we are a very different company today,” they added.
When moments like these occur, it all comes down to brand leaders actions and words. With statements as such, it leaves specifically multicultural communities lost, confused, and more importantly, unappreciated.