Like most fitness bloggers, I love wearing comfortable good quality clothes like Lululemon (even when I’m not working out). I had read a couple of blogposts about their (“transparent yoga pant” problem), but this hadn’t change my positive opinion about the brand.
I discovered the brand during a vacation in the US a few years ago. I still wear the clothes I bought then; they all have held their shape very well despite many sweaty spinning classes and circuit training sessions.
Lululemon doesn’t have any stores in continental Europe (they do have a couple of stores in London), but they’ll soon be opening showrooms in Amsterdam and Berlin. They launched a European webshop (eu.lululemon.com) in 2012. I hadn’t given it a try yet. So my irrational side decided I needed new gear and I spent the amount of a plane ticket to visit my parents in France to buy 4 pieces of clothing instead…
Here they are:
– Cool Racerback Tank, petit dot dune color, €48.00 [=$62.50]
– Throw Me Over Hoodie, bleached coral color, €78.00 [=$101.55] (discounted, was €118.00)
– Heat It Up Bra, pop orange/bleached coral/black, €42.00 [=$54.70] (discounted, was €62.00)
– Wunder Under Crop, reversible, beach blanket blue/aquamarine, €98.00 [=$127.60]
The reversible Wunder Under crop was definitely a good investment. The quality of the piece is outstanding; the flat seams look incredibly solid and resistant.
The Cool Racerback tank was ok, though a bit too see-through. As they say on the site, the long length is great to “focus on our back bends and burpees without tugging at our clothes”. The Heat It Up bra was on sale and was a good investment too. It’s not a high impact bra but it’s a comfy bra for everyday life. I could also use it as a bikini top with a simple black bikini bottom. (But considering the amount of money I spent on eu.lululemon.com, I’m not even sure I can afford a summer vacation :)
I was disappointed by the Throw Me Over hoodie. Luckily for me, it was on sale: €78.00 [=$101.55] instead of €118.00 [=$153.82]. But still, I still find this piece overpriced. The finishings of the internal seams are kind of sloppy for a $100 jacket, take a look:
The original price of €118.00 [=$153.82] is just a plain rip-off for European customers.
Regarding the obvious price differences between the US and EU webshops, I wanted to give Lululemon my 2 cents about it and sent them a tweet. They responded:
@fitnesstreats Prices will reflect the local economy and market costs.The EU site also includes taxes & duties in the price unlike the US.
— lululemon athletica (@lululemon) May 28, 2013
Even with taxes and duties, US-prices still are lower. “Prices will reflect the local economy“? Do they even know the average wages and the unemployment rates we have in Europe!? Though their response wasn’t rude, I thought it wasn’t very friendly either. It kind of made me feel like a second-class customer. But I forgive them just because I like the way my butt look in their crops.
However, this made me pause and reflect about their actual production costs. Their product tags state “Made in Cambodia“, “Made in China“, or “Made in Malaysia“. I took a quick look on their site to find information about their factories. “We take great care in selecting factories that share our commitment to quality, ethics and technical capabilities. The factories we use are safe, clean, ventilated, well lit, healthy work environments. We assess the health, safety and quality of working conditions of factories before establishing a working relationship“.
I read a couple of comments under this blogpost www.lululemon.com/community/blog/legacies-global-sourcing-trip and I thought Lululemon wasn’t communicating very well about their methods. Even if they provide good working conditions (which is the least they can do!), it’s true that paying 100 euro for a pair of yoga pants that were made by a young girl paid $60 per month isn’t fair.
To be honest, I really don’t care about the Lululemon manifesto, their values or their community projects: I don’t mind paying 100 euro for a high quality pair of crops, but I’d just like to know that the Asian worker making these pants at the other corner of the globe is paid a fair amount of what I pay, and that this helps her improve her standard of living and the status of women in her country. Googling around a bit about the brand, I found some interesting articles:
– Lululemon debacle reveals how cheap labor can backfire
– 12 utterly bizarre facts about the rise of lululemon
Tough I still love their clothes and especially their crops and pants, I have to admit that their brand image kind of sucks if they don’t practice what they preach. The differences between US and EU-prices give me the feeling they take European customers for fools. Do you have any suggestions for other brands that are similar to Lululemon, but seem to follow a better code of conduct?