On March 18, Lululemon the outrageously popular brand of yoga (and Pilates) wear, announced that they will be facing a shortage of yoga pants this spring. They had to recall their signature black pants and crops made with Luon fabric because the new batch of pants sold in stores since March 1 are, well, see-through.
Sheer is actually the word Lululemon is using, adding that the weight and durability of the pants is unaffected.† Durability is nice but in this case, as a number of consumers discovered, that's $98.00 worth of not much. For those who bought a pair of the Lululemon pants in question on or after March 1, the company is offering refunds at stores and for online purchases. The CEO of Lululemon said the way to tell if you got a bad pair is it to put your new pants on and bend over.
After the initial announcement of its impending shortage of yoga pants, Lululemon stock fell 8.2%. The stock has recovered somewhat but Lululemon still expects their net revenue to fall $12 million to $17 million short of their projected $350 million to $355 million (Huffington Post, 3/21/13) .
Lululemon has been on top of the yoga clothes world for quite a while† despite a string of bad publicity and issues over the past couple of years. Almost exactly two years ago, Lululemon was dealing with a devastating homicide at one of their stores in Washington D.C. In just the past year, there was the somewhat petty lawsuit against Calvin Klein where Lululemon claimed CK had copied the style of one of their waistbands. That suit ended with a secret settlement between the companies.† And in June of 2012, Lululemon was looking bad again with its misguided yoga Barbie campaign.
Whether this string of troubles will add up to long term problem for the trendy yoga wear giant is hard to tell. Clearly they have a very devoted fan base (Lulu won our Readers' Choice Award for Best Workout Clothes in 2011). On the other hand the pants recall is a real opening for consumers to explore other brands.
Personally, I've questioned the Lulu supremacy for some time. I definitely like my Lululemon pants -- I can find them in my drawer full of black pants just by their synthetic crinkle sound -- but I find a lot of other brands equally stylish and durable. Lucy and PrAna come to mind as do¬†lesser known brands such as be present, Beckons and Yoga Hyde, or Abi and Joseph out of Australia. If new workout clothes are in your future this spring, you might want to check out some of my workout clothing reviews.
photo: Astro pant (subject of the lawsuit), courtesy of Lululemon