rocking the olympic boat

I both applaud and give the finger to Lululemon.

They’re in exactly the kind of trouble I adore – poking fun at someone while making a statement and being scolded for it even though everyone else gives a high five. They launched a new line of clothes, and people without a sense of humour are grumpy:

Organizers of the 2010 Olympics have publicly scolded Vancouver retailer Lululemon Athletica for selling a special edition of clothing that celebrates a “cool sporting event” taking place in British Columbia.

Lululemon, which is not a Games sponsor, unveiled its “Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition” clothing at stores across Canada on Monday.


The article goes on to say that the Canadian clothes have gold zippers, while the US ones have silver – another HAH! Seriously, this whole thing is deeply hilarious and I love that they had enough of a sense of humour about the whole thing to go forward with it; VANOC be damned. I would seriously love to buy a Lululemon non-Olympic hoodie, and I would wear it with pride even though I normally eschew the whole pretend yoga esthetic.

But .. I can’t.

Lululemon only sells clothing up to a size 12.

I know tiny people who wear a Lululemon XL because that’s all that’ll fit them. Their CEO is publically known to be anti-fat:

Carrying plus-size athletic wear boils down to a question of economics and demand, say retailers such as the wildly popular Lululemon Athletica and the locally owned Helia Sports activewear store for women.

Lululemon founder and CEO Chip Wilson says it takes 30 per cent more fabric to put together larger sizes. That stretchy fabric doesn’t come cheap, and he believes women looking for those larger sizes aren’t willing to shell out the extra money.

“It’s a money loser, for sure,” he says. “I understand their plight, but it’s tough.”

If Wilson charged more for plus-size clothes to recoup costs, he’s sure he would be taken to the human rights commission. Plus-size people, he says, are very sensitive.

Fat people: cheap AND ugly!

I’d dearly love to look like everyone else and pay over $100 for the same hoodie I can get at MEC for $30, but I can’t. I’m fat, you see, so they’d need more material to over my enormous ass. And even if they DID offer plus sizes, fat women are way too cheap to ever spend the money required to look like everyone else. It doesn’t matter that women of all shapes and sizes deserve to look and feel good, or that we fatties spend just as much if not MORE than our slender sisters – no, we just aren’t worth the effort. Clearly, it is good business sense to shun over 50% of potential shoppers. Fatties! The next thing you know, they’ll want to be able to MARRY each other!

You know, on second thought, I think I’d rather look like myself than everyone else.

no fat chicks

33 thoughts on “rocking the olympic boat

  1. Amen. It’s ridiculous, as the only size 18 I know is a multi-millionaire. What’s ironic is that the hugely oversized sports jersey and tee look was in part popularized by Chip and his crew at Westbeach. What, large sizes are good enough for men but not for women?

  2. I hear you on that, definitely! I have the same problem with Target clothes: all the stuff for fat chicks would make me look like I threw on a circus tent. Jerks. >:(

  3. that is kindof awful, discounting the line entirely. why not let the marketplace prove him wrong, by making a “by special order only” line? If Levis could do the customized fit jeans thing, why not lulu?

    Though, although his quote was taken from 2005, the Human Rights question could be a legitimate business concern, seeing the great airplane seat charge battle of 2007/8.

    Then again, what do I know. I rarely spend $100 on pants I wear every day out in public. I’m not about to spend that (and more) on stuff I’ll only wear to the gym.

    No, Kits girls, just because your Lulus are black, does not mean they count as “formal wear.”

    • Cotton Ginny does it – plus sized clothing is routinely $5 more than the regular sizes. As far as I know, they’ve never been brought before the Board because of it. I’ve never had a problem paying the difference, and appreciate the option to do so if I need to. Other stores that sell both plus and “normal” sizes in the same clothing often charge a bit more for the larger sizes – Target, Old Navy, The Gap, Eddie Bauer – they don’t hide behind the big bad gub’mint as an excuse to not cater to fat people. Chip Wilson is just a coward.

      • that was going to be my point – Cotton Ginny, Reitman’s, anywhere that sells both lines, the items are more for the larger sizes. Granted, I find it annoying, but you know, a size 22 jean is kind of larger than a 2. So.
        It didn’t even occur to me to sue them, damnit!

        that being said 90% of clothing retailers don’t sell plus sizes. So. He could just keep his mouth shut and be fine.

  4. You may still have a chance – I currently wear somewhere between a 16-18, but my Lulu pants are a size 12 (tall) and they fit without the dreaded ‘shiny’ stretching (you know, where they’re stretched so far you can see the spandex fibers?). Granted, I bought them a few years ago when they were actually a size too big (they didn’t have 10 tall in stock, I’m 5’11” with a 36″ inseam and I was impatient as per always), but still…have you tried ’em? They might work!

    I know that’s kind of beside the point, but still…you may have shot at joining in on the ‘screw the man’-ness!

  5. part deux, because I though of some soapboxy stuff to say:

    By the way…I get the frustration with anti-fat. It was hard enough to find stuff that fit when I was ‘slender’ (pants hit my ankles etc.), but at this point it’s simply ridiculous. Shouldn’t the world be thanking me for having such a decadently generous bust? And child-bearing hips?

    Oh, and that suit I need before February? Guess I’d better haul my chubby, overgrown self down to the states…because Canadians are apparently neither fat nor tall.

    Lulu does have a custom order store, I was told (somewhere near Cambie?), but there would obviously be a price issue there if they even do make larger sizes.

  6. I’ve got no issue with charging more for larger sizes: as a recovering seamstress, I know fabric ain’t free. But to not make the sizes at all? Giving the waning trendiness of the lulu look, you’d think they’d look at serving any demographic interested in purchasing the clothing.

  7. Myself, not being a small man i understand alot of retailers do not carry a 38 waist in mens pants…even though it is not even big & tall. fuckers…. like American eagle sell 3 xl shirts and only up to 36 waist pants. they say i can order the larger sizes online. what does my large ass scare away customers. will i not fit into the dressing rooms.
    Same with H&M they only fit twigs… Am i not allowed to dress fashionably because I am build like a rugby player. The whole body image crap is not only in womans fashion now. the fashion industry has now infected mens fashion. It is bad enough i am expected to shave my entire body now so i am like some prepubesent stay pufft marshmallow man. grrrr.
    And i think you are beautiful the way you are Kimli. do not change for yoga pants……

  8. Ugh, although I love the premise behind this sporting event thing, that company just makes me mad- so ignorant! I worked for another fashion manufacturer for a while and even mentioned, “you know you might do well to introduce even one thing in larger sizes”- got shot down saying that “our clothes wouldn’t look good on larger-sized people”- hello! They made jeans & tshirts!
    Anyways- this their clothes are far too expensive for what they are. Even if their stuff did fit me, I wouldn’t buy anything from them. Fabric is expensive no matter what size they sew for, and including all sizes in their range would balance it all out.
    Pisses me off that people will spend $300 on a crappy hoody just to get the namebrand-such as it is- but not even consider supporting smaller retailers and designers- such as Bodacious and GoFigure, and pay equal or even sometimes less for something that’s better quality and fits *every* body properly.

  9. Chip spins a good tale about why LLL doesn’t sell plus sizes.. but it’s all crap.

    The real reason is “smart” marketing.

    He doesn’t want his brand to fall into the same trap as Airwalk shoes (among others) Airwalk was a mainstay of the skating subculture and (more importantly) those that wanted to dress like they were skaters. The market wasn’t huge, but people paid a pretty penny to wear the shoes. In the desire for more profits they started selling to the masses in Target and other similar stores.

    The end result, the shoes were no longer cool and elitist anymore. Shoe sales plummeted.

    By not selling plus size clothing, LLL is just ensuring that his clothes remain elitist and symbolic of a “healthy”, active lifestyle that their customers are part of (or want to appear to be a part of).

    As well, LLL does no real advertising, relying on the people who wear their clothes (with a large logo proudly on display) to be walking billboards. I’m sure they feel that the sight of a plus size lady walking down the street in a pair of luon pants may turn off even the most devoted customer .

  10. “I’d dearly love to look like everyone else and pay over $100 for the same hoodie I can get at MEC for $30”

    Good luck with that… I’m a size 12 on top, size 14 on the bottom, and the XL stuff at MEC just barely fits me. Shouldn’t they be encouraging me to ride my bike more, rather than making me feel like a whale when trying on their cycling gear?!

  11. I agree with your rantage (and have other problems with Lulu, including their culty indoctrinations of staff, and the trendiness of their overpriced yoga gear) but – what, whoa? Where the heck are you finding $30 hoodies at MEC? They are not exactly the welcoming haven for the cheap of wallet, either.

    (And bullshit on the “fat people won’t pay.” Hah! All the female upper managers where I work are size 18 at least, and they are all extremely well-dressed (and since I know where some of them shop) not cheaply, either. Where do all these stupid fashion people trying to justify their discriminatory ways come up with this shit? Do they seriously cut ALL overweight people, even relatives, right out of their social circles?)

  12. Fuck LuLu Lemon. I hated their clothes BEFORE I found out that they discriminate against plus-sized. But I am not surprised.

    If I never seen that damn symbol again, it will be too soon. Just saying.

  13. Didn’t you know that fat girls can’t have nice things? No exercise clothes or hiking gear for us fatties. (Don’t even get me started on MEC’s ludicrous sizing. I couldn’t fit into their “Boobs-what-boobs” women’s clothing even when I was in straight sizes. Chicks with boobs don’t climb mountains! Who knew?)

  14. Chip Wilson *IS* an arrogant ass, no way around it. I don’t even think he’s particularly smart – just because you own the stores doesn’t mean you had the brains to build him. He’s well known for hiring people who are smarter than he is. Unfortunately none of them seems to have the cajones to stand up and tell him when THAT emperor has no clothes… at least none that fit.

    I hated Lululemon before this thing and I don’t necessarily respect them for the whole “Cool Sports Event” thing. It strikes me as extremely petty. So they’ll get a bunch of skinny size-6 wearing people buying their stuff and patting themselves on the back for being all clever and anti-establishment. Whoop-de-doo. They’re a bunch of hypocritical asses. The only people I know who advocate FOR Lululemon are really, really tiny.

    As for making plus-sized clothes: can’t you just hear all the skinny yoga-pants-wearing latte-drinking Lulufans screaming in their heads at the thought of your/my/everyone-else’s “fat ass” being crammed into spandex? Why, if they made clothing for “fat” people then they’d have to SEE the fat people wearing spandex. WE CAN’T HAVE THAT. That might lead to *gasp* healthy body images! Acceptance of different body types!

    Lululemon, I fart in your general direction.

  15. Ha! Great conversation here! We were also quoted in that article if I remember. Here’s the thing I find funny. The difference between a size 2 and a 12 is also significant but the price doesn’t change. When we do our buying for Bodacious we have to deal with these enflated fat taxes all the time. Recently we were sold pants that had a $22 difference in price between regular and “plus” sizes. We sent them back. We charge the same price for a size 10 as we do for a size 24 and we carry several brands of yoga/workout wear that is made in Canada by local designers. Just saying. Commercial over.

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  17. they’ve done a few things this year that has caused me to completely reconsider ever buying from them again, and i won’t be. i had seen this post but hadn’t read it fully, so this just adds to my disdain. i unfollowed them on twitter a couple weeks a go not sure if they still follow me. i’ll wear what i have, but you won’t see me buying there anymore. and my SIGG bottle sucks ass from there too, but i’ll use it till this the second one breaks.
    AND a certain ‘vancouver blogger’ getting into bed with them when this individual is obviously being paid by the Olympics was basically enough to give them the final fuck you.

    • although i should add, i did think the Olympic clothes were bloody hilarious i do agree, being a shit disturber myself (sometimes) and in that sense i still like them. it is the other shit i could go on about that has caused the final ban.

  18. I agree with all of the above. I especially hate the poster of “directives” Lulu lovers like to wear around town – as if they are too stupid to think for themselves…. I can just see the internal “to do” list – buy Venti Latte, Sweat every day! Do one thing that scares you (make eye contact with a “fatty”?, cross Main street and enter East Van?) I live in strathcona and it makes my day everytime I see a downtown eastside female resident on drugs (but who meets the “skinny” requirements of lululemon) strolling around in Lululemon gear.

    By the way, where can I get a copy of that little poster you have on your blog? It’s great!

    • Thanks rosa! :D

      I’ve tossed around the idea of screenprinting it (after making a much cleaner version that wasn’t done in ten minutes), just to see how fast I’d get sued .. it only exists digitally at the moment though!

    • I’m quite fat. I practice yoga daily and am capable of poses some thinner Lulu wearing people canonly dream of… I surf, I ski, I hike, I dance, I am an acrobat. It is an image put out by groups like lululemon that makes people believe that fat people are not active, or worse that a fat person being active is so hideous to look at that they should noteven be allowed to be active. Would I rather be thinner, of course. And one of the key ways I am losing weight is to be as active as I can be. If Lulu was who they claim to be in all their spiritual jargon, they would support that.

  19. Why don’t you just lose weight and you wouldn’t complain so much about Lululemon not fitting? If you aren’t healthy enough to fit into their clothes then you probably don’t work out which is what the clothes are meant for, so why deceive everyone into thinking you are something you aren’t? If you focused your time on being healthy other than getting mad at clothing companies that don’t sell your size, you would be fitting into lulu stuff by now.

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