lululemon’s see-through pants fiasco: get ready for the great black yoga pants shortage of 2013

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Lululemon has pulled yoga pants from their shelves after they realized the products were determined “too sheer” (read: basically see through).

“The ingredients, weight and longevity qualities of the pants remain the same but the coverage does not, resulting in a level of sheerness in some of our women’s black Luon bottoms that falls short of our very high standards,” the company announced in a March 18 press release. Since Lululemon has been working with the same company since 2004, the varient in quality is not the result of “changing manufacturers or quality of ingredients,” but some kind of manufacturing glitch.

Luon, a combination of nylon and Lycra, is Lululemon’s signature fabric and credited with giving the products their unique form-hugging abilities.

According to a handy FAQ prepared by the company, 17% of women’s pants are affected by the manufacturing issue. This has also affected Lululemon’s stock price, which dropped 7% within hours of the announcement, and the company stands to lose an estimated $20 million in sales (from an expected $350 – $355 million to $333 – $343 million) during its first quarter of 2013.

Even more pressing is the expected shortage of black Luon pants! Brace yourselves. Gawker has already jumped on this:

In advance of the coming shortage, every administrator of black yoga pants should institute rationing immediately. No more wearing your black yoga pants to perform yoga, obviously; that would cause too much wear and tear. No more wearing them around the house or on “seriously necessary” Starbucks runs either. Reserve your black yoga pants for only the most formal of occasions: coronations, dignitaries’ funerals, etc.

Instead of throwing out your black yoga pants after you wear them, wash them. Turn off the black yoga pants before you leave the room. Don’t leave the black yoga pants running while you brush your teeth.

I know that quality, sales and revenue are serious stuff in the multi-million dollar yoga apparel world. But the “sheerness,” the recall, the expected shortage… I can’t help but think that this yoga pants drama has been fabricated in anticipation of announcing a first quarter drop in earnings. From a company known for its shady ethics and manipulative marketing, we can’t expect much more.

11 Comments

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  1. I would hope this would be an opportunity for a more ethical company to step up their game.

    Plus I’d love it every time one of these article came out about Lululemon’s practices there could be a mention of the better alternatives.

    • i agree Michael, i had the exact same thoughts= better ethical business practice and perhaps start making your pants in canada again.

      alternatives for canadians: Karma, Tonic and Americans: prAna. 🙂 better quality AND actually made in North America.

  2. Roseanne, did you see this Jimmy Kimmel bit?

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