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Does Lululemon Favor Its Skinny Customers?

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Lululemon Athletica

Although Abercrombie & Fitch has been hit hard with criticism for not carrying larger sizes in stores, they’re far from the only company ignoring the plus-size customer base. We already knew anything over size 10 is considered “plus size” at Forever 21. Now, according to Huffington Post, Lululemon Athletica, a Canadian clothing company that focuses on yoga and running attire, also is biased against customers who require larger sizes.

As company that sells athletic gear, Lululemon wants to portray an image of health and wellness. How healthy a person is, however, is not to be confused with how skinny a person is. This is where Lululemon goes wrong.

According to Huffington Post, Elizabeth Licorish used to work at a Lululemon store in Philadelphia and noticed a disparity between how the smaller clothing sizes and the larger clothing sizes were treated. If you have ever set foot in a Lululemon store, you will have noticed the beautiful, colorful, and meticulously folded displays. According to Licorish, however, this treatment is just for the smaller sizes. If you need a size 10 or size 12, you would have to rummage through a pile of dated clothing in the back. Licorish told The Huffington Post, “All the other merchandise in the store was kind of sacred, but these were thrown in a heap. It was definitely discriminatory to those who wear larger sizes.” Lululemon’s defense of this practice is that since they carry fewer items in larger sizes (apparently 10 and 12 are “large,” who knew?), the displays would look sparse if large sizes were included. They carry fewer of these items because larger clothing costs more to make, as items require more fabric. They also do not sell as many items in larger sizes, so the clothing just ends up collecting dust.

Has the company considered that they may not sell as many items in larger sizes because they are unwelcoming to plus-size customers? Women of all sizes undoubtedly want cute workout gear in their correct sizes. But it is awkward for a customer to have to ask a clerk to go search for a larger size in the back of the store, if the customer feels comfortable asking at all. Instead it truly seems like Lululemon wants to be seen as a company just for the very fit: every model on the website is lean, furthering the not-very-yoga-centric myth that people must be skinny to be fit. By excluding certain body types from their clothing, they’re sending very mixed messages on health and wellness.

Granted, it is only one Lululemon story on which Licorish based her expose. But it’s telling indeed that Lulelemon declined to comment for Huffington Post’s story.

[Huffington Post]

[Photo via Lululemon]

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