Within a relatively short time span, the yoga clothing and accessories brand Lululemon has become a major force in retail and yoga culture. Researchers Christine Laverence and Kristen Lozanski both from King’s University College at Western University sought to understand the success of the brand’s marketing combination of consumerism with East Asian spiritualism
The paper examines how such different mindsets can be combined and how Lululemon’s incorporation of the two changed the consumer’s perception of the brand. Repositioning their clothing and goods as necessary aids to a successful yogi lifestyle, Lululemon introduced consumerism into a physical practice founded contrary to it. Mental and physical health is portrayed as attainable and almost mandatory when a consumer buys into their company ethos. Lululemon “reflects concern with the body and the self as objects of discipline and anxiety,” but then join those ideals with “consumption and activism.”
Their ability to convincingly join such opposite cultures lie in the vagueness of their Orientalism references. This is most obvious in their brand manifesto with tenets to “breathe deeply and appreciate the moment … and that the pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.” Through the power of their marketing, rooted in the references the simplicity encouraged in Buddhism, Lululemon has presented buying their products as equivalent to gaining mental peace in the face of the constant noise of modern life.
To read the full text of the study: http://web.a.ebscohost.com
Lavern, C., & Lozanski K. (2014). This is not your practice life’: Lululemon and the neoliberal governance of self. Canadian Review of Sociology, 51(1), 76-94.