16 December 2009


Lululemon's clever retail satire

toque, toque and toque at Flickr.comLast year, Old Navy tried making some unofficial Olympic clothing, but Vancouver's Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) and the International Olympic Committee shut that down because the jackets were too close to official trademarks for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Now Vancouver yoga retailer Lululemon has tried a cheekier approach, releasing a line of clothes pushing the line of Olympic trademark infringement, without quite crossing it. The line is called the "Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition," which gave me a laugh.

I like the sporting events of the Winter Olympics, but VANOC and the IOC have been overzealous in emphasizing the business aspects of the event, rather than the sport. So I appreciate Lululemon's retail satire. The stuff looks good too, so I might buy some.

I wonder if it will be hard to get into Olympic events wearing the Lululemon clothes in February?

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I'm not a big fan of Lululemon's bollocksy brand alignment ('lifestyle essentials', and so forth), but that's a seriously gutsy move, and will earn them a ton of press.
I own a few of their items, and the basic brown hoodie I bought a few years ago is one of my most useful and comfortable pieces of clothing. They hit on an interesting approach with their yoga focus, but have become Yet Another Big Company in the meantime. I'd like to see more of this satirical tweaking. Wendy's? Pepsi? MasterCard? Anyone?
I agree it's a gutsy move but it won't entice me to buy anymore of their clothing. I don't find it comfortable, I'm the wrong shape or something? and it's expensive!
Yes, lululemon is expensive, but so is the Olympic brand clothing. Wearing the Olympic rings on a sweater seemed cool in the 1970's, but I think today's fashionistas and consumers in general are very wary of supporting an event as controversial and lame as the Olympics.