Lululemon: Paper Was Wrong, Seaweed in Clothes
A report in The New York Times last week that Lululemon Athletica’s VitaSea seaweed-infused T-shirt did not contain seaweed fiber has put the company’s alternative culture status in jeopardy with the yoga and Pilates devotees who buy the company’s products.
Lululemon has billed its VitaSea line of clothing as being made of 24 percent seaweed fiber. Tags on the garments make the claim that the clothes released “marine amino acids, minerals and vitamins into the skin upon contact with moisture.”
Carolyn J. Otten, director for specialized services at Chemir Analytical Services, a lab that tested a sample of VitaSea, said, “Seaweeds have known vitamins and minerals, and we searched specifically for those vitamins, and we didn’t see them.”
Robert Meers, CEO of Vancouver, Canada-based Lululemon, said in a press release: “Product quality and authenticity are of the utmost importance to Lululemon. Integrity goes to the core of everything we do and is at the heart of our relationship with our guests. For this reason, we test our products for content using a leading testing facility. We absolutely stand behind our products, our processes and refute any claims in recent press reports to the contrary.”
On Friday, Canada’s Competition Bureau said Lululemon agreed to remove any claims on its labels, in stores and on its website that the VitaSea product line could provide therapeutic benefits to those wearing the clothing.
Discussion Questions: If “product quality and authenticity are of the utmost importance” to Lululemon’s customers, what will The New York Times report mean for its business? Now that the report is out there, will consumers believe the Lululemon’s assertion that its VitaSea products are made with seaweed? What do you think the company has to do at this point?
- ‘Seaweed’ Clothing Has None, Tests Show – The New York Times
- Lululemon Athletica Inc. Confirms VitaSea Fabric Contents and Testing Process – Lululemon Athletica
- Lululemon shares fall on more seaweed woes – Reuters