Nearly two decades ago, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson infamously told the Calgary Herald that it would be a “money loser” for the brand to make clothing over a size 12. About 10 years later, he blamed the company’s quality control problems on our thighs rubbing together on live national television.
Chip attempted to apologize on YouTube for saying “Quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” when referencing the fit of his products on our bodies. Just two years ago, their SVP of women’s design said “I really believe we have to be a brand that accepts all”, rather than being a brand FOR all from its inception.
Plainly put, Lululemon was not created for larger women, it was made for single digit sizes. The quality of fabric, construction of the garment, type of thread, and trimmings should be determined by how it will perform on the body. When fashion does not consider larger bodies in creating clothing in larger sizes, you see that result in ill fitting activewear.
Seven years later, select products were offered up to size 20. In our opinion, that is just way too long to make a decision to cater to the majority of women as a fairly expensive activewear brand. What was more hurtful than taking almost a decade to release plus size leggings, is the direct and indirect message the brand is giving and spreading. When you think of Lululemon, you don’t think of a diversity and inclusivity.
The brand has catered to a specific niche - thin, middle to upper class white women ages 20-40 years old, and until recently has also marketed as such. As the brand expanded and gained popularity by donning the “Alo” on its clothing, the plus size community continued to feel ostracized. It also gave permission to society to continue to marginalize fat people by exclusion.
Do you remember the last time you put on a pair of leggings that rolled down or accentuated your love handles? Did it make you feel sexy, like the models looked in the ad when you decided to make the purchase? You likely felt frustrated, uncomfortable, and a little sad that the clothes in your closet made you look like a wrung towel.
Tribe 35 began as a solution to this problem. Not only do our products perform, our intention behind the brand is apparent when you put the pieces on and connect with other women who feel the same love for their activewear.
We know that shopping as a plus size woman, it is difficult to even find clothes that don't look like bedsheets in department stores, let alone to trust buying online because you just don't know if it will fit. Tribe 35 let's you choose your fit of leggings based upon what results you want the leggings to give you.
If you want to compress your midsection and lift your butt, the patent pending Corset Legging is the best product for you. With its buttery soft opaque fabric, this premium compression legging features custom built in shapewear. If you want to contour your body, our fan favorite V-Legging will give any body an hourglass shape. Squat safely and bend without your waistband rolling in the Ultra-High Waist Legging that controls your belly and lower back for maximum support.
What makes Tribe 35 different? We’re for women like us who represent the majority. We fit on curvy straight size women and plus size women when we’re developing our leggings from inception. Sample rejection after rejection, costing us a lot of time and money, in order to create products that actually perform for us, was worth it. Our purpose is to cater to larger bodies so that we never feel like an afterthought.
Body shapes and weight distribution differs between straight sizes, which go up to a size 10 in the fashion world, and plus sizes which start at size 12. To truly be size inclusive and cater to all women, you must place the same level of importance on the fit of all sizes that you offer. Plus size leggings and straight size leggings of the same style should fit the body similarly so that all customers have the same positive experience.
Have you tried Lululemon's “extended sizes”? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Chichi Offor of Refinery 29