Tuesday, January 31, 2006

just say no to excessive yoga marketing

"paying more than US$100 for yoga or any kind of exercise clothing has got to be one of the trendiest consumer rip-offs around."

hear, hear. absolutely, judie & evelinda!

i know many of the yoginis who market this stuff -- like shiva rea's shiva-shakti gear mentioned in the above piece or even christy turlington's nuala line -- are fantastic, well-meaning students and teachers. they've worked hard to promote yoga, to offer quality instruction.

so in our american system, when the big apparel corporation comes to them and offers them a license deal for clothes, you can understand why they say yes. they have earned their success, and deserve to enjoy a decent living from their years of toil.

no doubt.

but these clothes are usually ridiculously over-priced (US$115 for a pair of yoga pants???), and i wonder where they are made. i know nuala supports a lot of charities.

but it couldn't support charities at a mere, oh, US$30 a pair? nuala is owned by global mega-corporation puma, after all; they can give money to a lot of charities, and they do!

puma is listed with fair labor, which supposedly offer some guarantee that at least the people who actually sew the fancy nuala yoga garments aren't exploited. otherwise, it would be a violation of the yogic principle (or yama) of ahimsa, non-harming.

the shiva-shakti gear is made by the marika corporation, which makes a wide variety of dance and fitness wear. these clothes are much more reasonably priced than the nuala; a pair of yoga pants is only US$50.

i couldn't find any links on the marika site as to where or how the yoga line is manufactured.

the problem, as i see it, is that of the yogini. women's yoga clothes have some technical requirements, sure: stretchy, but not too loose; good gussets so you don't split your pants in fany poses; fabric that wicks away moisture; soft on the skin, not itchy; easy to wash; long-lasting; etc.

but beyond those, which you can get with say, run-of-the-mill champion yoga pants for US$20 in a great variety of real sizes, what else does a yogini need? champion also supports charity.

however, champion is owned by sara lee, known in other contexts of this website until recently as a dread member of the "big four" multi-national coffee roasters. and sara lee has been charged with the issue of sweatshop labor (see 2002 and 2004).

to be fair, sara lee does have an ethical standards guideline program on its website. if that's enforced is another question, of course, since apparently sara lee doesn't allow independent inspections of its plants.

you may want to keep this mind when considering your purchase of yoga wear.

perhaps some yoginis trying to make a great display of their wealth or status with the cut of their pants, which might contradict the yama known as aparigraha, non-greed? isn't this one of the things we are studying yoga to try to avoid?

i think a somewhat better plan of yogic action might be to buy more sensible, more ethically made yoga gear, don't you? many companies fill this niche, such as inner waves.

i personally do all my yoga in marika clothes that i buy at century 21 at 75% off! i hope they answer my email asking about their labor practices!

posted by fortune | 9:10 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 2 comments

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