Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lululemon’s “Seaweed” Clothing

I officially started the Compact Challenge today! As part of the process, I decided to clean out my closet. I wanted to get rid of duplicate items.

What I have too many of are scarves. I love scarf because they come in so many shapes, patterns, and colors. I especially went too far with the purchasing of scarf in China during my study in Shanghai. I bought each scarf for a little over a dollar. My consumption of cheap goods has not only took up a lot of my closet space here in the U.S. but it caused me to go over my luggage limit on my return flight from China on United Airlines.

While cleaning, I found my white Lululemon scarf (scarf shown in picture is the same just different color) with two balls at the end of it side. My boyfriend had bought me a really expensive scarf for Christmas with the hope that I would stop buying more. It was 70 dollars. I have never bought a scarf for more than 10 U.S dollars. So I asked myself why I kept it again. Then I recalled my main motive. It was all because Lululemon claimed the scarf had “Seaweed” in it, which was supposed to have some healing effects for the wearer.

This seaweed is supposed to “reduce stress as well as provides anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, hydrating and detoxifying benefits” (CBC News). Without doing my research, I kept the scarf for that reason. However, after a few months, I found several article including one from NYTimes who debunked Lululemon’s claims. This caused a lot of problems regarding the seaweed content. Other articles claimed that the seaweed content is actually 5% and while 95% are wood pulp fibers made by a unique Lyocell process. That content is said to be environmentally-friendly, bio-degradable (Alter).

The revelation made me feel as if I was just another subject sucked into the consumption mode because of a desire derived from a marketing claim rather than because of rationality. How often can I say that “my clothes have seaweed in it?” this propaganda got the best of me. Just like Kawamura claimed in her “Fashion-ology” book, "people in society are susceptible to all kinds of propaganda”(pg86). This scarf was the first clothing item that I cared enough to research on, and I must admit, it made me feel better knowing what I am wearing.


Phung Kim Vo
Blog #1

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