Why Is Lululemon Is So Expensive? You Won’t Believe Why!

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As one of the most expensive athleisure brands in the world right now, Lululemon seems overpriced, to say the least.

The label is more popular than high-end designer labels operating in the athleisure market, such as Versace Gym, Tory Sport, and Fenty PUMA.

Lululemon’s most expensive products are limited edition pieces (hoodies, pants, and jackets) reselling for up to 2500 USD online.

Time to uncover the secret strategy used by Lululemon’s founder to turn the company into one of the most expensive brands in the world.

Let’s find out..

Why is Lululemon so Expensive?

Lululemon has become one of the most expensive athleisure brands in the world by using, to perfection, a 3-fold business approach, and here’s how!

1. Intentional Media Scandals

There’s a saying that “any scandal is good, as long as it creates publicity.”

The saying worked wonders for Lululemon’s brand image, and here is why:

In its early days, the brand received much media attention, arguably not for the right reason.

It all started with Chip Wilson‘s (Lululemon brand founder) ‘tongue-in-cheek’ comments about women’s bodies…

Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Blames Women's Bodies for Yoga Pant Problems

… and his views on child labor.

Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson supporting child labour

However, while controversial, these comments were always carefully crafted and placed in media to create brand image and recognition.

The intentional media scandals helped Lululemon gain media attention very fast, right from the start when the label had no money for marketing and advertising.

As expected, the ‘scandals’ created FREE brand discussions on global television channels, forums, Reddit, and Quora, thus, worldwide brand recognition.

The final result, as counterintuitive as it might be, concretized in a lot of criticism but also many fans, high demand, and crazy sales.




2. Celebrity Collaborations

Another ‘key ingredient’ that makes Lululemon expensive is its aspirational status.

Despite the high price tag, Lululemon is one of the most sought-after athleisure labels with a ‘cult-like’ following.

Here’s how Lululemon created such a powerful cult-like image and following.

Instead of spending on advertising and publicity (done by the media for free), Lululemon used the early profits to engage global influencers and celebrities.

Celebrities wearing Lululemon - Kim Kardashian wearing Lululemon X11
Kim Kardashian wearing Lululemon X11.

By launching collaborative collections with world-renown stars, Lululemon gained further brand power.

Many celebrities wore Lululemon leggings, jackets, and yoga mats, getting the general public to follow and buy the brand’s products.

From meditation experts interested in comfortable yoga tops to teenagers looking for squat-proof leggings, Lululemon has them all, celebrity-endorsed.

Celebrities wearing Lululemon - Gisele Bundchen wearing Lululemon Tadasana
Gisele Bundchen wearing Lululemon Tadasana.
Celebrities wearing Lululemon - Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wearing Lululemon zip up jacket and cropped workout pants
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wearing Lululemon zip-up jacket and cropped workout pants.

Lululemon got celebrities interested in the brand by engaging them in Supreme-like limited edition collaborative products.

These limited lines were created with (and for) celebrities, allowing the buyers to showcase taste and social status (through their purchasing power).

The approach paid off, as Lululemon has become a top fashion brand and one of the most expensive athleisure labels.

Roksanda Ilincic collaboration with Lululemon
Roksanda Ilincic x Lululemon collaboration.




3. Material Innovation

But neither clever media scandals nor clouds of celebrity partnerships and endorsements help if your products are crap; pardon my French.

What makes Lululemon special is the company’s obsessive attention to what the buyers want.

Looking at research data in fitness apparel, the company understood that buyers expect two things from activewear products.

    • Performance – outfits that hold up during strenuous exercises.
    • Comfort and Style – apparel that feels and looks great.

To achieve activewear of excellent performance, comfort, and style, Lululemon put together a team of experts.

The team is spearheading the brand’s research and development of sustainable and innovative materials from the brand’s HQ in Vancouver, Canada.

Lululemon whitespace lab
Lululemon testing expert at the label’s ‘Whitespace’ lab

Named the ‘Whitespace Lab,’ this is where Textile, Material, and Design experts experiment with nylon, Lycra, spandex, elastane, cuts, and colors to create aesthetic clothing.

Moreover, Lululemon’s science lab is packed with exercise machines, humidity-controlled chambers, and dunk pools, all required to test products.

Without a doubt, Lululemon is expensive when compared to other athleisure brands, but that’s for 3 key reasons:

  • 1. Media scandals.
  • 2. Collabs with influencers and celebs to create a cult-like following.
  • 3. Material innovation.
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After years of managing hundreds of fashion brands from London's office of a global retailer, Mandy has ventured into freelancing. Connected with several fashion retailers and media platforms in the US, Australia, and the UK, Mandy uses her expertise to consult for emerging fashion brands create top-notch content as an editorial strategist for several online publications.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I have a lot of athleisure gear, Lululemon is my favorite. I like how it feels and people recognize the brand when I am in the gym so that’s a double win for me.

    • You get something out of somebody at a gym recognizing a brand you are wearing?? So shallow. You and those shallow folks like you are the real reason their crap is so expensive. Why not sell something for a ridiculous price when there are stupid, shallow people that will buy it? Moron

  2. I love this brand because it is comfortable and holds up in any exercise, as well as lasts for years. I am buying new items now for myself, not because I need them, but want to add a few new pieces to my collection in colors and styles I don’t have. I still use my first pair of tights I bought in 2014. Great product!

  3. The material is comfortable. The design is so-so. But expensive for the sake of being exclusive. Just like Abercrombie & Fitch.

  4. Just moved from Arizona to central London (Soho) with my husband’s job, he’s in banking, and started taking yoga classes. I’ve seen the Lululemon logo many times and never knew the name of the brand. I felt it was expensive, as most people here have high status and top jobs, cars, etc. Finally I understand why they all wear Lululemon, and just got myself a full yoga set. Great quality, will keep you posted on my Lululemon exploration and London life.

  5. I buy a lot of Lululemon, in particular their collection pieces, but I find the limited editions quite hard to come by, if there’s anybody here that know some sites or exclusive sources of rare lululemon, please share

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