Lululemon Is Finally Introducing Extended Sizes
"Inclusion is a journey, and we know we have work to do."
This article originally appeared on Shape.com.
Lululemon has made a name for itself with stylish, yet comfortable, and functional activewear. But since its launch in 1998, the brand has often been called out for its lack of inclusive sizing. Starting this month, that's about to change.
On Wednesday, Lululemon announced it will now offer six of its core styles in sizes 0-20. By the end of 2021, the brand expects that "the majority" of its women's clothing will be available in more inclusive size ranges, Lululemon CEO, Calvin McDonald said in a recent earnings call.
"It's a start," reads an Instagram announcement of the new size range. "Inclusion is a journey, and we know we have work to do. We're committed to launching more inclusive gear every season."
In a video accompanying the Instagram announcement, Audrey Milligan Reilly, senior vice president of women's design at Lululemon, shared a peek at some of the BTS work that goes into creating extended sizes.
"Doing this type of work isn't a case of just flipping a switch," she explained. "We've actually spent the last 2-3 years re-looking at body types. It's about understanding how that material maps on the body" and "engineering for the body in motion."
With the help of 3D programs and live fit sessions in motion with women with different body types, Lululemon has been working on recreating everything from pocket placement to intricate seam details. "We really looked to a process of remastering our patterns and making sure they were all accurate to our new vision," said Reilly.
The initial rollout features six of Lululemon's most popular styles: the Fast and Free Tight (Buy It, $128, lululemon.com), the Define Jacket (Buy It, $118, lululemon.com), the Align Pant (Buy It, $98, lululemon.com), the Wunder Train High Rise Tight (Buy It, $98, lululemon.com), the Ready to Rulu Jogger (Buy It, $108, lululemon.com), and the Long Distance Short Sleeve tee, (Buy It, $68, lululemon.com).
Though Lululemon has been among the most popular activewear brands for years, the company has frequently been subject to not only criticism about its limited size offerings, but also claims of retail staffers body-shaming shoppers, as well as several instances of fatphobic remarks by the company's founder, Chip Wilson, who stepped down from his role as chairman in 2013. That same year, claims circulated that Lululemon's largest sizes (at the time, sizes 10 and 12) were "rarely restocked" and were often "relegated to a separate area at the back of the store, left clumped and unfolded under a table," according to The Huffington Post.
As recently as 2017, Lululemon shoppers have reported multiple instances of body-shaming by Lululemon staff, even taking to the brand's own social media channels to share their experiences. (ICYDK, body-shaming is an international problem.)
"We realize we've got much more work to do behind the scenes," Reilly said in Lululemon's announcement video.
It's high time Lululemon started offering extended sizes—and, as the brand has admitted, it still has a long way to go toward making all shoppers feel welcomed and included.
For now, though, these upgraded styles are definitely a step in the right direction. (If you're still waiting for Lululemon to make your size, here are more size-inclusive activewear brands to check out in the meantime.)