happy spring my dears!
today i feel exceptionally refreshed, reborn, and renewed. might be in part because it's a beautiful day, it's spring, i just did yoga asana, and i spurred a somewhat intense and interesting debate on the purusha facebook page.
i have a lot of work to do today, dyeing and loads of etsy convos and emails to respond to, but i felt like i just had to get this off my chest before anything else could be done with productivity. i have to express my lingering thoughts on the lululemon thread i opened up. (if you don't know what i'm talking about, refer to the FB page, or maybe you'll understand from my comments below)!
i'd like to begin by saying once again a very sincere apology to anyone i offended. it was obviously not my intent to make anyone feel attacked, and the last thing i'd ever want to do is alienate my very own customers. i have a lot of friends that are lululemon ambassadors, and i totally get that lulu helps to promote and support yoga teachers. and of course that's a good thing. yesterday i just felt very frustrated with seeing lulu freakin' everywhere. on the news, on my fellow yogis in my news feed, on so many yogis in the studios i go to. i totally understand that according to a lot of people, they just make the best yoga pants. if someone else made better, they'd be buying from that someone else. and i was not attacking lulu yesterday because 'they were down' already from recalling a bunch of pants, and i'm not jealous and judgmental. though i suppose the harshness of my post made it appear that way.
honestly, i just have this huge passion for ethical treatment of employees in factories. maybe it's because my dad has had to work some really shitty jobs in my lifetime, and i've hated seeing how these jobs have broken his spirit. and these jobs he's worked are not even close in the slightest to the terror and disrespect people go through working in factories overseas. from documentaries i've watched, there is no oversight. many ceos have never even been to the factories. brands that do manufacture clothing overseas try to promote that they have ethical standards on their websites, but these countries have their own lack of standards that override any of this. children can work, women often are sexually harassed, and workers frequently work 70 hours a week! i could preach all day long about this, and really it's stuff we all already know. i don't need to tell you.
a commenter on the thread said something along the lines that is is very hard to escape china. where does fabric come from? where is it printed and woven? the world's economy truly makes it difficult to not buy in china. i asked patrick, who seems to know everything about the world (lol), 'what would happen if we really stopped buying clothing made in china? like everyone just boycotted?' patrick basically explained that the whole world economy would collapse. world demand for products would be down, and businesses worldwide would suffer for it. china could even redeem their american bonds, causing interest rates for borrowing money for us to skyrocket. so basically the world in 2013 goes round because of exploitation and underpaid work. my naivety in invisioning utopia was keeping me from understanding this sad truth. philosophy is simply philosophy, it may or may not be able to exist in the present real world.
the comments on that post really got me thinking. like one person said, more than any photo of a green smoothie or a beautiful sunset. yesterday i felt very very upset. i knew before posting that i was bringing up a topic that was risque and controversial, yet very close to a lot of people i know's lives. 'real yogis don't wear lululemon'. i posted this line kinda in jest and in haste, and considered for a moment making a t shirt that said it. a lot of people 'liked' the post, and a lot of people jumped on me for saying this. i went through my day yesterday very anxious and dreading checking the thread. patrick said to me, 'maybe you aren't cut out to stir up a little controversy. it's only a small FB post. imagine if you launched a whole anti-lulu campaign? you would die of stress.' he's right. i am really sensitive, and ha, not very tough. i'm a non-confrontational wimp.
patrick, liam, and i went on a walk together so i could literally walk away from this mess. we talked a lot about ethics, the world, and yoga people. for a dark moment i just wanted to quit purusha. silly huh. just quit, or stop making yoga clothes and make "regular" clothes instead. the world is run upon cheap labor, consumers often can't get around buying from made in china, and i've alienated my customers. ugh, those were my tough realizations. and i also felt overwhelmed with a sense of guilt for making anyone feel bad. i hate to make people feel bad, i rarely ever do it. i spoke of how i dislike in the yoga community when we critique something we are called judgmental. i seriously hate that. and how feeling negative and upset is un-yogic. no, judgment is how we survive and make decisions, and feeling bad is the over side of the coin of happiness. these processes are natural and should not be suppressed. i understand now that how i phrased my thread made people feel judged, but my intent really was to bring about awareness and judgment upon sweatshop labor marketing itself as yoga clothes for spiritual people.
that brings me to another sad reality someone brought up. the yoga industry is no different than any other big business. we live in a monetary world, and money is power. everyone wants a piece of the power. even yogis. even me. lululemon is just cooperating in the global economy as best it can. perhaps the founder of lulu intended on having everything be made in canada, but shareholder interest and investors' money overpowered it all. i have no idea. maybe the ceos of big business think they can affect the world better if they have lots of money for philanthropy. it's not as black and white as i saw it yesterday morning before i posted.
i am by no means saying i would manufacture in sweatshops ever. that hasn't changed. but i understand that keeping things positive with my business is better for me. if i can't handle this very tiny negative response right now, there's no way i can handle it on a bigger scale. i will be open to where purusha leads me. this discussion has even brought me around to considering manufacturing overseas with some sort of fair trade exchange. i hate to say it, but china can make some good stuff. (lululemon clothes are high quality!) imagine if i found a way to better a community by creating a fair working environment? and documented the whole thing for everyone to see? that would be pretty cool. someone also said on the post that lululemon will let you visit its factories. this just made me laugh out loud. any company that practices fair trade working environments with its overseas employees would spotlight the shit out of it. there would be photos, videos, interviews with employees all over the place. but there isn't. fair trade is a market advantage that any business would be smart and proud to hype up. if purusha ever does it, i will share it all. or if purusha stays in america i will share it. either way, i want transparency to be clear in all the production.
what i've learned here is this. to be myself, keep things positive, and constantly adapt my vision. my purusha path will unfold before me, i trust myself to make the right decisions. and i trust you guys. i trust in your feedback and i truly value it. thank you as always for reading, responding, and being involved in this business with me. namaste.