Telling a Lulu from a Lemon

Lululemon, makers of the the comfortable cult yoga pants that can vacuum-pack your thighs in place before you've done a single downward dog, has an unusual approach to fighting fakes:  transparency.  And we're not talking fabric. 

Many frequently copied companies treat the issue of counterfeits like the elephant in the living room.  Everyone knows its there, but -- by order of the PR department -- nobody mentions it out loud lest the brand be associated in the public mind with cheap knockoffs.

Others openly acknowledge the problem, but only in statements about the harm caused by copying.  A few go so far as to provide a link for consumers to report suspected fakes, but you probably won't find it on the front page of the website.

Lululemon has gone one step further, posting a detailed explanation of how to spot a counterfeit hoodie, complete with 9 points of comparison and closeup photos of the real one (grey) and the fake (shocking pink, alas).  These range from the obvious, like misspelled words on the fake tag, to particular construction details, like flatlocked versus merely serged seams.  While Lulu may very well be holding back a few covert particulars to avoid giving copyists a complete how-to guide, the information is sufficient to help fans feel knowledgeable and avoid unscrupulous sellers.  At the same time, it underscores the message of quality in a cool way that merely announcing, "Hey, look at our YKK zippers and straight topstitching!" couldn't. 

Lululemon_zipper_pull_and_fake.jpgIn the words of Lululemon's mix-and-match manifesto, a collection of exhortations and aphorisms, "Life is full of setbacks.  Success is determined by how you handle setbacks."  If Lulu's approach to the cheap copies is any indication, predicting the company's success doesn't take much of a stretch. 

Thanks to thoughtful Counterfeit Chic reader Briana C. Hill for the tip!