A former Lululemon Athletica employee is claiming that the upscale athletic clothes store discriminates against plus-sized women by making larger-sized clothing less accessible to customers.
The former employee, Elizabeth Licorish, said she worked at a Lululemon Athletica store in Philadelphia for four months, when she noticed store managers were keeping larger sized yoga pants in the back of the store and restocking larger pants less frequently than they did those for skinny people, according to the Huffington Post.
The Lululemon Athletica brand is known to sell expensive clothing, with its yoga pants costing about $100.
The larger sized pants — sizes 10 and 12 — were treated less carefully than the pants in smaller sizes, Licorish said. She added that the larger pants were left unfolded underneath a table while the smaller pants were displayed around the store, according to the Business Insider.
"All the other merchandise in the store was kind of sacred, but these were thrown in a heap," Licorish said. "It was definitely discriminatory to those who wear larger sizes."
Some consumer advocates have said the store’s treatment of plus-sized clothing reflects its ultimate goals to promote the image that it is a store for skinny women and that skinny people are physically fit.
The store’s lack of care for its larger-sized items strikes a sour chord with many American consumers concerned with weight discrimination in America and companies that promote negative body images for overweight people.
Two months ago, Michael Jeffries, the CEO of the clothing store Abercrombie & Fitch, angered some consumers by saying his store chose not to sell clothing extra-large sizes because he wanted to “alienate” people who are unattractive, according to the NY Daily News.
“We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends,” Jeffries said. “A lot of people don’t belong (in our clothes,) and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
Companies such as Lululemon and Abercrombie & Fitch seem to have resisted a growing trend in clothing stores to boost business by carrying plus-sized clothing. Multiple stores have opted to market to larger-sized customers by opening up stores specially tailored to their apparel needs.