Yoga Pants

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     In just a few years athleisure has quickly become one of the biggest trends in the retail industry, successfully branding itself as not just clothing, but a lifestyle. More and more retailers are offering athleisure lines that offer both comfort as well as fashion-forward designs that make it easy to wear from the gym straight to brunch. And among the crowd of competitors vying for more market share, several companies stand out as the clear ethical choice.

Current Trend & Status Quo

     As of recently, yoga has been on an upward trend which means they are getting more and more popular along with the fitness style. Many yoga pants companies will sell high quality yoga pants at an extremely high price, but may not pay their workers what they deserve. Those who are serious about their yoga practice tend to buy the best quality pants, but may be indirectly paying major companies to exploit workers and use harmful dyes and chemicals in the process.

Major Players

  • Lululemon: Major player in the yoga apparel world. They offer men’s and women’s clothing, as well as yoga and running accessories. Their net revenue has increased from $40.7M in 2004 to $2B in 2015.
  • Alo Yoga: Another major player, this company sells yoga pants, shirts, bras, mats, yoga straps, and more.
  • Athleta: This company was bought out by Gap in 2008 for about $150M. Gap’s online sales rose from $595M in 2005 to $5B in 2007.

Important Variables

  • Recycles and Organic Fabrics: Sportswear from major brands can contain hazardous chemicals, like phthalates, PFCs, and dimethyl formamide (DMF). Studies suggest we currently don't know the know the full effects of these chemicals or the long-term impacts of repeated exposure on our bodies. Three companies we reviewed have taken a stand and are opting to use organic fabrics and recycled materials. And as it turns out, organic fabrics are better for you – they are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial, good at thermal regulation, and breathable.
  • GOTS Certification: The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the “green” standard to which organic cotton textiles are produced. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain. Only 30 retailers selling leisure wear have received this certification, but many companies are starting to take steps in the right direction by using organic cotton in their products and adopting more fair labor practices.

Why I Chose These Brands

     I chose these three brands because they are environmentally friendly, generally have fair labor standards, and are yoga pants that most people will buy and wear. The first yoga pants brand, prAna, is apparel that many people would buy due to the modern look and comfortable fabrics. With teeki, people who are bolder in their fashion choices would love to buy this brand and for those who may want to have looser fitting, comfort-driven pants, Inner Waves Organics is a good brand to consider. There is an option for everyone, all while helping the environment and ensuring that the pants are made by workers receiving fair wages.


Written by Rachel Payne
Edited by Leslie Chi

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Leslie Chi