Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Comments on the New Website Model Photos

You might not have noticed (unless you are on the website as much as me you probably didn't) but the model photos for the Tranquil Blue SS Swiftly were switched out over the past few days. The photo on the left is the original photo at last week's upload and the one on the right is the new version. In tonight's upload, quite a few new products sported this new styling which I assume is part of the website revamp this is supposed to start this summer. Here are some more examples of the new photo style:





What's being conveyed here? Is she winded? Cramping up?
Rubbing her aching back?
Close ups are key - good for showing the pattern detail.

Is this a real life position? What information is this telling me? It's hiding the details of the design and fit.
I want a full-on back view. 
What information is this photo telling me about this jacket? This is a useless photo.

I definitely like the brighter lighting, but I can't say I like the farther distance. I also find the poses odd. I don't understand what the photographer is going for in a lot of the photos. Honestly, it all continues to look very amateurish. The girl in the Dashing Purple top looks like she is in pain in some of her photos. The loyal lululemon customer - the one who once she discovered the brand has been sticking with them through these past few crappy years - takes her athletic clothing seriously. She is willing to pay extra for performance, functionality, fit, design, and comfortable fabrics because it allows her to forget about her clothes and focus on her workout. These photos convey nothing about athleticism (one reason is the female models aren't particularly muscular). They're quirky. They're cute, I guess. I think they'd be ok for a casual brand but I don't think they work for the performance stuff. More importantly, they don't convey much information to me. I want to see closer full-on front and back views, particularly if there is a print or pattern, and the design and functional details, such as cord tunnels or thigh pockets. I want to see the inside of the bags. I honestly feel a bit insulted by these photos. Give us photos that convey information to make a shopping decision. Give us photos that sell us the clothes. I don't think these are those photos. 





Before you could order off the website, lululemon would post new items on their website and then tell you to visit the store. They would post front-only invisible people in the pieces. I actually don't mind these types of photos at all. I find it easy to imagine myself in this type of photo and they give me a great idea of the fit and look the designer was going after. 

31 comments:

Sophie said...

I totally agree with everything you said here. It got me thinking about something I've seen some beauty websites doing lately - they've started to show swatches of the same product on varying skin tones. Following suit, I'd LOVE to see a single Lulu item modeled on ladies of various builds. Instead of wasting 3 of 7 shots of a product on models just looking cute but not actually giving helpful views of the product, how awesome would it be if they substituted shots of, for example, that SS Swiftly on a woman with a more muscular build, and on a curvy/busty gal? I'm sure this is never going to happen because it would probably add to the cost of photo shoots, but, just my two cents!

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you.

Anonymous said...

What is the model in the first photo supposed to be doing? Picking a piece of lint off her sleeve? These photos do not draw me to the product at all. The models are waifs and don't give me a very good idea of how a garment is supposed to fit. The odd poses and facial expressions are distracting. I much prefer the stock photos from four or five years ago--fit but not skinny models, neutral poses, with natural smiles on their faces.

Hannah said...

Yeah...what is happening? Not only do they looked hypersexualized, but also really photoshopped to look even skinnier...nothing wrong with being skinny, but when that's the ONLY beauty standard lulu is shipping, this seems suspicious. Take a look at the top photo...in the new one, her waist and legs look noticeably smaller. And the gap between her right arm and body looks awkwardly large to me. What!?

These photos tell me that lulu's branding approach isn't "functional, detailed, innovative, beautiful clothing for athletic women who will shell out for high quality gear", but "high priced clothing that is hit or miss but sells no matter what and is geared towards people insecure enough to think that the lulu symbol means they're skinny, rich, and sexy". I can tell you that the latter branding approach might be successful for a quarter or two, but IS NOT successful for the long term.

GET IT TOGETHER, LULULEMON.

Katrina said...

Boy, I seriously heart this blog and your writing.

Anonymous said...

Two words... HATE IT! The poses look amateurish and don't show the clothing. I used to shop online at Anthropologie until they thought it was a good idea to replace the dress forms that held clothing with real models. It ruined the whole ambiance of the website and brand. I don't shop there anymore and it seems like LLL is doing everything they can to push me away as well.

Melanie O said...

LOL! Those new photos look like a joke. Those poses are ridiculous! I really like the product photoshoots they do though. Like with athletes in the gym/outside/surfing whatever the activity, wearing the clothing. It shows the functionality and the product in action. However, I do like the brighter lighting and dislike the distance as you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

I was looking at the OTD hoodie bit struggled to see what it would actually look like. As you mentioned, it's tough to see the product for its detailing. I didn't get it as its really not cute nor my style. Plus, I fear it becoming the replacement for the Scuba. Heavens no.

Anonymous said...

I actually like their old no person photos! I wish they would go back to that.

Rise and Shine said...

Agree on the silliness of the new poses. More problematic are the ones where the models are apparently told to look sexy. I don't think I can phrase this right, but it feels like this is a man telling a woman's story. Like the woman wants to be healthy and energetic and the man just wants to frame her through a sexy lens. It feels like women keep saying they are 3 dimensional and always there's some man insisting that no matter what they're doing, their sex appeal is the most important thing about them. I know I didn't express that well, but perhaps some of you will understand what I'm trying to say.

Anonymous said...

I did notice the new photo style in the upload in the l/s swiftly tranquil blue. I loved the shot. Did not realize there more shots of this ilk. I prefer the new photo style. I like the vibe/energy. I understand the potential concern re viewing closeups of product detail. I'll have to see if it affects my buying in any way.

LuluAddict said...

@Rise and Shine - I agree with you about a man telling the story, though I came to it from a different angle. I think a ton of women like to see informational photos of the product and these photos seem to be a lot of "style" rather than substance. Before I started selling out of my own account on eBay I used to have my husband sell stuff for me and I had an old Coach purse I was selling. Since he is a guy he posted a photo of the back of the purse and when I complained to him saying women need to see multiple photos of the purse, he was like, 'What does it matter?' and I had to tell him women really care. They want to see every angle - back, top, sides, bottom, inside. I may not have a background in marketing but I know what appeals to me as a consumer and as a seller on eBay I think I have it pretty dialed in as to what kind of photos help me sell my old stuff.

My other issue with being a bit annoyed at the composition of the photos is that brands like Nike and Athleta put their clothing on women with obvious muscle tone. To me that says, we see you as an athlete and you will look like more of a badass athlete in our clothes. Having skinny models frolicking around in the clothes kind of says to me, oh, we think you guys just wear these clothes because they're pretty. I don't get it, because lululemon has real functional, performing clothing but they seem to be presenting them to be more on the fashion aspect rather than performance. I say leave that to the Stella McCartney Adidas and Carbon 38 type brands. A lot of stuff I see on that site is very fashionable but it doesn't look super functional. And, you'll note, the men's lululemon is not marketed from a fashion perspective.

@Melanie O - I agree the banner and outdoor action shots are a lot better. They at least show the women women being active.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you LLA and Rise and Shine. I much prefer to look at the women on the Athleta website because they are strong and muscular without being overly so. However, I do feel that in the area where I live women either use lll for fitness or they just wear it casually around town.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Lulu hired stylists & photographers from the fashion industry. This is what they do: create fantasy images of women with light & photoshop; and pretend it's not about the clothes but the art & story. It appeals to W/Vogue readers, no so much to SI/ESPN fans. You are right, it isn't what will work for marketing functional performance wear--if that is what Potdevin/Lulu intends. Maybe they don't? I'm sure Potdevin is familiar with this style of marketing. Maybe he thinks it will be brilliant cutting edge for athletic wear. However, too many women are interested in more than a logo & something to throw on for a fancy lunch.

Women are more evolved than the fashion industry. We know we want clothing that can perform well and hold up well in physical activity in addition to style. We are working for strength and tone. We want clothing that supports us. Who wants to pay $100 for athletic pants that don't work and only look good on someone who intentionally has no muscle tone?

Anonymous said...

I much prefer to see the store pics with real women wearing the item, after I've red the information, fit, material function on the web site.

I get a much better idea and detailed pictures from these photos than the actual web site modeled shots.

So, thanks LLA for posting all the store shots of ed's wearing the gear, because otherwise i would have to go looking for them myself. <3

Anonymous said...

You guys are so hilarious! Picking lint, achy crampy, winded, stretching poorly, prancing like a sissy, whatever it is, it doesn't show me the product. I like to see the deets! Need texture close ups, need seaming snapshots, are there puckers or ruching? I want to see it! I had no idea that the Race Your Pace LS had a subtle neckline pucker until I received it. So cute! Later on photos gave that perspective in later released colors, but really? A bag with no inside shots? WTH? We need to see what we're getting!

D. D. Ramsell said...

I'd like a close up of a deep squat or a stiff legged deadlift. my biggest problem with the pants is the sheerness, and if lulu did photos in poses of real life workouts or fitness, like rock climbing or actual white water rafting with their gear they to could see if there were problems and actually fix them before they roll out to the public. Give the models dimensions as well, it would help everyone if we knew the height, bra size excreta and what size the model is wearing,. especially the swim wear..which id like to cover my booty when I go SUP

Anonymous said...

Great post and discussion here. Commenter Rise and Shine nailed what seems dumb about this to me.

Another issue here is that it "juvenilizes" (yup, I just made up that word) and trivializes the models, and, by extension, us. Like, "Oh, who has time to work out, I would rather frolic merrily and pointlessly about in my non-functional clothing!"
I commented in the previous post about keeping Athleta catalogs around as fitspiration, and LLA makes an excellent point in her 11:11PM comment. Besides the obvious practical uses, I buy workout gear so I can feel like a badass athlete. Feeling like a fluffy little puff of frippery isn't especially appealing to my mindset and the approach I take to exercise.
I work out because I want to be a strong, capable, healthy woman, and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. The "stories" these pictures are telling do not even remotely reflect or speak to me.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 7:09 am - I was thinking that, too, about the poses seeming juvenile so I hopped over to the Ivivva site to see what their poses looked like to see if lulu poached their photographer/web stylist - nope. Their product poses were fairly functional for the most part.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you said LLA. I really like the lighting on the new photo's, but they are not properly displaying the details of the clothes. I really don't care about the models. I am not interested in sexy. I am interested in the clothes. At least do shots where the clothes are properly highlighted, not the models. These girls are sticks. That's nice. I am not. Slim, yes. But as a 40 year old mother of 3, I would like a picture that gives me an idea of what the clothing will look like on me. Like the bathing suit year over year fail that continues to be designed for women with absolutely no ass and body fat. These suits would have looked great on me at 18. Not now. As it stands now, I cannot get an idea from the website photos so I usually just guess or go into the store. I like the old photo's too with athletic builds and natural smiles.

Anonymous said...

LLA, you nailed it! Your comments are exactly what I was thinking but was unable to articulate. Most of these shots are completely useless as far as showing me any aspect of the garment or accessory that I might be interested in (fit, function, details). Add me to the list of those who prefer the store photos (well, the photos that aren't of eds sitting around with a Starbucks drink) because you can at least get an idea of how the garment will fit or look when you're actually moving and not just posing. In addition, I'd like to echo several posters who spoke of being more inspired by the way Athleta presents their clothing and their choice of models. Every time I receive an Athleta catalog I wonder why, why, why does LLL not see that this is a much better way to showcase performance clothing? It seems that LLL intentionally has moved in the "fashion" direction and moved away from athleticism as inspiration. I still love LLL, but it's frustrating. Thank you for your blog, LLA!

Anonymous said...

I like the individual shots of the item in action - one was the Tiger Water Speeds. That was the first/main photo and then the studio shots of the item. I don't know what was wrong with that? They didn't do it for every item but they should. And they should take the filter off and make them more bright and vibrant again. THAT is what sells the clothes. The new poses are ridiculous looking.

Agreed that it looks very amateurish. I will say this - it's nice to see combed/braided hair and some makeup (on the blond) vs the greasy, oily "I have the flu" look of late.....

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 7:55 am - The lack of busts on nearly all the lululemon models really irks me. Athleta models typically have a bit of a chest. They should at least do 50-50 itty bittys and women with more up top. Right now, it's like 95-5.

Anonymous said...

I don't pay any attention to the photos on the website. I don't look like the models and the clothes don't fit me like the models. I rely on this blog and the photos posted by my local store to determine if something is worth trying on.

I actually wish they would have their ambassadors model some of the clothes.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 12:26 pm - Yes! They should use their ambassadors to model. I totally agree with that.

Anonymous said...

I like the way Athleta does their models in the catalogs much better. They are in gym or "workout environments" and are doing purposeful movements in their clothing, you can see how the clothing moves and fits very well that way I think. PLUS the women actually look like women athletes, not teens trying to starve themselves

Anonymous said...

I miss the older models that they used to have on their website. My favourite was Jenn. I liked the fact that she wasn't a professional model and that she was a "regular" person. Several years ago a LLA commentator posted a link to Jenn's site which is called A Smile in My Heart.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the lighting and the new poses, but none of the thoughts you articulated went through my head. :) I didn't mind them at all, though I do agree that a close-up of the full front and back would be beneficial. I also really dislike the phantom models and prefer to see them on an actual person, whatever body shape they may be. Different strokes for different folks, I guess! I really liked someone's idea that they put the height, weight, and size that the model is wearing. That would be really helpful!

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 7:08 am - size and measurement info on models would be useful

Anonymous said...

If I went by the photos of the models of any of these websites starting with lulu, sweaty betty splits 59 I would not buy a thing.

like 5:41 said they are going for the high fashion art type style or look. It just makes the clothing seem more high end.


M

Anonymous said...

I like to see clear shots of front, back, I do like to see clothing on a model as it can give a better idea of lengths and I like to see as much measurement info as possible (something lacking on many websites). You would think that eliminating returns would be the most important consideration but we have free returns in UK (I guess because we have only a couple of stores here at the moment) so if in doubt I can just order and then return and Lululemon will pay...their loss!