Thursday, August 4, 2016

Bye Bye Polyester Prints?

Polyester print Wunder Under Pants on left, Nylon Pace Rivals on right - note how vibrant the Pace Rivals are. 

A significant portion of lululemon fans are Princess and the Pea-types - we're very attuned to the tactile feel of fabrics against our body. I'm betting many of us got hooked on the brushed cotton feel of vintage luon and the silkiness of luxtreme. Not only did we like the pleasant feel of these fabrics but we also appreciated the breathability performance. When full-on luon and full-on luxtreme were introduced three years ago it was to mixed reaction. The material often felt harsh and prints were a polyester/lycra blend instead of the nylon/lycra used in the solids. Not only did the polyester often feel different - people have described it as icky, scratchy, slick - but the material was often thick, stiff, and less breathable, which made for a hotter workout.


Polyester prints also tended to "fade" (I believe the industry term is grin) when stretched, too. However, starting with the Posey Print in March prints started fading less and were more saturated and vibrant. A peek at the fabric content tag had a clue as to what was going on, the full-on luxtreme was now a nylon/lycra blend - no more polyester. The new no-fade nylon fabric has been used on several recent prints: Pop Cut, Dottie Tribe, Deep Sea, and now the new Emperor Blue Hounds Camo. The new luxtreme fabric most often showed up in run bottoms, such as the Pace Rival crops. As can be seen in the photo at the top of this post, the Pop Cut print came in both polyester-blend (Wunder Under Pants) and nylon-blend full on luxtreme (Pace Rival Crops).

What is interesting about the new Emperor Blue Hounds Camo print is that luon has also gotten rid of the polyester:


I'm pretty excited about this new development. I always found the polyester prints hotter and rather icky feeling but I put up with them since they came in a print I really liked. I assume the move to nylon is one reason for the recent price increases since nylon is more expensive to manufacture than polyester. Lululemon needs to do a better job of communicating all the technical developments they are going to be implementing. I've read educators are supposed to explain them but quite a few customers shop on line and won't hear the discussion.  Moreover, the price increases might have been easier to swallow if it were accompanied by a demonstration of new features being incorporated into the clothing.






11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always thought nylon was super cheap to produce made from recycled plastic? I guess I will have to read up more....though the amount of fabric in product hardly justifies $128....old Navy can sell theirs for $20 and still profit....wuc and wups are so easy and fast to cut and sew with the sergers. ....

Anonymous said...

Honestly, they should have just matched the quality to the prices the way they were. We used to pay less for good quality, then they started to cheap out and charged more, imo they should have just raised the quality back up to match the prices we have been paying recently.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 3:18 am - I think polyester is the fabric made from recycled plastic. Are the clothes from Old Navy made from nylon or polyester? Most of the higher end brands use nylon. Cheaper brands always have polyester.

@anon 6:11 am - I think they are trying to stay even with other high end brands, like Sweaty Betty, Lorna Jane, Koral, Splits59. etc. Take a look at the brands on Carbon38 and Bandier. A lot of them are pretty pricey though it seems to me a lot of the stuff on those sites goes to sale, too.

I honestly don't think the quality is that bad, not when compared to the nadir days of Christine Day with bleeding fabrics, terrible stitching (take a look at this Define: http://www.luluaddict.com/2012/07/caveat-emptor-why-i-returned-my-pow.html), rampant camel toe (I used to have to censor a lot of the photos). I do think the stitching on the back of the neck of this CRB could be a lot better, though.

Anonymous said...

I really dislike the high polyester garments and the difference is extremely noticeable. I have one pair of pace rivals that have polyester and they make a swishing sound and feel like plastic bags on my legs. I am selling those, and have already sold all my print CRB's that had polyester. Loved the prints but those were super scratchy, especially once you start sweating. I have also figured out which items from Athleta have low or no polyester and will be sticking to those as well.

Anonymous said...

ahh well yes this makes perfect sense. that's why the products already on the floor un sunday went up in price on Monday: they magically transformed from a polyester blend to a luon blend overnight! (read the sarcasm in this comment...)

but honestly, sure, charge more for new design or whatever. but charging more for something that was already available a day before, that's not cool with me. it will take time before a buy a product that jumped in price...let's see if my memory ever fails me.

heartetaks said...

Old Navy uses polyester. It is scratchy, awful and not breathable. Used to wear it all the time, but can't stand it anymore since I switched to lulu a few years ago. I heard nylon can be made recycled now too, but I don't think it is very common.

Anonymous said...

Nice write up! I am very much a princess and the pea type and only buy non-denim luon nylon blends and cherish the few patterns I have . This change has me interested in the Emperor Blue Hounds camo WUs.

Anonymous said...

I wish they'd stop calling them "educators." They absolutely are not.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:57 AM, I agree, but not simply because they're not all that educated when it comes down to it, but because it just sounds silly, imo. "educators" and "guests"... it's just weird (and not in a good kind of weird way)... I've always just stuck with saying employee and customer.

Anonymous said...

The educators have been pretty clueless in the Shops of Legacy Plano TX store. They are nice, but really they need to know more about their products. Every time I go I'm, I'm looking for something very specific, and I have it down to color and type. For example, I might ask for a Boom Juice Energy bra, and they look at me with a clueless look. Also, back with the In The Flow crops all got marked down, I went in and asked if any were left on MD, and the educator said, "oh, do you mean In flux crops?" I said, "No, In the Flows" and she continued to look confused and said, "no, we don't". I walked around and found a rack of them marked down to $34. Pretty frustrating to do any shopping in the store. I only go when I have no other choice. I for sure wouldn't trust anything they told me.

Lululover said...

Not everybody is obsessed with lululemon that's for sure! Lol not even lululemon employees. They always tell me at my store that I know more about their product than they do. We joke about it. Also, when I go to the gym( I'm a member of two big chains) I don't see that many women clad in lulu like I am. Maybe just couple more, but majority wears UA or some other brands, that appear to be less expensive. My other observation is that people wear more lulu casually outside of the gym much more than for workouts.