The Canadian based clothing company Lululemon Athletica has never shied away from controversy. Its latest attention-grabbing story centers on the company’s decision to reference a character from a book by Ayn Rand—a decision that has left some yogis out in the cold.
The oblique reference, “Who is John Galt?” has recently appeared on Lululemon shopping bags. According to the company’s website:
You might be wondering why a company that makes yoga clothing has chosen a legendary literary character’s name to adorn the side of our bags. lululemon’s founder, Chip Wilson, first read this book when he was eighteen years old working away from home. Only later, looking back, did he realize the impact the book’s ideology had on his quest to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness (it is not coincidental that this is lululemon’s company vision).
But some more literary yogis don’t agree. Not only is Rand is a conservative hero, but the ideology of John Galt is often thought to embody selfishness and greed, not exactly in line with yoga’s teachings.Buzz asked Lululemon to comment on the reference:
“Lululemon is continually innovating and creating new designs for our shoppers. . . We include these statements on our shoppers to create conversation among our guests. We apologize if our guests find this statement offensive; our intent was simply to initiate conversation, not to offend!”
Read more from the company about why it chose to feature John Galt here or read NPR’s coverage of the controversy.