Embracing True Inclusivity: A Reflection from the Heart of Activewear

Nyanza Lynn Riley

As the owner of  Plusletics® Apparel , a boutique that caters to the activewear needs of women from all walks of life, the recent revelations about Lululemon have been deeply concerning. The allegations of racial discrimination within the company bring to light an issue that is all too common in the retail industry, but often remains hidden.

In 2004, Lululemon’s founder, Chip Wilson, made remarks about the brand’s name that were insensitive towards Japanese people, illustrating a problematic mindset from the company’s inception . More recently, reports have surfaced of a company culture unwelcoming to Black people, with leaders allegedly using stereotypes to ostracize minority employees and create barriers to their career advancement . Despite forming an Inclusion Diversity, Equity, and Action (IDEA) department in 2020, some employees have described this effort as prioritizing the company’s image over the genuine wellbeing of minority employees.

The experiences shared by employees like Kenosha Armstrong and Michael “Muffy” Collins at Lululemon’s Hyde Park location in Chicago’s historically Black South Side, and the subsequent complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, are particularly troubling. They speak of a culture that not only fails to support Black employees but actively discriminates against them  . Another employee, Adetimisola “Timi” Ogundipe, believed he was targeted and ultimately dismissed for not adhering to a white, corporate communication style, despite his colleagues using similar language.

At  Plusletics® Apparel, we believe in the power and necessity of true inclusivity. Our mission goes beyond offering sizes and styles for all; it’s about creating a space where every individual feels valued, respected, and understood. The allegations against Lululemon serve as a reminder of the ongoing struggle against racial bias and discrimination in the business world.

Lululemon’s statement about their progress since launching IDEA highlights the complexity of these issues . However, real change requires more than just policies and departments; it demands a fundamental shift in attitudes and practices at every level of an organization.

As a black woman in the retail space, I am committed to ensuring that  Plusletics® Apparel not only stands against discrimination but actively promotes a culture of inclusivity and respect. This commitment is reflected in how we operate, whom we serve, and the values we uphold.

In light of these developments, it’s crucial for all of us in the retail industry to re-examine our practices and strive towards creating environments where diversity is celebrated and everyone has the opportunity to succeed. It’s not just good for business; it’s essential for a just and equitable society.

As we continue our journey towards a more inclusive and diverse future in activewear, I invite you to join us by signing up for our exclusive, free newsletter, Plusletics® Pulse. By subscribing, you’ll gain insider access to our latest collections, special offers, local events, and insightful articles that empower and inspire. Plus, don’t miss out on Plusletics® Info TV, airing weeknights at 8:30 pm CST on Facebook Business Page  Plusletics Apparel, where we discuss everything from fashion, products, industry trends, & collaborations with other small businesses owners bring value to you.

To join our community, simply leave your email address and mobile number on our home page. Your support and engagement are not just valued – they’re essential in driving forward the change we all wish to see in the world of activewear.

Together, let’s make fashion a space where everyone belongs.

Remember to Be Happy Be Healthy Be Well.  

Nyanza Lynn Riley Owner of  Plusletics® Apparel and Your Ego Booster 

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