7 Best Lululemon Alternatives for Eco-Friendly Shoppers in 2023

Alright… I’m just going to come out and say it…

I’m so happy to hear that Lululemon is finally being exposed for its greenwashing.

For those of you new to the term, greenwashing is when a company spends more time and money claiming to be environmentally friendly through marketing and advertising than on implementing practices that truly minimize their environmental impact.

It’s like putting on a show, a mirage of sustainability, all while remaining unchanged in their true practices.

I’ve never actually liked or worn Lululemon.

My fiancé doesn’t really either.

Not only do their price tags make our eyes water, but their ethics, or lack thereof, make our hearts heavy. Credit to Edited.com for the chart here:

Chart showing women's legging pricing from different brands.

So look ahead to see the best Lululemon alternatives with some that aren’t featured on the screenshot above.

Their clothing, while praised for its feel and fit, comes at a cost to both our wallets and the environment.

Even though they’ve been around 20+ years, the Lululemon craze took the world by storm in the 2010s when online ecom really started taking off.

Lululemon store front.

Almost overnight, their iconic logo became a must-have, a status symbol of sorts.

I would probably assert it to the influencer movement around that time, but either way – it was the perfect storm for Chip Wilson and his brand.

From the sidewalks of New York City to the gym floors in Los Angeles, Lululemon’s signature pieces became ubiquitous with comfort and style. But behind that emblematic logo there was a real story not everyone was hip to.

Their lack of transparency crushes my soul, I’m just kidding, it doesn’t kill me like that but it is dishonest.

They had the opportunity to set an example for a lot of other brands to follow, and sustainability was not one of those core ethics apparently.

In a world where consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about their purchasing decisions, brands have a moral duty to be upfront.

But instead, Lululemon seemingly took advantage of this “green” movement, riding the wave without diving deep.

But here’s the silver lining: There are plenty of brands doing it right, transparently bringing slow fashion to the front lines.

These are the brands that understand the significance of producing garments that not only look and feel good but are also created in alignment with ethical and sustainable practices.

As conscious consumers, it’s more important than ever that we throw our weight behind these brands and drive the change we need to see in the industry.

Let this be a call to action and a steady movement toward supporting good morality and high quality. We get to raise the standard.

It’s not just about finding a cheaper alternative to Lululemon leggings or any other brand for that matter.

It’s about supporting those who genuinely care for the environment and its people who stand tall with integrity in their practices.

This actually brings us to become a stronger society.

With morality over profit at the forefront.


The Allure of Lululemon Leggings and the Rise of Athleisure

Lululemon, once an underdog in the crowded world of retail fashion, seemed to burst into the limelight overnight.

The introduction of their ‘Lulu high waisted leggings’ not only transformed the company but also revolutionized the entire athleisure industry.

At a time when casual and comfort wear began merging with the realms of fitness, Lululemon was right there, leading the parade with their iconic high waisted leggings.

What made these ‘Lululemon leggings’ so irresistible? First and foremost, the ‘buttery soft’ feel of the fabric.

Slipping into a pair felt like a second skin, a luxurious embrace that promised both comfort and style.

Unlike the rough and restrictive textures of some sportswear, Lululemon offered a fabric blend that was both breathable and indulgent to the touch.

Then, there’s the ingenious ‘tummy control’. (A lot of brands followed this trend, think Skims.)

A feature that many women swear by, this design aspect not only provides support but also has women exuding confidence. No tummy? Plus hugs the hips? You can’t beat it.

CRZ Yoga high waister yoga pants and tank top - one of the best lululemon alternatives on the market

It masterfully combines the benefits of a supportive waistband with the flattering silhouette of high waist and a sculpted midsection, making you feel both snug and streamlined.

But beyond the product itself, Lululemon masterfully cultivated a clothing brand aura that transformed it from a mere clothing label to a lifestyle.

The brand amassed a ‘cult following,’ with enthusiasts often seen not just in the gym, but everywhere from coffee shops to grocery stores, donning their favorite Lulu pieces.

Their marketing tapped into a community ethos, where wearing Lululemon became not just about the comfortable clothes but about belonging to an exclusive club of fitness and fashion.

In essence, the allure of Lululemon is a blend of superior product quality and brilliant branding, both of which contributed to setting the gold standard in the world of the athleisure brands.


Why Look Beyond Lululemon?

In today’s globalized, fast-paced world, the fashion industry, especially the athleisure segment, is more influential than ever.

There are major football coaches (soccer coaches) wearing full athleisure gear during matches, and nearly everyone in San Diego is rocking some form of Vouri or something similar.

Brands like Lululemon have sculpted not just how we dress, but also how we perceive style, quality, and even social status (which is lame in my opinion but this is just what happens with our social environment today).

Yet, as we stand at the cusp of a changing world, consumers are becoming acutely aware of the larger ramifications of their choices. They’re not just buying clothes; they’re opting in for the kind of world they want to live in.

The rise in awareness about sustainable fashion is not merely a trend; it’s a TRUE movement.

With each passing year, more and more people are realizing that every purchase has a backstory.

Behind the scenes of the glitzy storefronts and glamorous advertisements lie tales of resources consumed, carbon footprints, and, often, human rights overlooked. In this light, the quest for truly sustainable clothing brands is not just a preference; it’s a moral imperative.

At the heart of this movement is ‘ethical manufacturing’.

This isn’t just about ensuring workers get fair wages, though that’s a significant part of it. It’s about the entire lifecycle of a garment – from the way raw materials are sourced/treated, the processes used to convert them into clothing, to the conditions under which people work to bring these products to life.

Fair trade factories‘ play a crucial role in this regard, ensuring that trade benefits and empowers those involved, rather than exploiting them like we’ve seen from the modern textile industry since the Industrial Revolution.

seamstress working in a textile factory

But the implications don’t stop at manufacturing.

The devastating environmental impact of fast fashion can no longer be ignored.

Did you know that the fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of water globally and produces 10% of global carbon emissions?

Fast fashion, with its quick turnaround of ‘disposable’ clothes, exacerbates this problem.

I’m looking at you TEMU, and SHEIN…

Overflowing landfills with non-biodegradable fabrics, polluted waterways due to dye runoffs, and energy-intensive production are but a few of the detrimental impacts.

Basically, brands like Lululemon offer undeniable appeal in terms of style and comfort, so it’s crucial for us as consumers to peek behind the curtain and see what’s really going on.

We need to ask the tough questions, seek transparency, and prioritize brands that not only talk about sustainability but walk the talk.

In a world grappling with climate change, resource depletion, and social inequalities, our choices matter more than ever. So, why look beyond Lululemon?

Because to be fair, we all deserve better – and this will make those companies better.

If anything, those who want to do right, and want to make a difference, will.

But they need to be held accountable in order for that to happen.


Affordable and Sustainable Alternatives to Lululemon: The Power of Choices

For far too long, there has been a prevailing myth that sustainable clothing (especially sustainable yoga clothing) carries an exorbitant price tag. Don’t get me wrong – it certainly can.

But once you understand the exchange that is taking place, you get why those companies charge the way they do. If anything, working in e-commerce has taught me a few things about how hard it really is for companies to profit.

Many envision eco-friendly fashion as a luxury, only within reach of those willing to splurge. However, the reality paints a different, far more optimistic picture.

Firstly, the landscape of sustainable fashion is rapidly changing. More brands are joining the movement, and the competition drives innovation.

This innovation, in turn, brings about better, more cost-effective ways of producing sustainable garments.

The market now boasts an array of ‘affordable alternatives’ that challenge the preconceived notions of eco-fashion being a costly choice.

But, let’s address the price point directly. Consider this: you purchase ‘one pair or two pairs’ of high-end leggings that dent your wallet significantly.

These affordable leggings, despite their cost, wear out, lose their shape, or perhaps even go out of style within a season or two.

Now, juxtapose this with purchasing ‘four pairs’ from sustainable brands that are gentle on the pocket. These great alternatives often use superior materials, meaning they last longer, retain their form, and stay timeless in design.

In the long run, not only are you saving money, but you’re also contributing to a reduced carbon footprint by buying less often.

In essence, the power truly lies in our choices.

By opting for sustainable yet affordable alternatives, we’re not just making a statement about our personal style, but also about the values we stand by.

In today’s world, fashion is as much about looking good as it is about feeling good about the choices we make. We are all looking for the best affordable sustainable clothing brands that have yet to reach the limelight.


The Seven Best Lululemon Alternatives

1. Girlfriend Collective:

Step into a world where fashion takes a responsible turn. Girlfriend Collective has revolutionized sustainable wear by crafting pieces from ‘recycled water bottles’ and discarded ‘fishing nets’.

But their commitment goes deeper than just sustainable materials.

They ensure that every ‘body type’ is represented, celebrating diversity in sizes, and ensuring that everyone feels seen, valued, and stylish.

Each garment speaks of dedication, not just to quality but also to an eco-friendly future.

Their ethos, transparency, and inclusive approach have made them favorites among ethically-minded consumers, making them a beacon in the world of sustainable fashion.

2. Outdoor Voices:

Outdoor Voices isn’t just a clothing brand; it’s a call to action.

With their range of ‘moisture-wicking’ and ‘incredibly lightweight’ athleisure wear, they ensure every workout is uninterrupted.

But it’s their dedication to the environment that truly stands out.

Their approach to reducing ‘environmental impact’ begins with sourcing eco-friendly materials and extends to responsible manufacturing practices.

Every stitch, every fabric choice, and every design decision is made with the planet in mind. They’re a testament to the fact that looking good and doing good can go hand in hand.

3. Alo Yoga:

Alo Yoga is a juxtaposition of style and sustainability.

While their ‘high waisted yoga pants’ give ‘lulu leggings’ a run for their money in style, their dedication towards ‘ethical manufacturing’ sets them apart.

They blend innovative designs with sustainable fashion brand practices, ensuring that each garment isn’t just aesthetically pleasing but also kind to our Earth.

They’ve become the go-to for many yogis and fitness enthusiasts who are conscious about their fashion choices, bridging the gap between high-performance wear and eco-friendly responsibility.

4. Sweaty Betty:

British innovation meets international acclaim with Sweaty Betty.

They’ve carved a niche in the athleisure world by being an ‘affordable alternative’ to high-end brands like Lululemon.

Yet, they haven’t compromised on ‘exceptional quality’.

Their ‘fashion-forward’ designs have made waves on both sides of the pond, turning heads with their unique blend of style and functionality.

What’s more commendable is their commitment to ethical practices. Sweaty Betty has consistently shown that luxury and responsibility are not mutually exclusive but can harmoniously co-exist.

5. Zella Line:

Zella understands the tiny details that go into making the perfect piece of athleisure.

They know the importance of the ‘see-through’ test and have meticulously designed their garments to pass it with flying colors.

Their offerings, which range from ‘mid rise’ to ‘high rise’, and feature practical ‘side pockets’, ensure there’s something for everyone.

Zella caters to various preferences while maintaining their dedication to quality and sustainability.

Their transparency in manufacturing and commitment to using eco-friendly materials have made them a favorite among those looking for both style and substance.

6. CRZ Yoga:

For those who love yoga pants and the feel of ‘Lululemon’ but seek a touch of uniqueness, CRZ Yoga offers a breath of fresh air.

With an emphasis on ‘recycled cotton’ and ‘organic fabrics’, they ensure every piece is eco-friendly.

Beyond materials, their designs, which seamlessly blend comfort with style, have won the hearts of many.

Whether it’s for a high-intensity workout or a relaxed day at home, CRZ Yoga has something that feels good on the skin and the conscience.

7. Old Navy’s Athleisure Line:

Old Navy’s foray into athleisure was a delightful surprise to many.

Their ‘super affordable’ options, combined with ‘sweat-wicking’ and ‘super soft’ features, have ‘pleasantly surprised’ even the skeptics.

It’s not just about affordability; it’s about providing value.

Old Navy has demonstrated that you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy quality athleisure.

Moreover, their efforts to incorporate sustainable practices into their production process show that they are attuned to the growing demand for ethical fashion.

They’re a testament to the fact that big retail chains can pivot towards more responsible practices without compromising on style or affordability.


What to Look for in a Sustainable Athleisure Brand

Choosing the right athleisure clothing brand is more than just picking fashionable outfits; it’s a reflection of values, priorities, and an understanding of what truly makes for a high-quality garment.

When navigating the athleisure marketplace, there are key factors you must consider:

First and foremost, materials matter.

Organic cotton‘ isn’t just a buzzword. It represents a cleaner, more environmentally friendly method of production.

Organic cotton farming doesn’t use the synthetic fertilizers and pesticides that its conventional counterpart does.

As for ‘recycled polyester’, it’s a testament to a brand’s commitment to reducing waste and conserving resources. Look for symbols like rPET in the description when it comes to finding this material.

By reusing materials, especially plastics, we take a step towards mitigating the environmental crises our planet faces.

Then there’s the ‘Certified B Corp’ label.

It’s not just a title – it’s a seal of assurance and trust.

B Corp certification signifies that a company meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

Brands with this certification are not only about making money but making a difference.

Lastly, let’s talk about design. ‘Squat proof’ garments are a nod to durability and strength.

Nobody wants to discover mid-workout that their best leggings aren’t up to the task!

It’s definitely happened to my fiance a few times and I’ve never seen her turn so red in my life. She’ll honestly never read this so i doubt she would ever find out, but if she did i would actually be in trouble. lol

Anyways, getting back to it, ‘high waisted’ designs are not just about style; they provide added comfort and support, especially when you’re out and about, hiking, doing hot yoga or, at the gym, climbing, running errands, or just doing some at home workouts.

When you find a brand that harmoniously integrates these features, you’ve not only found a piece of clothing but a companion for your fitness journey that makes you look and feel exactly how you should if you want to display your fitness.


The Fashion Revolution: An Ethical Shift

The fashion landscape is undergoing a transformative evolution. Once, the buzz was all about ‘workout clothes’ – their fit, their style, and their function.

Now, the narrative is deepening.

It’s not just about how the clothes look or feel but about the ethos behind them. Welcome to the era of ‘workout clothing with a conscience’. This is a weak title, but I believe it will expand with more awareness.

This shift isn’t just a fleeting trend; it’s a reflection of a larger global awakening.

As we, the consumers, become more conscious, questioning not just the end product but the journey it took to get to us.

We’re beginning to understand that every stitch, every fabric choice, and every design element has a backstory.

And we want those stories to be ones of empowerment, sustainability, and ethical choices.

Wearing clothes with a purpose transcends beyond making a fashion statement.

It’s about wearing stories of artisans who were fairly compensated (but honestly should be paid even more in my opinion), about choosing materials that tread lightly on our planet, and about supporting brands that prioritize more than just profits.

It’s an embrace of a holistic lifestyle where we recognize that every purchase has power, and it’s high time we distribute our money, and that power responsibly.


Conclusion: Choosing for the Future

In a world brimming with choices, the most empowering one we can make is an informed decision.

Every time we reach into our wallets, we’re not just buying a product; we’re voting for the kind of world we want to live in. Our choices echo our beliefs, our values, and the change we want to catalyze.

Lululemon and its counterparts have undeniably shaped the athleisure landscape, but now we have the knowledge and the power to sculpt its future.

It’s more than just about style or comfort; it’s about integrity, transparency, and respect for our planet and its inhabitants.

So, as we stand at this crossroad, it’s essential to ask ourselves:

What does our wardrobe say about us? Are we merely followers of trends, or are we trailblazers for a sustainable and ethical future?

It’s time to align our purchasing power with our deepest values.

To not just wear clothes, but to wear convictions.

By choosing ethically and sustainably, we’re not just picking an outfit; we’re crafting a legacy. It’s a call to action, a nudge to the soul, reminding us that every purchase can be a step towards a brighter, more equitable future.


Author’s Note:

Embarking on this journey, discovering brands that intertwine style with a conscience, has been both enlightening and heartening.

It reinforces the belief that fashion isn’t just about aesthetics—it’s a vivid tapestry of ethics, sustainability, and our choices, reminding us that the threads of intent matter as much as the fabric itself.

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