I just read an interesting article on Yogadork about Hip Hop mogul Russel Simmons and PETA writing an open letter directly to Lululemon requesting they stop using down in their insulated jackets, along with a petition for people to sign. This petition stood out to me because his ex wife, business partner and mother of his children (and still close friend), Kimora Lee Simons currently sells fur vests and lambskin on her site – despite herself also being aligned with PETA. Sheerling jackets priced at $2900.  Kimora Lee Simmons was the brain behind those velour track suits from the 90’s and early 2000’s that every young woman had to have her brand which she co founded with Russel Simmons, Babyphat which is now sold at Macy’s. The original athleisure trendsetting brand was in fact Baby Phat. My point of this post isn’t to debate the use of fur or down, but rather to point out the celebrity hypocrisy. I’d also like to state that I am all for Lululemon offering none down insulated jackets along side of down jackets to give vegan customers an option. I wasn’t a fan of their blended prima loft and down jackets a few years ago in 2013 because I felt if they were going to go prima loft route for jackets, they should be purely prima loft and down free as a vegan option. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Russel’s letter and perhaps a healthy respectful debate in the comments is ok as long as we keep it light. 

Here is the letter:

December 15, 2015

Mr. Laurent Potdevin
CEO, lululemon athletica

Via E-mail: [email protected]
Dear Mr. Potdevin,

Since I’m an avid yoga practitioner, lululemon athletica is one of my favorite places to shop. I
was disappointed, though, to learn that some of your brand’s outerwear contains down feathers.
On behalf of my friends at PETA and your many compassionate customers, I encourage
lululemon to switch to cruelty-free synthetics instead.

No matter how the feathers are obtained, gentle geese are violently killed (some even have their
throats slit while still fully conscious), thereby going completely against the philosophy of
ahimsa that I and many other lululemon customers embrace. When there are so many cruelty-
free options, such as Thinsulate, Climashield, and PrimaLoft, which are all warm, cozy, and
environmentally friendly, there is simply no excuse for selling down.

Switching to synthetics also makes good business sense: A study by Nielsen found that most
global online consumers are willing to pay more for products that come from socially and
environmentally responsible companies, and a study by the Brookings Institution found that 89
percent of millennials want to buy from companies that support solutions to specific social

Switching to animal- and eco-friendly synthetics would be a simple but important way for
lululemon to help geese and show customers that it cares. Will you please make this progressive
switch? Thank you for your consideration.


Russell Simmons 



  1. Anonymous
    December 18, 2015 / 10:36 pm

    Don't you mean "mogul" (not mobile)?

    His letter and stand is fine. Not a problem to take a position. Just because his ex uses fur doesn't mean he does or condones it. Of course there is still a relationship because of kids and that is good (if it is harmonious and healthy, celebrity or non-celebrity). But if he in fact does use or wear fur–current day– then certainly that is hypocrisy. Just because someone used fur in the past or ate meat and went away from all of that (truly changed) doesn't mean they cannot take a stand on what they now believe in. I don't know enough about him and really cannot be bothered to Google to find out more.

    And yes, all animals should be humanely and ethically treated. And not used for testing of makeup and such.

  2. December 18, 2015 / 10:45 pm

    I am vegan, have been for over 20 years, but I have never pushed my views on my husband or children. That being said, I have an issue with people against down. But they will eat meat or wear leather, in my opinion they are hypocrites! If you want to go after companies using down, what about all the leather companies out there? You can't pick and choose which animals should or shouldn't be slaughtered!!

  3. Anonymous
    December 18, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    I instantly think he's full of poo because PETA is involved. PETA is seriously one of the worst abusers of animals. They only care about animals when there's publicity. PETA takes money from unknowing animal lovers and uses it to slaughter about 90% of all dogs, cats, rabbits, etc given to them to be rehomed. They don't even believe animals have a right to life. PETA needs to go. I wish people would stop donating to them and instead donate to local rescues or fight to make more shelters no kill.

    It also seems like Lulu does try to acquire their down via humane methods. I know there's some debate as to whether the company or whatever that gets their down for them really uses humane methods, but the company is trying. I have yet to find a suitable down alternative that is high quality, insulating and doesn't clump. For those in cold areas, down is a great way to keep warm without a ton of bulk and weight.

  4. Anonymous
    December 18, 2015 / 11:17 pm

    I'm sure this will draw a hailstorm of criticism but I've always felt like if I am going to pay the exorbitant prices Lulu charges for some of their winter jackets, they better be down. The same goes for shoes or boots. No way in he** I am paying $200+ for a pair of PU boots.
    I've noticed their FB page has been flooded with anti-down comments lately. I feel like you are free to shop where you want and if you don't like a company's business model then don't shop there.
    As for Simmons, seems like a pretty hypocritical move….

  5. December 19, 2015 / 12:57 am

    Celebrities are so full of their own self-importance and hype, it's hard to take most of them seriously anyway. They have too many people around them telling them how special they are.

    I think Oldefarm's comment above is an excellent point. I've seen many people be hypocritical in that same exact way. Shaming me for eating meat while wearing real leather shoes or a celebrity who poses for PETA, but wears peacock feathers on their dress later that same day. I'm happy to listen to others opinions and respectfully discuss it, but you have to be consistent.

    Also, I think it would be fabulous if Lulu offered both options. It would be great to be able to get a non-down vest with the same cute Lulu style.

  6. Anonymous
    December 19, 2015 / 1:31 am

    I felt his letter was poignant and respectful. I see no harm in the request. That being said, I like Oldefarm's reasoning. If the method of collection is not harmful to the animal, I don't see an issue.

  7. Anonymous
    December 19, 2015 / 1:46 am

    I liked his letter but knowing he sells fur makes me want to vomit after reading it! What an incredible piece of [email protected] Fur is more cruel than down. He's so full of it!
    And I mean that in the lightest manner possible. He's just banking on the fact people don't know that!

  8. December 19, 2015 / 2:28 am

    Both are crap : Russel and PETA
    My opinion! I'm not in favour of down I could totally live with synthetic but these 2 are just for publicity.

    • Anonymous
      December 20, 2015 / 12:51 am

      PETA is 100% BS and just a magnet for clueless armchair activists. Period. Totally agree with you.

  9. Anonymous
    December 19, 2015 / 2:49 am

    I feel that many of the comments posted here are taking things incorrectly.
    A) He does not sell fur. His ex-wife does.
    B) Collecting feathers for down will always harm the animal. There is no humane manner of doing so.
    C) Some vegans continue to own previous animal products. I still own my old leather and wool boots, but now buy vegan items. Why throw it away? It's not as if I'm continuing to contribute to/support animal abuse.
    D) I would rather buy a synthetic over real down any day. It lasts much longer from my experience and usually keeps me warmer while breathing better.

  10. Anonymous
    December 19, 2015 / 4:18 am

    Celebrities are full of hypocrisy and I always wonder why people listen to them. Most of them are actors, trained in acting, not anything else; they aren't scientists, engineers, mathematicians, or skilled journalists. It would be beneficial to society if we just stopped listening to celebrities.

  11. Anonymous
    December 19, 2015 / 3:06 pm

    I have no problem with his request; he makes some clear and valid points. I've never considered real vs synthetic down for my own wardrobe and will be more thoughtful in future. What his ex-wife does is not a reflection on him imo. And in response to the above poster, celebrities are humans with opinions too; we are free to choose to agree, or not.
    Love your blog LLM.

  12. Anonymous
    December 19, 2015 / 3:46 pm

    The celebrities should stay out of it! Generally, they do not have enough information to draw a conclusion. Thanks you for keeping me in the loop, Lulumum. Love ya'!

  13. Anonymous
    December 20, 2015 / 3:54 am

    Vegan or not, I agree with the main point of the letter. I would much rather purchase clothing or other items from companies that provide animal and eco-friendly products. I have more respect for companies that do this. Lululemon already is a master in material performance and feel. I'm sure they could come up with the best down alternative out there.

    As another cruelty free alternative, you can have a sweater or coat made from your dog or cat hair. I can't believe it but that option is out there. lol. šŸ™‚

    • December 20, 2015 / 4:27 am

      No way! I had a husky cross growing up and always thought the undercoat he shed every year could be put to good use! It's obviously very warm, plus it renews annually.

    • Anonymous
      December 20, 2015 / 5:42 am

      I have a husky shepherd mix. My friend sent me the article as a joke but I know! šŸ™‚

  14. December 20, 2015 / 8:13 pm

    In the interest of keeping it light – honestly, all I thought when I read his letter was "Geese are not gentle!" Seriously. Scariest animals in the world to me (there was a rogue geese gang in my community growing up – they'd chase people down and peck them unless you gave them food).

    Seriously. though – I'm all for down-free things (because I am allergic more than anything). But, I hate how attaching a celebrity face to a cause suddenly makes it a big fat deal.

  15. Anonymous
    December 21, 2015 / 2:39 am

    Hardly someone being trendy or in need of attention. In his late 50s and has been practising yoga for at least 20 years. And is a vegan. Probably the right person to advocate this type of thing versus some 20-something celebrity flavour of the moment.

    Wikipedia: Simmons has been vegan since 1999 and advocates Ahimsa and veganism, citing animal rights along with the environmental and health benefits. Simmons is a supporter of Farm Sanctuary, an organization working to end cruelty to farm animals. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals awarded him with the 2001 PETA Humanitarian Award and the 2011 Person of the Year Award.

    • December 21, 2015 / 12:56 pm

      I'm curious as to why he has never spoken out publicly against his ex wife's use of fur?

    • Anonymous
      December 21, 2015 / 12:58 pm

      PETA is questionable at best. Winning an award from them means nothing. He should go after CG, Montcler. LLL is a minor user of down.

  16. Anonymous
    December 21, 2015 / 4:58 am

    The down that lululemon uses is a biproduct of the gaming industry. AKA the feathers are taken from already dead geese. So personally I see no problem with the down since no animals are harmed solely for the use of the down!

  17. December 21, 2015 / 4:45 pm

    Down is unnecessary. Also, the fact his ex-wife is a proponent os using animal products has no relevance to this argument. Wish lululemon would stop as well!

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