The fashion brand LuLaRoe is officially being forced to face the hundreds of customer reports that their buttery-soft, signature leggings are just not cutting it. After news surfaced last month of the leggings' tendency to rip just hours into a single wear - and the fact that the company reportedly wasn't refunding unsatisfied customers, earning them a resounding "F" with the BBB - LuLaRoe will have to answer these claims in court.
Plaintiffs Suzanne Jones, of California, and Julie Dean, of Massachusetts, two of many unhappy LuLaRoe customers, filed a suit against the company on March 23 - both bought LuLaRoe leggings, expecting that soft, Netflix-binge-ready fabric, but, instead, after receiving their leggings, alleged significant defects. Of the three pairs Jones purchased, she claims one was so small, it was "as if they were manufactured for a child," the lawsuit draft reads. The other two, she said, developed holes "when she pulled on the leggings with her fingers."
Dean expressed similar sentiments, outlined in the lawsuit. After wearing a pair of black leggings for a few hours, the leggings "developed tiny holes throughout." Another colorful pair "developed a hole so big, she could put her finger through them."
The lawsuit also mentions the thousands of other customers who are unhappy with their leggings, (there's a Facebook group, over 22,000 members strong, full of them). "Specifically, customers have complained that the leggings are of such poor quality that holes, tears, and rips appear before wearing, during the first use or shortly thereafter," it states. "The leggings have also been described as tearing as easily as 'wet toilet paper.'"
The crux of Jones, Dean and their team of lawyers' argument is that the company actually knows that the fabric is defective - but is doing nothing to fix the problem. The lawsuit cites an alleged company-wide email from Patrick Winget, the head of production for LuLaRoe, which read, "The leggings may get holes, because we weaken the fibers to make them buttery soft. We have done all we can do to fix them."
But is it necessary to "weaken" a fabric's fibers to get that "I've had these for 20 years" feel? We tapped Lexie Sachs, Senior Products Analyst of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles, Paper and Plastic Lab for her input on the controversy. Her short answer? Absolutely not. "In my experience with testing, soft fabrics do not need to be weak," she said.
According to Sachs, the problem with LuLaRoe's leggings isn't the fabric's fiber content (in LuLaRoe's case, 94% polyester and 6% spandex). "In fact, some of the most expensive, best performing leggings we've tested at the Good Housekeeping Institute are poly/spandex blends," she said. "It can sometimes be expected to see holes at the seams, but with these leggings it's clear that holes are forming right in the middle of the fabric. So there's definitely a problem in the production process, whether the fabric is defective or just cheaply made."
While many women have complaints, others have defended the brand and their cozy pants. If you're a proud LuLaRoe owner with a pair of leggings that's lasted you through years of lazy Sundays and carpool, there's no need to panic. While there's nothing you can do if fabric is intrinsically defective, there a few steps you can take to keep your reliable pairs hole-free. "Wash these the same way you would wash hosiery," explained Sachs. "Hand wash them, or if you choose to machine wash, use a delicate cycle and put them in a mesh bag to avoid agitation with other items in the wash."
Another pro-tip? Treat them like hosiery, again, when you're putting them on. Some might argue that $25 leggings shouldn't require the same delicate touch your $5 drug-store pantyhose do, but hey - sounds like that's exactly why LuLaRoe is facing these charges in the first place.
If Dean and Jones' lawsuit is successful, the outcome will affect anyone who purchased LuLaRoe leggings after March 31, 2016. You might want to hold onto that proof of purchase email, just in case you end up being entitled to retribution money.
Update, 4/5/2017, 2:30 pm: LuLaRoe gave Goodhousekeeping.com the following statement, in response to Dean and Jones' allegations:
We categorically reject the fabricated and exaggerated claims of this suit in the strongest terms and believe it is completely without merit. We stand by the quality of our products and are committed to ensuring consumers are fully satisfied. We are confident we will be able to fully refute these allegations.
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