Lululemon Athletica Combines Ayn Rand And Yoga

11/28/2011 10:59 am ET
  • The New York Times

Lululemon Athletica, the retailer of yoga pants and hoodies, has long decorated shopping bags with slogans that appear to have been lifted from self-help books. But this month its bags have asked a question that some may find more provocative: "Who is John Galt?"

The question is the opening line of "Atlas Shrugged," the novel by Ayn Rand that was published in 1957. Followers of Rand's free market philosophy, which promotes the idea of individuals living for their self-interest and dismisses altruism, sometimes use the question to signal their allegiance.

Galt would not likely have proclaimed, as Lululemon's bags once did, that "what we do to the earth, we do to ourselves." Nor does the online reaction to the campaign suggest that many Lululemon shoppers are fans of Rand's philosophy, known as Objectivism.

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