Lululemon founder says yoga pants don't work with 'some women's bodies'
Published Thursday, November 7, 2013 9:03AM EST
The Vancouver billionaire who founded clothing label Lululemon Athletica is raising eyebrows for suggesting that the company’s popular yoga pants aren't appropriate for "some women's bodies."
In an interview with Bloomberg TV television Tuesday, Chip Wilson was asked about recently-reported problems with pilling in the fabric of the pants. He responded by suggesting the problems are not a quality issue, but more about the way that women are wearing the pants.
“There has always been pilling," Wilson said. "The thing is that women will wear seatbelts that don’t work or they’ll wear a purse that doesn’t work or, quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for it."
He added: “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there, I mean, over a period of time, and how much they use it.”
Bloomberg TV host Trish Regan cut in to say, "Interesting. Not every woman can wear a Lululemon yoga pant?"
Wilson responded. "No, I think they can; I just think it’s how you use it.'
Wilson's wife Shannon also added that some complaints about thinness or pilling of the fabric may stem from customers sitting on cement floors.
This past spring, Lululemon was forced to pull thousands of pairs of yoga pants from stores over complaints the pants were too sheer. At the time, the company said part of the problem lay in customers not trying the pants on and buying sizes too small for their bodies.
The company later said the fabric used in the pants did not meet its standards and promised to make production changes to ensure the pants meet "revised specifications for modulus (stretch), weight and tolerances."
The recall hit the company's revenues hard, and in September, it announced it was lowering its 2013 profit and revenue outlook.
Then last month, new customer complaints began showing up on the company’s Facebook page and on its website, with many claiming there were still problems with sheerness and that the pants began pilling after a few months, or even a few uses. Others complained about holes forming shortly after purchase.
The company responded to the complaints Friday, saying that its investigation found pilling "is not a widespread concern and this guest feedback is not indicative of a larger issue."
Lululemon Athletica, which was founded in 1998, saw $1.4 billion in sales last year.
With files from The Canadian Press