Lululemon founder blames customers for yoga pants pilling
By Jennifer Osieczanek
The founder of Lululemon Athletica does not have his customers saying, “Ommmmm.”
Chip Wilson finds himself and his company facing a backlash – again – after blaming customers for new complaints about the Vancouver-based company’s high-end yoga pants.
Reports surfaced last week that Lululemon was receiving complaints about pants pilling after just a few months of wear. The styles in question were reportedly the Groove and Wunder Under yoga pants. Groove pants start at $98 a pair, while the Wunder Under style’s base price is $82.
Wilson and his wife appeared on Bloomberg TV’s “Street Smart” on Tuesday when he was asked about the quality complaints.
“… Quite frankly, some women’s bodies actually do not work for it,” Wilson said regarding Lululemon’s pants.
He added, “Even our small size will fit an extra large. It is really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, and how much they use them.”
At that point Wilson’s wife Shannon, the former chief designer for Lululemon, jumped in to offer another explanation for the pilling pants.
“What’s the use and what it’s being up against? Are you sitting on a cement ground?”
“Street Smart” host Trish Regan responded, “Interesting, not every woman can wear a Lululemon yoga pant?”
“No, I think they can,” Chip Wilson said, “I just think it’s how you use it.”
Wilson’s decision to point the finger at his customers comes just months after the company dealt with a sheer pant controversy. In March, Lululemon was forced to pull some of its black yoga pants off the shelves after a flaw in the fabric made them overly sheer. According to Reuters, the recall could cost the company $57 to $67 million in sales for 2013.
And in July, when some customers were still reportedly seeing through their Lululemon yoga pants, the company’s web site suggested they were buying sizes that were too small.
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