Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has responded to concerns over the fabric used for some garments by suggesting in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the Vancouver company's pants just don't work for all female body types.
In a recent interview on the business news channel, Wilson was asked about a host of issues facing the company.
One of the topics was about Lululemon's problem with sheer luon pants, which some customers have complained of becoming see-through. The company recalled nearly one fifth of its pants because of the problem this spring.
After saying the company has dealt with some of the technical and manufacturing reasons for that, Wilson went on a tangent, during which he appeared to suggest that the pants simply won't work for women with some body types.
When host Trish Regan asked about complaints about pilling of the fabric, Wilson replied: "There has always been pilling. 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 don’t work for it,” Wilson said.
“Even our small sizes would fit an extra large, [but] It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there … over a period of time, and how much they use it," he continued.
Wilson's wife Shannon Wilson was also in the interview, and interjected that sometimes the sheer pants problem can be exacerbated by some things in the environment, such as the surface the pants are on.
When Regan asked whether some women just can't wear Lululemon yoga pants, Chip Wilson said, “I think they can. I just think it’s how you use it.”
Vancouver clothing designer Nicole Berger, a former colleague of Wilson's, says his comments did not offend her. "My thighs rub together, and I didn't take it personally," she says, "I wear Lululemon. I wear it for running, yoga, training for my triathalon. And, you know, pilling is a natural thing that's going to happen,"
"All women of all shapes and sizes need to wear clothes. Does every company need to cater to every woman? No."