Lululemon founder Dennis “Chip” Wilson, whose yoga wear company is dealing with another round of consumer complaints over its pants, doesn’t think the quality concerns are the retailer’s fault.
Instead, he told a Bloomberg Television reporter that “some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” in the pants, reiterating that “they don’t work for some women’s bodies.”
He went on to explain that “it’s about the rubbing through the thighs and how much pressure is there” and how often they’re worn over time. Even seatbelts and purses worn a certain way would affect the fabric, he said.
When pressed about whether he meant that some consumers can’t wear Lululemon pants, Wilson demurred.
“I just think it’s how you use them,” he said.
Lululemon had to pull its black luon yoga pants from shelves in March after customers said the fabric was too sheer. Within weeks, Chief Product Officer Sheree Waterson stepped down and was replaced late last month with Kmart alum Tara Poseley.
The pants, which accounted for 17% of the company’s sales, returned in June after undergoing a series of tests.
But in recent days, more customers have emerged accusing the new pants of pilling and other flaws such as bad seams and continuing thinness. Analysts such as Sam Poser of Sterne Agee pointed out “numerous posts on LULU’s website discussing problems with the WunderUnder pant.”
“The speed of the product correction was rewarded by investors,” Poser wrote in a note to clients. “We may be facing a haste makes waste scenario.”
Poser also said that it was unclear if the problem was with the product or the sizing, noting that women who normally wear size 6 pants often have to wear larger sizes at Lululemon.
“LULU will certainly face new challenges if the pilling and seam problems are real, but the sizing problem will continue if changes are not made,” Poser wrote. “Let's be real: Generally being told you need a larger size than you thought is not ingratiating.”