Lululemon black yoga pants return after ‘sheergate’

Lululemon returns its black yoga pants to shelves after rigorous testing for sheerness, it said.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Lululemon Athletica Inc. is bringing its black luon yoga pants back into stores in June, this time with “more fabric across the bum so it’s not stretched from the get-go,” the company says.

The bottoms, which now have to undergo a raft of 15 tests before being delivered, were pulled from shelves in March after customers complained that the thin fabric was exposing more than just good yoga form.

But you already knew that, unless, as Lululemon wrote in an aw-shucks but still sassy blog post, “you were under a rock.”


The company now refers to the scandal as its “luon setback,” so named because the outcry centered on its luon fabric, which it described as “moisture-wicking, four-way stretch, high Lycra content, cottony-soft.”

The pants accounted for 17% of the company’s sales. Within weeks of the pants problem, Chief Product Officer Sheree Waterson had left her post.

PHOTOS: Major retail controversies

The “recipe,” for the cloth hasn’t changed, but there are “big time” upgrades to the testing process and standards it’s subjected to, Lululemon said in its blog post. The pattern used to make the bottoms has also been “re-engineered” to minimize stretching.

The company even said it asked university scientists to develop a so-called sheer-o-meter to measure how much light shines through the fabric while the luon is stretched.

The Vancouver, Canada, company also had this entreaty for customers: “Let’s get real about sheerness. Luon is a knit fabric – if you stretch a knit fabric far enough, it will go sheer. That’s why the right fit is key.”

Soon after the too-skimpy pants were whisked out of stores in March, Lululemon downgraded its predictions for its first fiscal quarter, warning investors that the “issue will have a significant impact on its financials.”

The company will announce its earnings for the period Monday. In late morning trading in New York, Lululemon stock was up 3.4%, or $2.73, to $82.02 a share. Since the fiasco, shares are up roughly 20%.


Lululemon exec out: ‘New level of uncertainty’ after pants fiasco

As Lululemon recalls too-sheer black yoga pants, its stock sinks

‘Pantsgate’ to hurt Lululemon profit; customers told to ‘bend over’?