Note to self: If you’re a businessman who makes billions by selling workout wear to women, you might not want to blame a product fault on fat females.
But that’s what Lululemon Athletica founder Chip Wilson in essence did after receiving complaints about the company’s signature yoga pants proving see-through on some women. He said the sheerness factor was due to women with fat thighs — specifically, to women without thigh gaps — and on Tuesday, after facing a public relations firestorm, announced he was stepping down as chairman of the company.
Financial Times reported that the director of the board, Michael Casey, would assume chairman duties.
In March, the company was forced to recall some of its yoga pants — about 17 percent of its share of all women’s pants. The fabric was sheer enough that women found they were unsuitable for wear. Mr. Wilson said in response to the complaints, on Bloomberg TV: “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.”
Mr. Wilson, who founded the company in 1998, has a history of making controversial comments. He said in 2004 that he named the company Lululemon because the letter “L” isn’t part of the Japanese vocabulary and “it’s funny to watch them try to say it,” Financial Times reported.