Is Lululemon Still Fat Shaming You? Jun 21, 2017 by Taylor (Day Styles)
In 2013, Lululemon CEO Chip Wilson took some serious heat for comments he made during a television interview. In the interview, Wilson said that some of the company's products don't work for certain women. Specifically, he said that some women have bodies that aren't great for their line of clothing.
Wilson dug in even further, saying that sometimes larger-size women can fit into Lululemon tights that are too small even though the tights aren't a good fit, stretching the fabric. Wilson even said that these women can ruin the clothes because their thighs rub the fabric together more than the clothes can handle.
Needless to say, Lululemon and Wilson took some serious heat for the comments. Ultimately, Wilson resigned as CEO of the company. He even sold off his company stock which was about fourteen percent of the company's total value.
So has Lululemon learned an important lesson about the value of inclusion? Have they become older and wiser as they realize that consumers value a corporate culture that celebrates the diversity of women's bodies? Not exactly. Lululemon has come under fire for more problems and crass comments about women's bodies.
One black eye on the company's image came when Adrian Wood wrote the company an open letter. Wood is a regular Babble contributor who wrote the company a letter after a trip to one of the company's retail stores. She took issue with the fact that the store doesn't carry many sizes for larger women. She said the store only had one size twelve on the shelves for each item. Wood said that carrying larger sizes would be better for moms and other women who have eaten too many bologna sandwiches.
Lululemon didn't formally respond to Wood's concerns. One brand representative casually said that she liked Wood's sense of humor, as though that has anything to do with clothing sizes. Seeing an opportunity, competitor athletic wear retailer Athleta offered to send Wood gift cards. Athleta representatives said that they try to be an inclusive and welcoming brand. Lululemon made no similar promises.
The company suffered another black eye when Heather Albert complained about a shopping experience at a Lululemon retail outfit. Albert said that she was excited to treat herself to a product from the company after she lost approximately eighty pounds. She was on a business trip, and she headed to a Lululemon retailer in Park City, Utah during a break from her work responsibilities.
Albert reported hearing one of the employees loudly whisper to another that the store might not have anything in her size. She said that she knew the comments were directed at her because she was the only one in the store. She said that she doesn't wear larger than a size twelve, which the company sells. This time, Lululemon promised to investigate the matter and make changes.
In 2013, Lululemon suffered a public relations blunder when it had to recall a number of its women's pants. Consumers complained that the pants were see-through. Many women didn't even realize that the pants were too stretchy until they wore them in public. The company recalled the pants, which amounted to about seventeen percent of its black yoga pants. The recalled pants include the Wunder Unders pants, the Skinny Will leggings and the Astro Pants. Each of the pants can cost up to $98.
Lululemon blamed the problem on its luon material. It's a combination of lycra and nylon. It's a fabric blend that's unique to Lululemon, and a blend that made the company unique until the pants blunder. The company further blamed the problem on a Taiwanese supplier which denies the allegations. Analysts say that the problem has ended up costing the company more than $60 million. Even so, the company has quickly grown from 70 stores to more than 200 stores in recent years. They sell colorful clothes with a tight fit.
Carolyn Beauchense of Lululemon Addict Blog says that she believes that the company's clothes began to feel thinner several years ago. She also says that the clothes wear out faster than they used to. The company has also come under fire for bleeding colors and for shopping bag containers that contained lead. The company also had a problem with swimwear that became transparent when wet.