Lululemon yoga pants cost up to $130 a pair. One pair of pants.
And women love them. The brand has a devoted following that has turned the company into a financial juggernaut, with a market value of $9.9 billion. Lululemon expects to sell well over $1 billion worth of merchandise this year.
And yet the company’s founder says your thunder thighs are just not welcome in his pants. It’s a classic example of biting the thighs that feed you.
And that’s why my letter today is to Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon.
It’s me. Melissa.
Let’s take a look at how you responded this week to claims that your company’s new line of pants is lacking in the quality department.
“There have always been pilling. The thing is, women will wear seatbelts that don’t work, or they’ll wear purses that don’t work. Quite frankly, some bodies don’t work for it.”
Uh… excuse me? Did I hear that right? It’s women’s bodies that don’t work?
“No, they don’t work for certain, for some women’s bodies.”
So what types of bodies don’t work in Lululemon pants, Chip? Can you be more specific?
“It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs. How much pressure is there, and over a period of time, and how much they use it.”
Okay, it’s women whose thighs touch who shouldn’t wear your pants. Got it.
Sadly, this kind of thing is in character for you. You’ve already said that Lululemon won’t make pants bigger than a size 12–arguing that the extra fabric would make bigger pants significantly more expensive to make–and you couldn’t charge bigger women more for bigger sizes without a public-relations disaster.
And there was that time you explained that breast cancer is partly caused by women working outside the home and taking birth control pills. Yup.
And the fact that you put the catch phrase of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” on Lululemon shopping bags and claimed that your vision for the company was inspired by the book–which was based on Rand’s objectivism–the school of thought that everyone should be out for themselves.
This is a yoga store! All that could maybe even be forgiven if the $100 pants were perfect. But they’re not.
In March, Lululemon had to recall 17% of its pants because they were too sheer–and the company’s stock, and reputation, took a hit. Even then the company suggested that the pants weren’t the problem, that women were wearing the wrong sizes.
Here’s the thing. Despite what thigh-gap thinspiration Pinterest boards would have you believe, most women–nearly all women–have thighs that rub against each other. Especially when working out, which is what your clothes are presumably for.
I mean, my thighs touch, Chip.
In order to achieve the “thigh gap” that you apparently think Lululemon customers should have–which, by the way, is an obsession some experts have said is causing eating disorders in young women–to get that thigh gap, one must not only be thin, but have especially wide hips. Someone like me would have to rearrange her skeleton to achieve it.
So, instead of blaming our bodies for your poorly-made pants, Lululemon would do well to design clothes to accommodate our bodies. The thighs wear out too fast? Reinforce the fabric there. Make your expensive pants withstand all that rubbing.
Or maybe, despite the cult-like devotion to your products, women will take our big ol’ thighs to another retailer–one who won’t expect us to pay exorbitant prices for the privilege of being body-shamed.
Watch below a video featuring Wilson uploaded by Lululemon to YouTube on Friday.