More on Yahoo Shine: Lululemon Pulls See-Through Yoga Pants From Stores
Asked Tuesday on Bloomberg TV's “Street Smart” show about recent complaints that Lululemon’s yoga pants are prone to pilling, Wilson said, “Frankly some women’s bodies just actually don't work for it.”
Just in case anyone thought they heard it wrong, he elaborated. “They don't work for some women's bodies,” he continued. “It's really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it."
That’s when Wilson's wife, Shannon, looking slightly horrified, jumped in on the pant topic. “What’s the use and what's it being up against? Are you sitting on a cement ground?”
Interviewer Trish Regan followed up quickly. “Interesting, not every woman can wear a Lululemon yoga pant?” she asked.
"No, I think they can,” Chip said, backtracking. "I just think it's how you use it."
Online responses were swift and angry, with many Facebook users calling for a boycott of the brand. "Owner/founder is clueless and a sexist," noted one commenter. Others wrote: “Won't be buying your products after your recent public comments," "My wish is that this brand goes down the drain," “After seeing this interview, we’re officially parting ways,” and “Will never buy your product again. Shame on you for the roundabout way of calling women fat."
Twitter’s been blowing up with similar sentiments. “As if I needed more reason to loathe that guy,” tweeted one angry woman on Thursday. Others called Wilson “a jerk” and a “terrible person,” and his comments "stupid," "egregious," "insulting" and “disgraceful.”
Lululemon did not immediately respond to Yahoo Shine’s request for comment.
The retailer, unfortunately, is not alone when it comes to making foot-in-mouth statements about customers who are larger than those deemed their target audience. Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries was pressured to apologize earlier this year for comments he had once made about his brand being "exclusionary" and proud of it. And in September, an Oregon teen claimed a salesperson at a rue21 store told her she was "too big" to even be in the boutique.
Luckily there are also companies moving in the opposite direction — like Debenhams department store in the UK, which pledged earlier this year to cut back on the airbrushing of models' images, and just this week, became the country’s first mainstream retailer to use size-16 mannequins. "We felt it was important to better represent what real women actually look like when advertising our clothes," noted store director Ed Watson.
Note to Chip Wilson: Listen and learn.