In a recent interview, Chip Wilson, the creator of Lululemon, attacked his previous firm’s “whole diversity and inclusion thing,” saying the sportswear company is attempting to be “everything to everybody.”
“They’re attempting to emulate the Gap by catering to everyone,” Wilson stated in a Tuesday interview with Forbes. Furthermore, I believe that being everything to no one is the essence of a brand. It must be obvious to you that certain clients are not welcome to visit.”
He added that the company’s marketing models appear “unhealthy,” “sickly,” and “not inspirational.”
Wilson departed the company in 2015 following his contentious remarks that Lululemon’s pants are too small for “some women’s bodies.”
He went on, making a remark that some perceived as fatphobic: “It’s more really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over some time, how much they use it,”
Wilson said this in response to complaints that the brand’s expensive leggings were see-through.
The “L” sound does not exist in the Japanese alphabet, so Wilson chose to name the company Lululemon because “it’s funny to watch them try and say it.” Wilson has also made other contentious remarks in the past. In his book “Little Black Stretchy Pants,” he also attributed the rise in divorce rates to birth control pills and expressed his opinion that working is a decent substitute for education for some Asian children who are unable to attend school.
The success of Lululemon helped Wilson, who Forbes estimates to be worth around $8 billion, add nearly $4 billion to his net worth in 2020. Wilson still owns 8% of the company.
“Chip Wilson does not speak for Lululemon, and his comments do not reflect our company views or beliefs,” the company said in a statement provided to FOX Business. Chip left the company in 2015, and since then, it has changed significantly. He has not been connected with the company.”
The statement went on, “Lululemon is dedicated to establishing and cultivating an open, diverse, and friendly atmosphere both within our company and in our local communities. From the beginning, we have made great strides toward our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action (IDEA) function’s objectives, and we are proud of our accomplishments.”