chip wilson lululemon

lululemon founder Chip Wilson not a fan of brand's 'whole diversity and inclusion thing'

lululemon founder Chip Wilson is not particularly fond of his brand's diversity and inclusion efforts.

In an interview with Forbes published Tuesday, the 68-year-old Canadian businessman aired "a flurry of grievances" against the famous athleisure company he launched in 1998.

Wilson said the people in lululemon ads looked "unhealthy," "sickly," and "not inspirational," and expressed distaste for the label's "whole diversity and inclusion thing."

"They're trying to become like the Gap — everything to everybody. And I think the definition of a brand is that you're not everything to everybody," the billionaire said. "You've got to be clear that you don't want certain customers coming in."

This is hardly the first time Wilson has shared a hot take, especially involving lululemon.

Things between him and the brand began souring publicly in 2013 when several customers complained that lululemon yoga pants were see-through. Wilson doubled down by blaming women.

"Frankly, some women's bodies just don't actually work [for these yoga pants]," he told Bloomberg. "It's more really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it."

The statement caused uproar and led him to resign from his non-executive chairperson role at lululemon.

Soon after, he began pointing out issues with lululemon's leadership, complaining that it was not in line with the original values set for the brand and reached out to other shareholders with reservations about lululemon's values.

On Thursday morning, a lululemon company spokesperson provided a statement explaining that Wilson "does not speak for lululemon" and that his comments do not reflect company views or beliefs.

"Chip has not been involved with the company since his resignation from the board in 2015 and we are a very different company today," they said in an email, stressing that the brand is committed to creating and fostering an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming environment throughout the organization and across its communities.

"We have made considerable progress since launching our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action (IDEA) function, and we are proud of the goals we have achieved."

"We also recognize that becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization takes time and is only possible through the sustained efforts of our leaders and our people. We remain steadfast in our commitment to become a more inclusive and diverse company," the spokesperson concluded.

Lead photo by

@chipwilsonofficial/Instagram | William Barton/Shutterstock


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