Lululemon founder Chip Wilson criticized his former company’s “whole diversity and inclusion thing” in a recent interview, claiming the sportswear brand is trying to be “everything to everybody.”
“They’re trying to become like the Gap, everything to everybody,” Wilson told Forbes in an interview published Tuesday. “And I think the definition of a brand is that you’re not everything to everybody… You’ve got to be clear that you don’t want certain customers coming in.”
He also said the models in the company’s advertisements look “unhealthy,” “sickly” and “not inspirational.”
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Wilson left the company in 2015 after he made controversial comments that Lululemon’s leggings don’t work for “some women’s bodies.”
“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,” he added in a comment that was deemed fatphobic by some.
Wilson made the comments after critics accused the company’s pricey leggings of being see-through.
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Wilson has also made other controversial comments in the past, including saying that he decided to call the company Lululemon because the “L” sound doesn’t exist in the Japanese alphabet and “it’s funny to watch them try and say it.” He also blamed birth control pills for higher divorce rates and wrote in his book “Little Black Stretchy Pants” that he believes working is a good alternative for some kids in Asian countries who can’t go to school.
Wilson, who is worth nearly $8 billion, according to Forbes, still has an 8% stake in Lululemon and added nearly $4 billion to his net worth in 2020 because of the brand’s success.
Lululemon said in a statement sent to FOX Business: “Chip Wilson does not speak for lululemon, and his comments do not reflect our 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.”
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The spokesperson added, “lululemon is committed to creating and fostering an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming environment throughout our organization and across our 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.”