• Home
  • News
  • People
  • Lululemon founder Chip Wilson stirs controversy over diversity remarks

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson stirs controversy over diversity remarks



Scroll down to read more


Lululemon Hamburg storefront Credits: FashionUnited

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) founder Chip Wilson's remark over the brand's diversity approach has created a controversy. In a recent Forbes interview, Wilson stated, "Lululemon is trying to be everything to everybody. But you've got to be clear that you don't want certain customers coming in."

The athletic clothing company, founded by Wilson in 1998, had started featuring more inclusive campaigns including diverse races and curvier body types in the past few years. Wilson criticized these changes by commenting that the people in new ads look "unhealthy," "sickly," and "not inspirational."

This isn't the first time Wilson has faced backlash for such comments. In 2013, he responded to criticisms about some Lululemon pants by suggesting that some women's bodies weren't meant for the brand. This led to significant backlash, resulting in his resignation from the position of Chairman of the Board. By 2015, he had completely distanced himself from the company, although he still holds an 8% stake, making him the largest individual shareholder of Lululemon.

In an interview with Canada's National Post Business Magazine in 2004, Wilson said that he came up with the brand name with three L's because the letter doesn't exist in Japanese phonetics. He further said, "It's funny to watch them try and say it."

Responding to his latest remark, a Lululemon spokesman said that, "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 he resigned from the board in 2015 and we are a very different company today."

The spokesman further confirmed that the company is committed to creating and fostering an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming environment throughout the organization.(DPA)

Chip Wilson