That’s right, Lululemon has entered the menswear business — and it’s attracting a lot of men’s business with pants designed for men’s business.
Below is a photo of the Vancouver-based company’s new "anti-ball crushing" (or ABC) pants, which were engineered to give "the family jewels room to breathe," according to a product description.
Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevintold investors during a call Thursday that this innovative garment was a driving force behind the 16 per cent same-store sales increase the company experienced last quarter.
After suffering an eight per cent profit drop ahead of December’s holiday shopping season, this no doubt comes as good news to shareholders.
It may also come as good news to men who've not yet heard of the ABC pants and want to experience a "wide panelled gusset" and "four-way stretch Warpstreme™ fabric" themselves.
While the Internet Archive shows that customers have been able to purchase the $128 trousers from Lululemon’s website for at least eight months, few online appear to have heard about the anatomy-friendly pants (as Bloomberg calls them) until reports from the investors call came out this week.
Many were joking about the pants on Twitter Friday afternoon, but dozens of reviews on the product’s webpage show that some men do take their… er… bike-seat comfort very seriously.
'Hug me in the right places'
"I would buy more of these pants except then people at work would think I only owned 5 pairs of one kind of pants in different colours," wrote a customer from Toronto earlier this month. "They are fantastic! Buy one size bigger than normal. If that bugs your ego you can sew in a new label size ..."
"Things will never be the same," wrote another customer from Houston, Texas. "These pants hug me in the right places."
Lululemon’s intensified push into the menswear market, which saw the company’s first brick-and-mortar store dedicated to men’s clothing open in November, follows a couple of turbulent years in the world of their women’s wear.
In July of 2013, Lululemon was hit with a class action lawsuit alleging that its Luon yoga pants were too sheer (if not entirely see-through), following a recall that saw its shares drop 3 per cent in one day.
Later that year, company founder Chip Wilson ignited controversy by saying that Lululemon yoga pants "just don’t work" on some women’s bodies. Many accused Wilson, who established the business in 1998, of fat-shaming larger customers, slamming Lululemon online and threatening to boycott the store.
A poorly-received charitable partnership with the Dalai Lama, shopping bag messages that appeared to discourage customers from wearing sunscreen, and Wilson’s plans to build an enormous dock on his waterfront B.C. property despite complaints from neighbours further damaged the company’s public image.
Wilson stepped down from Lululemon’s board of directors in February, saying in a statement that he believed the company to be "back on track" in terms of product, brand and culture.
If the popularity of the anti-ball crushing pants are any indication, he may have been right.