When Lululemon thumbed its nose at empathy by blaming women's thighs for its own mistakes, customers started saying in droves "You don't actually get me at all." It is like discovering your spouse has an alternate personality that you don't recognize. Where did Lululemon go wrong? In our view, two places.
A lot of people will directly correlate Chip Wilson's decision to stand down as Lululemon Non-Executive Chairman to comments he made in November, when he redirected a question about the quality of the fabric of the company's pants, suggesting that they may not be appropriate for all women's body types. His resignation will be called a necessity, a firing, and a forced move. This is an over-simplified view of what is really happening at Lululemon.
The focus of our petition is less about hurting Lululemon and more about helping women. Our goal isn't about bringing Lululemon down, or forcing them to sell merchandise they don't want to, it's about starting a conversation that will open the eyes and minds of so many people who insist on judging a person's level of health by their weight.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson explained that when the company's pants become see-through or start to pill, the problem may have more to do with the shape and size of the woman wearing the garment than the garment itself. "Some women's bodies just actually don't work for [the pants]," Wilson said. "...it's really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time and how much they use it." In other words, don't blame the "In the Flow" crops. They can't help it if your legs are just too flabby for proper athletic-wear functioning.
Healthy bodies are being shamed so they can glorify skinny ones. We need to love our bodies into health, not hate them into being skinny. Lulelemon should be about getting all women IN the game, not banishing most of them to the sidelines. Lululemon stores even keep their largest items -- sizes 10 and 12 -- segregated from smaller sizes.