Chip Wilson Blasts Lululemon for Being Inclusive, Says It’s ‘Trying to Become Like the Gap’

Chip Wilson is at it again. In an interview with Forbes, the 68-year-old founder of the luxury athleisure apparel company Lululemon (Nasdaq: LULU) is blasting the brand’s “whole diversity and inclusion thing.”

“They’re trying to become like the Gap, everything to everybody,” Wilson said, also pointing out that he thinks the models in Lululemon ads look “unhealthy,” “sickly” and “not inspirational.”

Wilson, who built the company in 1998 but left completely in 2015 (more on this later), thinks Lululemon should be going for exclusivity rather than inclusivity.

“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,” Wilson said, despite growing his wealth mostly from the success of Lululemon after he left.

Wilson stepped down as CEO in 2013 after sparking public outrage when he told Bloomberg Television’s Street Smart that the leggings Lululemon has become known for “don’t work for some women’s bodies,” particularly plus-size women because “it’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it.”

According to a statement from the company, 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.”

Wilson, with an 8% stake, is still the largest shareholder of Lululemon. This means he’s now just basically making money off of the company he’s criticizing. According to Forbes, Lululemon doubled its revenue from about $4 billion to over $8 billion during the pandemic. The company, with a market capitalization of $60 billion, ranks as the 7th largest apparel company globally.

Information for this story was found via Forbes, Fortune, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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