Originally appeared on BNNBloomberg.ca on Oct. 17, 2018
Chip Wilson doesn’t care if Kim Kardashian wears Lululemon.
“I’m not a celebrity person, I don’t actually like it when Kim is doing it,” the Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU.O) founder told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Wednesday when asked what he thought about some of the world’s biggest celebrities wearing his apparel as street clothes.
“I mean, she can do what she wants,” he continued. “We really want our stuff on authentic people that actually want to do it for athletics and not to just look good. So that’s two different distinctions on it for sure.”
Wilson, who founded the athleisure-wear brand in 1998, did bask in the glory of how his brand changed everyday clothing trends, however.
“Lululemon reinvented a whole clothing category and actually changed the way people dress in the whole world.”
Wilson was in Toronto to promote the Tuesday release of his book ‘Little Black Stretchy Pants,’ which calls itself ‘the unauthorized story of Lululemon.’
He says the company he founded – while operating in as far-reaching locales as Qatar, Malaysia and Sweden – has been hindered by not going international sooner.
“We invented pop-up stores, they were a break-even thing. We could have opened up 500 of them around the world in 2010. We didn’t do it,” he said, blaming a “very stale board of directors” for being gun-shy on expansion.
Wilson stepped down as the company’s CEO in 2005 and left its board of directors in 2015. He has been a vocal critic of the company since his exit, stating in a 2016 open letter to shareholders that the company had “lost its way.” He still owns a 13 per cent stake in the company.
“Lululemon’s already international, but it’s just, like, six, seven years behind what it could have been. It should be number one in the world, not number, like, three.”