Chip Wilson must have thought the profile The New York Times just published on him would be a great way to promote his wife and son’s new athleisure label, Kit and Ace. In a way, it was — we learned a lot about the company, which some say is poised to be a competitor for Lululemon, the company he started back in the 90s before stepping down as chairman in 2013 and resigning from its board of directors today. Though it’s informative, the piece also happens to make Wilson sound like a serious creeper.
Wilson is described in the beginning as a “socially inept,” awkward kind of guy, who was fascinated by women, but simply didn’t get how to interact with them. “I didn’t know how to be with a woman. Like, what do they really want,” he said, before the paper mentions that it is this thought that caused Wilson to become a “keen observer” of the ladies, checking them out during his mostly female yoga class. Wow, what an opportune time to do research.
“I think that Lululemon was so successful because I was probably the only straight guy that was making women’s apparel, and I knew what a guy liked,” Wilson said. “Girls ended up wearing it, and guys commented on it.” We get that you have to study your customer in order to make a better product, but to imagine Wilson designing tights that are practical but also make women’s butts look better as an added bonus, just makes us feel a little bit icky about wearing workout gear, especially coming from his brand.
To add the cherry on top of Wilson’s creep factor, we’re left with a vivid image of him and his market research in action. “As he spoke, a shapely brunette approached from below. She passed us on the narrow trail, wearing pants with the Lululemon logo just above her tailbone. Wilson followed her backside with his eyes. He turned to me with a grin. ‘It’s my job,’ he said. ‘I have to look.'”
Right. Remind us never to hike on any trail Wilson frequents.