The Bizarre Reason Lululemon Got Its Name

Lululemon is a leggings giant. The company has grown from a single store in 2000 to having a billion-dollar valuation shortly over a decade later (via Motley Fool). Dreamed up while founder Chip Wilson was at a yoga class, the brand's trademark leggings, called Groove Pants, sell for $98. These premium pants dominate the world of yoga clothing with a patented fabric called "luon" which is a lycra/nylon mix that stretches four ways and wicks away moisture. 

Some have called Lululemon's fan club a cult-like following with an entire culture behind the look emphasizing health and self-empowerment (via Business Insider). The pants themselves have caused a scandal, with the opacity of the fabric stretching a bit too much for curvier body shapes. In a 2013 interview Wilson reportedly said, "They don't work for some women's bodies ... it's really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it" (via Business Insider).

Unfortunately critiquing women's body shape is only the beginning of Wilson's bizarre, and at times creepy and offensive behavior. Just take the misguided (and downright offensive) reason for the brand's name.

You can't spell Lululemon without a lot of L's

In a now (smartly) deleted letter, Wilson shared that he named the brand Lululemon because it had three L's, which were difficult for Japanese people to say, and he thought it was funny. In a later interview, Wilson continued sharing his take on Japanese culture and his brand name, "I was playing with Ls and I came up with Lululemon. It's funny to watch them try to say it," (via Financial Post). Um, slightly rude, disrespectful, and insulting? That would be putting things mildly!

The extent of Wilson's off-putting behavior reaches far beyond naming his yoga empire, and ultimately caused him to part ways with the brand. Indeed, in 2015 Wilson left the company, following his resignation as chairman of the board the year before, and his departure as chief branding and innovation officer three years prior. Still, Lululemon's name hasn't changed since Wilson left, and continues to be a mega-selling brand in the yogasphere.