Bend-over test revealed Lululemon's defect

After recalling yoga pants for being too revealing, the company says the defect wasn't noticed until customers presented a view from a key angle.

By Aimee Picchi Mar 22, 2013 1:13PM

Clothing made by Lululemon Athletica Inc. on display for sale on March 19, 2013 in Pasadena, California ( Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)Lululemon (LULU) shocked the yoga world when it revealed on Monday that some of its popular black Luon pants were too sheer, leading to see-through bottoms. 

But another surprise was revealed by CEO Christine Day on a Thursday conference call, when she noted that the defect with the pants weren't noticed until customers put on the pants and bent over. 

Remember, these are yoga pants. 

It's not clear why the company didn't ask a few employees to don a pair and try the basic butt-in-the-air downward dog pose before shipping them out to stores. That would have certainly revealed the pants' defects, rather than letting customers find out they were baring all in the middle of their Bikram classes.

"The truth of the matter is the only way that you can actually test for the issue is to put the pants on and bend over,” Day said on the conference call. "Just putting the pants on themselves doesn’t solve the problem. So it passed all of the basic metric tests, and the hand feel is relatively the same. So it was very difficult for the factories to isolate the issue, and it wasn’t until we got in a store and started putting it on people that we could actually see the issue.”

Day said the company was "pursuing several hypotheses" to figure out what went wrong with the pants. 

The recall affected 17% of all the women's pants sold in Lululemon's stores, as reported by my colleague Jonathan Berr. The company's shares have declined 15% this year through Thursday. 

The fabric, called Luon, is made of 86% nylon and 14% Lycra and has a reputation of wicking away moisture when you sweat, according to Business Insider

"This is not the Luon we have come to love," Day said on the call. 

While she said the company is putting in stricter quality-control measures, it's not clear whether fans will stick with the retailer. After all, competitors such as Gap's (GPS) Athleta sell a similar type of pants. Lululemon also said it will have a shortage of the impacted style. 

Asked repeatedly by analysts about what went wrong, Day noted the fabric "has to be engaged in a four-way stretch for the sheerness to appear. So it’s a very complex thing to test for."

Maybe, but most yoga fans would tell you that a child's pose is, well, child's play.

More on moneyNOW

Mar 22, 2013 1:47PM
They finally came out with the perfect Yoga pants, and they pulled them off the market!  =P
Mar 22, 2013 3:00PM
C'mon MSN, put a model with the pants in the pictures!!
Mar 22, 2013 2:11PM

I'd wager they went for a less expensive, more sheer fabric. The profits would increase, and a bit of what goes on in some exercise classes would be enhanced.


I'd also wager the Lululemon folks are being asked by more than a few folks right now: "Where, uh, can some of those black yoga pants you've pulled off the market be purchased?"

Mar 22, 2013 3:42PM
Pics or it didn't happen... that's all I'm saying ;)
Mar 22, 2013 3:13PM
When life deals you lemons make lemonade.

Pack up all the recalled pants and sell them to  Victoria secrets as a new line
Mar 22, 2013 3:15PM
New concept...naked yoga, end of discussion .
Mar 22, 2013 3:01PM
This is something any guy cyclist has known for years!   All you have to do is 'Pace Line' any 'cute babe' wearing black spandex tights & in a tuck....WONDERFUL natural views!...Mother nature at her best!!
Mar 22, 2013 3:17PM
I don't what brand of pants the ladies in my yoga class use, but for pretty much the last 3 years since I started going, I know what color your bloomers are or if you are wearing any at all. Since it's pretty apparent, I always figured they knew and didn't really care. I definitely know a couple of the more flower-childy ones don't.
Mar 22, 2013 3:27PM
seeing is believing, somebody post a picture or a video, I need to see for myself :)
Mar 22, 2013 3:36PM
 butt-in-the-air downward dog pose.... Or as guys would call it the "Face down a$$ up"
Mar 22, 2013 2:57PM
Whoever has these could get a fair price on ebay, or give them to their girlfriends.
Mar 22, 2013 3:19PM
Why can't they just sell both - regular and extra sheer?
Mar 22, 2013 3:05PM
when I put on yoga pants, the problem is NOT sheerness...
Mar 22, 2013 3:21PM
I love those pants, and leggings the nice looking gals wear...the ones you can see through even when they're not bending sexy!
Mar 22, 2013 3:21PM
Being at the back of the yoga class will benefit for several reasons now!!
Mar 22, 2013 2:57PM
HMM, my girlfriend bought a couple of them but did not wear them yet.
Mar 22, 2013 3:48PM
well, come on, let's see that angle shot
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