retail-apparel

When life gives you (lulu)lemons, make $92 pants

Nov. 15, 2013 at 5:28 PM ET

The sheer yoga pants that Lululemon Athletica recalled are back -- with a patch that the company calls "innovative upcycling."
Lucas Jackson / Reuters
The sheer yoga pants that Lululemon Athletica recalled are back -- with a patch that the company calls "innovative upcycling."

What a lulu. Only weeks after reports surfaced of persistent complaints about the sheerness of its pricey yoga pants, Lululemon Athletica's controversy-plagued pants are back in the spotlight — and the store shelves.

Business Insider noted earlier this week that the company is selling “Second Chance Pants,” emblazoned with a cheery tag that reads, “This is what celebrating failure looks like.”

The company confirmed that these are the former recalled pants, transformed by "innovative upcycling" — that’s a patch across the backside, in layman’s terms — into pants as well as a shorts-skirt combo. It calls the items a "functional and beautiful solution," and seems confident its customers will agree — the pants cost $92, only $6 less than some of its popular full-priced pants.

Lululemon didn't respond to a request for comment about sales of the recycled pants. But some comments from social media users indicate that the new pants might not be any more popular than the old ones — and a similar reason could be to blame. The Second Chance Pants have sheer mesh panels that run up the sides of the legs.

“See through mesh down the side? Ick! Not classy," a reader wrote in the comments of a post on luluaddict.blogspot.com that showed pictures of the peekaboo pants.

"The mesh comes up so high, I felt kinda exposed … you could see the undies poking thru the mesh on the side," another wrote.

In response to recent complaints about sheerness and pilling in post-recall pants, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson provoked further customer ire in an interview with Bloomberg TV earlier this month in which he claimed some women's bodies "don't work" with the tight-fitting pants because their thighs rub together.

The company's Facebook page quickly became a forum where angry customers accused Wilson and his company of fat-shaming and promoting unrealistic expectations of female body image. A video apology posted on Lululemon’s YouTube channel and Facebook page failed to quell customers' ire, primarily because the apology sounded more for employees than offended customers. “I’m sad for the people at Lululemon who I care so much about … I’m sorry to have put you all through this,” Wilson said.

And at least one store exhibited a tone-deaf response to the whole mess. A Facebook user complained on Wednesday about a Lululemon store in suburban Detroit displaying a sign that read, "Size Does Matter." A company Facebook moderator responded and said the store had subsequently removed the sign.

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