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What Lululemon's Yoga Pants Recall Reveals

The athletic wear company has recalled thousands of defective leggings. The story behind it isn’t so clear-cut
The next yogi fad after see-through pants? No pants at all
The next yogi fad after see-through pants? No pants at allPhotograph by Brea Souders for Bloomberg Businessweek

Lululemon Athletica has an image problem. On March 18 the Canadian athletic apparel company recalled 17 percent of its stretchy black yoga pants after store managers raised concerns that the material was too thin—so thin, the pants were inadvertently see-through.

It’s hard to tell anything’s wrong with the pants while you’re standing up, but striking a yoga pose or stretch-ing before a run, the issue—and your underwear, or lack thereof—reveals itself. In a press release, Lululemon says the problem is the nylon-and-lycra-blend fabric it calls Luon, which is in its Wunder Unders pants ($72-$98), Skinny Will leggings ($98), and Astro Pant ($98). “The only way to test for the problem is to put the pants on and bend over,” Chief Executive Officer Christine Day said in a conference call.