Montana residents often engage in yoga in order to relax, but they are likely to be disappointed after learning that some of their pants may be see-through. Fitness apparel company Lululemon recently had to recall 17 percent of its black yoga pants after a supplier from Taiwan made a defective batch with see-through material. The product liability issue could cause negative publicity for the Canadian company.

The issue involves the pants’ fabric, which is made from a blend of lycra and nylon. The pants appear solid while worn in a standing position, but when people bend over, others can easily see through the garments. If the person wearing these pants is not sporting any underwear, then others can potentially see private body parts, which could cause embarrassment for yoga participants and business problems for exercise studio owners.

Lululemon is offering consumers refunds for pants bought after March 1. It is estimated that the error and partially defective product could cost the company $60 million and decrease its popularity among its many loyal fans. The company has been on a growth spurt in the past five years, with sales tripling and the number of stores increasing from 70 to 200.

There are several types of defects covered under product liability law. In this case, manufacturing defects from a supplier are apparently to blame. This means that the company did not properly manufacture the product in accordance with its own specifications. If the pants are made to be used for yoga, then they need to be usable by consumers practicing yoga. Although thin pants are ideal for the activity, pants that are too thin can cause humiliation, ridicule, and a host of other problems.

It is possible, though, for a consumer to file a lawsuit and claim negligence regarding a product that fails to do the job for which it was intended. However, expert legal advice is almost always necessary, since manufacturers may utilize a large arsenal of defensive tactics when confronted with their defective product.


Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “What Lululemon’s yoga pants recall reveals,” Claire Suddath, March 28, 2013