Somebody Call Victoria, Her Secret’s Out and So is Her Fashion Show
The annual Victoria’s Secret (VS) fashion show has been canceled. The parent company of Victoria’s Secret, L Brands, decided to sack the show this year to “evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret”.
Last year, after the debut of Rihanna’s SavageXFenty show, the VS fashion show began facing backlash from viewers.
— Savage X Fenty by Rihanna (@SavageXFenty) October 30, 2019
The Controversy Started with an Offensive Interview
Ed Razek and Monica Mitro of L Brands addressed some of these concerns in an interview with Vogue last November. The controversial interview didn’t settle well with viewers over Razek’s comments about putting transgender models in the VS fashion show. He claimed that the show was a “fantasy and a 42-minute entertainment special.”
When faced with the criticism of not using curve or plus-size models, Razek said: “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
Despite Razek aggressively defending the one-size-fits-all cutout of a Victoria’s Secret Angel, last year the show had it’s lowest ratings ever and the brand continues to face declining sales.
Some Twitter users blame the “sensitivity” of our culture while others rejoiced at the downfall of the VS fashion show.
it’s funny to me how they chose to cancel the VS Fashion Show instead of just being more inclusive??
— payesi (@PayesiChheda) November 22, 2019
the whole point of VS models/fashion shows is that the models look completely near perfect, that’s literally the point. people are too sensitive https://t.co/E0W8RplLMm
— kobe myatae (@KobeMyatae) November 22, 2019
idc if VS is cancelling their stupid fashion show, they put like 2 skinny black girls up there and call it a day, rihanna had men, disabled people, trans women of color, and plus size women wearing lingerie at the savagexfenty fashion show, that’s how you do it
— 𝖏𝖆𝖘𝖒𝖎𝖓𝖊 (@NORMANlSWHORE) November 22, 2019
At the end of the day, sensitivity has nothing to do with the reason the fashion show was canceled. Nobody petitioned to make seeing thin, cisgender people on television illegal, nor did activists blackmail the company into shutting down the show; people simply stopped watching.
Victoria’s Secret realized that their fashion show wasn’t appealing to consumers, for decades it has ignored major cultural changes and has pushed the same image of fashion since the 90’s. Ed Razek said it himself, the VS fashion show is a “42 minute entertainment special”, maybe the fashion show was never about fashion to begin with.
Evolving the Brand
Victoria’s Secret has been working to improve its company since Ed Razek’s Vogue interview last November. In August, the brand hired its first transgender model for VS Pink, Valentina Sampaio. A few weeks later, Ed Razek resigned from his position of chief marketer.
In October, in a collaboration with Bluebella, Victoria’s Secret introduced a curve model, Ali Tate.
An openly transgender model, May Simon Lifschitz starred in the same Bluebella x Victoria’s Secret campaign.
View this post on Instagram
We can’t all be strong at the same time, so let there be vulnerability amongst us. Lets be honest. Let’s use our differences as our strengths and lift each other up. So grateful to have been a part of this campaign celebrating diversity, with an almost all female crew. No matter how specific your personal struggles might be, with your body, with yourself, or with the world – the basic emotions behind them are the same. Let this bind us together, so we can truly encourage each other and ourself to love ourselves – including our vulnerabilities. #LoveYourself @bluebella @victoriassecret
What Will it Really Take?
While Victoria’s Secret is taking steps to broaden their horizons, the change has been far from radical.
While Tate and Lifschitz appear as the face of the Bluebella x Victoria’s secret campaign, neither of the models appear on the website. The models were cast for a partnership with Victoria’s Secret, but it is unlikely that they are employed by the brand despite misleading article headlines. While the company has featured diverse models, they have yet to make any of them Angels.
The good news is, the VS Pink line has widened their range of models on their website and Instagram in the last year.
What About the Sales?
Who knew all it would take for Victoria’s Secret to be inclusive would be falling sales and backlash? I feel like it is good on Victoria’s Secret to evolve their marketing, but we still need to be critical and see where the brand goes with this before we give them a big ol’ pat on the back.
Obviously, lack of diversity is not the only reason why Victoria’s Secret is losing sales and views; people don’t really even like their lingerie anymore. If a lingerie brand fails time and time again to relate to their target audience, it is no wonder why people have stopped associating with them. Consumers know what they want to see in a brand and they have the free will to decide not to purchase from companies who don’t suit them.
On that note, here are a few other lingerie brands besides Victoria’s Secret to check out:
Featured Image Via Elle