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Victoria’s Secret changes policy to become inclusive in its approach. They let go of their Angels and bring in an inclusive collective of brand ambassadors like Priyanka Chopra and Megan Rapinoe.
Victoria’s Secret (VS) was once the most premium women’s lingerie and clothing brand in the world. For years, the company enjoyed an uncontested market share. The annual Victoria’s Secret show was a widely anticipated fashion event along with being a household name.
Today, Victoria’s Secret has fallen far from its heyday popularity. Its stock has plummeted considerably in the past few years. The current value of the company stands at $5 billion, down from its $29 billion valuation in 2015. Several VS stores also had to be shut down because of poor quarterly performance.
In addition to economic woes, Victoria’s Secret has been under fire for its poor record of inclusivity. The company has always faced criticism for promoting limited beauty standards that catered to the male gaze. In addition, key members of VS and L Brands have faced scrutiny for creating a climate that encouraged sexism. Former chairman Leslie Wexner had to step down from his role due to his connection to child predator Jeffrey Epstein. Likewise, Ed Razek-Chief Marketing Officer of L Brands-had to apologize and step down for his negative comments about trans and plus size models. Lawsuits were filed to this end against VS because of its “entrenched culture of misogyny.”
A company that sells clothing to women cannot be seen today as a non-inclusive brand. Keeping this in mind, Victoria’s Secret has attempted to revamp its image. The new Victoria’s Secret is being marketed as a company which is about “what women want.” A new board of directors has been created for VS which is mostly composed of women. This new board has implemented sweeping changes in an attempt to turn around the VS brand.
In 2019, L Brands announced that it was cancelling the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Victoria’s Secret announced this June that it was phasing out the Angels (i.e., models signed on by VS to wear their lingerie and clothing lines). In a statement to the New York Times, VS CEO Martin Waters acknowledged that the Angels were not “culturally relevant” anymore.
In place of the Angels, VS announced the VS Collective, a group of women ambassadors from various backgrounds. Notable partners of the VS Collective include soccer star Megan Rapinoe, actress Priyanka Jonas, transgender model Valentina Sampaio and skier Eileen Gu.
Other partners include biracial model and activist Paloma Elsesser, model Adut Akech and media personality Amanda de Cadenet. de Cadenet is slated to host a VS Collective podcast which will feature all the partners discussing womens’ perspectives and issues.
In addition to the VS Collective, Victoria’s Secret is also funding research into ovarian and breast cancers. The company is collaborating with the non-profit Pelotonia to establish the Victoria’s Secret Global Fund for Women’s Cancers. In addition to cancer research, the partnership will also dedicate $5 million to combat gender and racial inequalities. Lastly, VS is expanding its market presence by focusing on sportswear and functional garments.
The new era of Victoria’s Secret is centered around building “new, deeper relationships with all women.” Whether the turnaround efforts will bear fruit remains to be seen. Users on social media are divided by the changes. Some have embraced them; others, especially liberal feminists, remain skeptical of VS.
Will the iconic Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show return someday? Some of us at Fashinza believe that the Angels are gone for good. The consensus however is that the show will return, albeit in a revamped format. The success of the SavagexFenty shows indicate that this is a strong possibility.