Lingerie brand Victoria Secret, known for perpetuating traditional beauty standards, has rebranded with a more diverse line-up.
Yesterday, the brand announced it would no longer be calling its ambassadors ‘angels’ and announced a new line-up of spokesmodels that it dubbed the VS Collective.
In the past, Victoria Secret has been criticised for its models being too thin or underweight. Adriana Lima didn’t help this when she famously said in 2011 that she didn’t eat solid food nine days before a Victoria Secret Show.
In 2019, the lingerie brand did hire plus-size model Ali Tate-Cutler, but the brand had yet to make any big changes.
The VS Collective list marked a change in ambassadors for Victoria Secret, offering a more diverse line-up including 38-year-old actress Priyanka Chopra Jones, soccer star Megan Rapinoe and transgender activist Valentina Sampaio.
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While for many brands that list may not seem groundbreaking, competitors like lingerie brand Savage x Fenty have been embracing a diverse lineup since its inception in 2018.
It marks a big change in direction for the iconic brand that use to only feature models that fit into traditional beauty standards.
The announcement of transgender model Valentina Sampaio was particularly poignant considering that, according to The Guardian in 2018, the chief marketing officer of Victoria Secret’s parent company L Brands, Ed Razer, told Vogue he didn’t want transgender models in a Victoria Secret show because it would spoil the “fantasy”.
Razer later apologised.
In lieu of the new announcement Victoria Secret’s chief executive, Martin Waters told The New York Times, “When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond. We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
Waters also told The New York Times that he no longer felt the term ‘angels’ was “culturally relevant.”
Waters isn’t wrong about the world changing.
In February, CNN Business reported that Victoria Secret’s parent company L Brands announced plans to close up to 50 stores in The United States and Canada. The brand had already closed 241 stores in 2020.
While Victoria Secret was undeniably affected by COVID like the rest of the retail industry, it was already failing to connect with customers as it had in the past.
In 2019, the lingerie brand announced that its famous annual televised Victoria Secret runway show would be cancelled indefinitely.
Variety reported that the brand cited the reason for the cancellation being they planned to “evolve the marketing”.
The rebrand has not been met without criticism.
not women empowerment from Victoria Secret after 20+ years pic.twitter.com/vPjBDopfZR
— brianavision (@imnotbri_) June 16, 2021
He literally doesn't know that Victoria Secret has been seeing declining revenue for years, even canceling their fashion show, cuz they have been so out of touch with women's bodies. It's prob too late for VS, but hiring Megan Rapinoe is a positive step.
— Angela Belcamino (@AngelaBelcamino) June 16, 2021
Victoria Secret is a crappy way overpriced brand who now has crappy models to match. In other news, I could not care less.
— SallyThatClemsonGirl (@SallyTiger) June 18, 2021
all victoria secret had to do was take out some of the 10+ blondes that look exactly the same and add some women of colour and plus size models, i’m not getting the disconnect
— tisci muse ✨ (@tiscihasmyheart) June 17, 2021
hell hath no fury like a straight dude hearing that megan rapinoe is gonna be brand representative for victoria secret
— Flo Vanilli (@bazluken) June 16, 2021
Only time will tell if Victoria Secret will manage to win back customers, but if the rebrand is successful, then we will all know it has evolved.
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