Fashion + Diversity

The Secret’s out Victoria: diversity is in

Lingerie – mid 19th century: from French, from linge ‘linen’. Lingerie is a way women can be in touch with their femininity and sexuality, becoming an extremely profitable market. Victoria’s Secret used to be the pioneers of the luxury undergarments, but times have changed. The secret’s out Victoria: diversity is in.

What is Victoria’s Secret?

The fashion and beauty house founded Roy and Graye Raymond specialises in lingerie, sleep wear, sportswear and apparel. Since 1995 Victoria’s Secret have hosted their very own fashion shows. They employ world renowned supermodels such as Tyra Banks, Bella Hadid, and Adriana Lima to showcase their latest launches at the star studded event. The models, nicknamed Victoria’s Angels, strut down the catwalk whilst popular artists such as Shawn Mendes perform, providing further entertainment. This has been a marketing success, with a recorded 1.5 million viewers tuning in. The results have shown a boost in sales, and the latest catwalks seeing a bigger budget and spectacle. However, something began to shift within consumers which saw the brand’s image begin to plummet. With an abundance of controversies linked to cultural appropriation, racism and negative body image, Victoria’s Secret needed to act fast. When questioned by Vogue Magazine about diversity within the fashion show, Victoria’s Secret president Edward Razek states:

“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader.”

What is the Fantasy?

Razek’s comment earned backlash and criticism on social media, with customers and journalists alike discussing his position within Victoria’s Secret. But most importantly, the effect dismissive comments about inclusion and diversity have on people. The show being a ‘fantasy’ is what stood out as it implies the reason they do not want trans models. It implies that in the eyes of the Victoria’s Secret brand being trans is not a fantasy. This is not only harmful but also incredibly false and damaging. Clothes can to be worn by anyone and everyone, no matter their gender, sex, size, age or race. By excluding a large demographic it shows that Victoria’s Secret does not care about helping people find their wings – no matter what they identify as. Diversity is essential as it puts the marginalised in a position which they thought they would never allowed into. Trans models as angels would show other trans women that they can be angels too. It would allow trans women to feel just as fun, sexy or free that lingerie is supposed to make everyone feel.

Make way for Savage X Fenty

Inclusion should never be done for the sake of inclusion. Casting trans Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio is a step in the right direction. But it also feels as if the brand is pandering to try and keep up. Pandering is what Razek accused Savage X Fenty of doing at their very own fashion show. Model and actress Slick Woods was heavily pregnant when she walked down the Savage X Fenty runway at fashion show which aired on Amazon Prime. The success of Savage X Fenty, a partnership between TechStyle Inc and Rihanna has garnered immense praise and adoration. The show featured models of all identifying genders, shapes and sizes and celebrated diversity. Savage X Fenty were able to breathe new life into the market, showing off their lingerie in exciting ways. Even the dancers, choreographed by Paris Globel, wore the lingerie displaying the quality and accessibility of their garments.

Clipped wings

Since Edward Razek stepped down from his position there has not been much buzz around Victoria’s Secret. The 2019 show was cancelled and reports say they have no plans to revive it. Parent company L Brand wants to ‘evolve the marketing’ of their signature lingerie brand but with 250 stores closing across the US and Canada, it’s safe to say this angel has hung up her wings. As for Savage X Fenty, they seem to be doing better than ever. With endorsements from celebrities such as Normani, Megan Thee Stallion and JoJo, it seems the brand know their audience well. By reaching out to women of different shapes and sizes, and new ambassadors being announced with each release, it’s safe to say Savage X Fenty is only just getting started. By cementing their views and ideologies surrounding inclusivity and diversity as an utmost importance, Savage X Fenty have become a brand fit for a new generation of women ready to express their true selves and look great whilst doing it.

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