Recently, Victoria’s Secret came under media fire following a recent Vogue interview chief marketing officer Ed Razek’s comments on diversity within the lingerie brand’s annual fashion role.
Within the interview, Razek had made various detrimental comments in regards to plus-size and transgender models, stating that he felt no obligation to include such models within the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, stating “The show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
Despite a follow-up apology issued by Razek following online critique, his comments demonstrate much of the old-fashioned mindset and sentiments of a large majority of the fashion world, in which only a few select rage of women are considered “beautiful,” a.k.a. thin, cisgender, etc., and marketing towards those limited body types.
Within recent years, the campaign for more diversity in media, both fictional and advertising, has been rising, giving voice to concerns that the media available must reflect that of its consumers, who range from all walks of life, from ethnicity to gender identity to various body shapes.
Models such as Ashley Graham have gained massive attention for promoting body positivity, a social movement that calls for the promotion of self-love and inclusivity of people with various body types and shapes.
Models such as GeenaRocero and Carmen Carreraare breaking grounds as transgender women of color, acting as public figures for LGBTQ+ activism.
As a mainstream fashion company founded in 1977 over 41 years ago, Victoria’s Secret recent statement reflects an outdated mindset that does not align with current society’s values and wants.
In 2013, there was an online campaign calling for Carmen Carrera to become a Victoria’s Secrets “Angel,” the name for the brand’s select model, collecting thousands of signatures vying for the company’s first openly transgender model.
In an interview with Vibe, Carrera expressed her own interest in becoming an Angel, stating that “To be a Victoria Secret’s angel would be a dream. I would love to parade on a runway and show my pride and be a positive representation for my community.”
As per following the current chief marketing officer’s comments on transgender models, Carrera and follow LGBTQ+ activists have spoken out against his recent statement.
Adding salt to the original wound, Razek also stated: “We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.” However, this statement expresses a fundamental flaw in itself.
Recent studies and articles have shown that the average age of women in America is a U.S. 16 or 18, contradicting the almost monolithic lithe silhouettes displayed within the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
Since its inception, Victoria’s Secret has been a company marketing lingerie towards the average woman, becoming one of America’s largest lingerie retail companies. Yet by choosing not to feature certain body types within their fashion show, they are also rejecting the “average” woman they market to, insulting the very market they are trying to approach.
Limiting any market’s demographic does not increase profits as any smart business strategy can express. By maintaining a limited, outdated “fantasy,” Victoria’s Secret is rejecting the broader reality of “sexy,” which today is increasingly inclusive to represent all types of bodies, for all genders and sizes.