At some point in their lives, almost every girl has thought about what it would be like to walk the Victoria’s Secret runway as an angel. Getting pampered to the extreme, wearing beautiful lingerie, and walking alongside the world’s most famous supermodels doesn’t sound like too bad of a job. But lately, the allure of the most-watched fashion event of the year is losing its credibility.
With the growing popularity of more authentic lingerie brands, such as Aerie and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty, it makes sense why Victoria’s Secret’s sales have been struggling over the past few years; they’re failing to keep up with the rapidly evolving times. Consumers tastes are changing. According to research on a sample of eighty lingerie retailers across the US and Europe, “Sell outs of push-up bras have fallen by 50% compared to a year ago, while sell-outs of bralette, or triangle bras, have rocketed by 120%. Women are focused more on being comfortable than on fitting society’s definition of “sexy.”
Consumers are also gravitating towards stores that favor body inclusive marketing rather than Victoria’s Secret’s campaigns, which only use models that live up to a certain beauty standard. And for good reason too, because who wants to shop at a store that makes them feel as if they have to be 5’10”, size 2 and have amazing abs in order to look sexy and feel confident?
With Victoria’s Secret on the decline, it’s hard not to wonder whether the runway show will falter as well, or if it will continue to rack in upwards of 800 million annual viewers.
While 2018’s Fashion Week runways were plagued with diversity as designers are finally including models with different body types, skin colors and gender identities, Victoria’s Secret is still hesitant to redefine their idea of beauty. The process to become a VS angel is intense and extremely selective. For a brand that’s claiming to represent “real women” through their campaigns, it’s frivolous to choose only the “most beautiful” women as a representation of beauty. Not only are women seeing right through this clannish marketing move, but it’s also getting stale.
In a recent interview with Vogue, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands, was asked about the lack of diversity in the Victoria’s Secret runway show. He mentioned that although they have considered the possibility of putting plus size models in the show, they ultimately don’t feel the need to branch out to a more inclusive group of models. When asked about having transsexuals in the show, Razek replied, “No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
Comments like these make it clear that the executives of Victoria’s Secret are more concerned about banking on unrealistic ideals of women than promoting inclusivity and diversification.
In order to continue to have significance, Victoria’s Secret will have to face the growing inclusion within the fashion industry and completely reinvent the brand to focus on attracting a larger consumer base by making every woman feel like they’re an angel, regardless of whether or not they’re a 5’10” blonde supermodel.