Going through puberty as a girl can seem ever more challenging when faced with the mounting pressures of womanhood. I can still recall my first time entering Victoria’s Secret as a mere pimply 13 year-old.
For years I’d ogled at the store when making rounds around the mall with my mom, yearning for the day I would be allowed to step foot in the threshold, but wondering if that day would ever come. Once it did, it felt like some sort of initiation. As if it were a sign that I had reached the highly anticipated, yet somewhat dreaded first steps of puberty. Reaching for a pair of neon pink panties with the words ‘love pink’ scrawled across the butt, I felt like as much of a woman as a thirteen year old could.
Fast forward seven years and the brand is no longer treated with such high regard. Victoria’s Secret’s semi-annual sale is usually considered the sale of the year, attracting large crowds of teens and adults alike who fight over the cheapest yoga pants or best lace undies. But the brand’s parent company, L.Brand, reported last week that the sale did not quite deliver its expected outcome this year.
Instead, June sales dropped, and the sale was forced to be extended, therefore further dropping prices. Although the brand still remains as the No.1 US lingerie brand, its shares dropped 11% last week, and the brand is down a total of 40% for the year. Will this be the end of the long coveted lingerie brand? According to analysts, all signs point to yes.
Although I will admit I’ll miss the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, I too can admit that I also see the brand heading towards its demise. Despite my excitement for shopping there as a pre-teen, as I entered late teenagehood, I had already begun to dump the brand for its leading competitor – Aerie. Attracted to Aerie’s simpler style and color palette, as well as their more relaxed and comfortable fits, I ditched my push-up bras for lace-y bralettes almost as soon as my boobs stopped growing.
With Aerie being on the forefront of the body positive movement, many others joined me in the switch. Even the Victoria’s Secret fashion show that I still love often gets criticised for a lack of inclusivity. This combined with the fact that the majority of the brand’s stores are located in malls whose sales are continuing to decline, means that we may see the death of this lingerie brand sooner than we thought.
Am I sad to see the brand go? Honestly, no. Not because I think their quality is lacking, or their company corrupt, or even their designs ugly (I may not be a fan of Pink’s style, but Victoria’s Secret still produces some beautiful pieces). It’s more the fact that although I have seen other brands change and evolve to embrace the new movements in feminism and body acceptance, I have watched Victoria’s Secret stay steadily the same.
Their brand sales revolve around being sexy, but while sexy doesn’t necessarily look the same as it did seven years ago, that doesn’t mean it’s disappeared. If Victoria’s Secret can finally go where society is headed, and change their image of what sexy is, they may have a chance of surviving. But if not – well I guess I will be say bye-bye to the fashion show after all.