Despite its 23-year long reign as one of the most viewed fashion shows, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will not be happening this year. The official announcement comes after months of speculation due to a statement made by Shanina Shaik, a Victoria’s Secret model, in which she claimed that the fashion show was canceled this year. At the time, the parent company to Victoria Secret, L Brands, refused to comment.
In May, L Brands’ CEO, Les Wexner, issued an internal statement stating “Fashion is a business of change. We must evolve and change to grow. With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”
He went on to say “Going forward, we don’t believe network television is the right fit. In 2019 and beyond, we’re focusing on developing exciting and dynamic content and a new kind of event—delivered to our customers on platforms that she’s glued to… and in ways that will push the boundaries of fashion in the global digital age.”
Up until the official statement made by Chief Financial Officer, Stuart B. Burgdoerfer, audiences could only speculate as to what the above statement meant; however, most know that Victoria’s Secret has not been doing as well within the past few years. Sales have been going down each quarter and ratings for last year’s VS Fashion Show dropped by approximately six million views.
VS’ misfortune has mainly been attributed to a comment that L Brands’ former Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek, made in an interview with Voguein 2018. When asked if Victoria’s Secret would be making efforts to adapt to the Instagram society that they live in today, Razek replied “So it’s like, why don’t you do 50? Why don’t you do 60? Why don’t you do 24? It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this?” He added “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.”
Audiences were outraged. Even Halsey, who had performed on the fashion show, spoke out against these comments. She stated that “As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity. Especially not one motivated by stereotype.”
Courtesy: Victoria’s Secret
Many people who previously shopped at VS took their business elsewhere. Companies such as Target, Kohls and American Eagle have all seen an increase in sales during their recent quarters, according to CNN.
More recently, the company faced backlash due to CEO Wexler’s past friendship with Jeffery Epstein, who died while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges. He was accused of sexually assaulting many underage girls but allegedly committed suicide prior to taking the stand.
In Burgdoesfer’s most recent statement he said: “We recognize and appreciate that the communication of the brand, the offerings, the emotional content of Victoria’s Secret is obviously an important thing.”
He continued by saying “[The show] was a very important part of the brand-building of this business and was an important aspect of the brand and a remarkable marketing achievement. And with that said, we’re figuring out how to advance the positioning of the brand and best communicate that to customers and that’s among the things that [Victoria’s Secret chief executive officer] John [Mehas] is focused on.”