The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
The last Victoria’s Secret fashion show aired on Nov. 8, 2018, but the event is said to be coming back later this year. This fashion show has been a successful annual event for over 20 years, showing off the brand’s new collections of lingerie, bras, and underwear. So why did they decide to cancel it for the past few years? It’s due to the fact that they were getting heavy criticism from the media, causing their sales to plummet.
The brand faced controversy because the models that took the stage to walk the runway were only tall, slim women. The show’s creator, Edward Razek, was asked in 2018 if they would ever change that and he turned the idea down because he believes the show is only meant to represent a fantasy. Many feel that the show was not culturally relevant or inclusive when it comes to body types. Fans and consumers want to see diversity in Victoria’s Secret models to feel like they’re truly being represented in a brand they know and love. Victoria’s Secret stated that with the show coming back, they’re now aiming to revamp their marketing.
The documentary Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons, released in July of 2022 on Hulu, may’ve also contributed to the downfall and controversy of the brand. The film explores behind-the-scenes and dives into how Victoria’s Secret has made a lasting impact on the fashion industry, and the unrealistic body standards it has created for women. It also discusses the controversy surrounding the former CEO, Les Wexner, and his close ties to Jeffery Epstein, who was arrested on charges of sex trafficking.
Despite this criticism, we do know that the brand has tried to reinvent itself since 2018: in 2020 they showcased a plus size and LGBTQ+ model in their branding. They also featured a pregnant model for a Mother’s Day campaign, and later began including plus-sized mannequins to model their products in stores around the globe.
Even with this progress, there’s still debate about the reasons behind Victoria’s Secret’s diversity changes. Is the brand doing this because they truly want their customers to feel accepted, or are these changes just due to the trends and backlash they received? One of Victoria’s Secret’s competitors, Savage X Fenty, had a fashion show in 2018 that included models of all shapes and sizes and those from the LGBTQ+ community. This showed consumers and the world that it was possible for a big lingerie brand to include diverse runway models in their shows.
Although we don’t know for sure what’s to come with this new Victoria’s Secret fashion show, what fans hope to see is diversity and inclusivity. Customers want to feel represented in the brands they love and shop with, and Victoria’s Secret is no exception.