The American lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret is abandoning its “woke feminist” makeover in favor of a return to alluring femininity in an attempt to revive its financial fortunes.
Reports show canceling the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and hiring transgender and disabled models are just two examples of the drastic branding changes the company has made in recent years to mend its borderline burlesque perceptions.
Victoria’s Secret has faced more than only the challenge of rehabilitating the company’s reputation.
Competing lingerie lines, including Kim Kardashian’s Skims and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, have proliferated in recent years. Victoria’s Secret may have seen its downfall presaged by the introduction of Savage X Fenty in 2018.
While Victoria’s Secret lacked diversity at the time, Rihanna provided it in her business. On the runway, Savage X Fenty featured a broader spectrum of body shapes and skin tones.
Once a cultural phenomenon, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was terminated in 2019 due to declining viewership. The program was criticized for not being all-inclusive and for encouraging an unrealistic and maybe damaging ideal of beauty among young people.
In July 2021, the firm appointed women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe and Valentina Sampaio, a transgender model, as its brand ambassadors, marking the beginning of the rebranding process.
Reports show Rapinoe, a staunch leftist activist, has previously criticized Victoria’s Secret for sending a very destructive, patriarchal, and sexist message.
Plus-size models and mannequins were used in the campaign.
The brand’s inclusive initiatives were met with some praise, but sales remained flat.
Victoria’s Secret predicted $6.2 billion in sales for the current fiscal year, down 5% from last year and much less than the $7.5 billion expected in 2020.
Less than a year into her tenure as CEO of the Victoria’s Secret brand, Amy Hauk resigned in January 2023 in the wake of the company’s failed business overhaul.
The company now states that emphasizing its feminine allure once again would lead to higher sales. Greg Unis, president of the company, recently told investors that it can be inclusive.
In addition to opening 400 new shops beyond the United States, the lingerie chain plans to renovate its current locations.