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Best Of 2018: We're Done With Victoria's Secret's Shallow Approach To Fashion

by: Lucy Jones | 1 year ago | News

The Victoria's Secret angels. Image source

Victoria's Secret defined sexiness for a very, very long time. This definition includes impossibly fit models, rigid underwire bras, lace g-bangers, thigh-high boots, and cumbersome angel wings and excludes everything (and everyone) else. But, now that it's 2018, this idea of sexiness has finally crumbled under the pressure of what real life women want. Maybe that's because there are so many other brands designing lingerie for the female gaze or maybe it's because 'fantasy bras' have no place in a post #metoo, post Savage x Fenty world.

This year's Victoria's Secret show confirmed that the brand has no place in 2018. Even Gigi Hadid's parachute wings, which recalled the joy of primary school parachute P.E. classes, couldn't save the show from its painfully boring fate. If we had to describe the proceedings in one word it would be irrelevant and, if we're going to be brutally honest, a little bit tragic.

We would feel kinda bad about this scathing review if Victoria's Secret wasn't such a bad brand. A few days before the show, the Victoria’s Secret CMO Ed Razek confirmed this when he casually told Vogue that they'd never put plus-size or trans models on the runway.

"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," Razek said. 

"We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t."

These tone-deaf comments were widely condemned on social media, with models and celebrities calling for a boycott of the brand. After the show, Razek apologised for the offensive remarks and claimed that Victoria's Secret would actually consider casting a trans model in its show. Sure, mate.

It isn't surprising to learn that plus-size and trans women do not fit into Victoria's Secret's very narrow idea of the ideal woman. i-D Magazine writer Annie Lord summarises the VS angel archetype succinctly, and hilariously, when she writes: 

"The VS angels exemplify the idealised, impossible form of femininity society constantly tells women to strive towards. Most of them are clean eating ambassadors who nibble on flax seeds and do bikram yoga. The angels' pre-show regimens are so intense they sound like something out of ancient Sparta: Adriana Lima doesn’t drink water for 12 hours before the show in order to appear slimmer, she works out twice a day for months in advance and avoids solid food, drinking protein shakes and juices for nine days before the show." 

When Rihanna sent a cast of size-diverse women down the runway at her Savage x Fenty show, many people speculated that the end was nigh for Victoria's Secret. The overwhelmingly negative reaction to its 2018 runway, and its steadily declining sales, suggest that these critics might be right. But Victoria's Secret lost relevance long before Rihanna put an extremely pregnant model on the runway. 

Last year, the brand came under fire for cultural appropriation after sending lingerie inspired by "indigenous African cultures" down the runway. The 'Nomadic Adventure' collection, yep that's really what it was called, was full of colourful beading and feathers. In a press release, the brand described the collection thusly: 

"Prints, silhouettes and beading techniques inspired by indigenous African cultures. An opportunity for beautiful, bold colours and tribal designs that incorporate animal prints distinctive of Africa’s wildlife. Rich in colour, sexy and elegant." 

Wow. Just wow.

It won’t shock you to learn that Victoria's Secret is just as problematic off the runway. The fast fashion label has been criticised for testing its products on animals. They have also been accused of working with suppliers that use child labour and forced labour. The 2017 Ethical Fashion Report gave Victoria's Secret a D+ for its supply chain practices. That's pretty close to an F, which represents no ethical practices.

Victoria's Secret is anti-women, anti-inclusivity and anti-diversity. It is also neither ethical nor sustainable. In other words, it doesn't really stand for anything, other than an outdated idea of sexiness. Victoria’s Secret’s shallow approach to fashion has no place in 2018, especially when there are so many meaningful, inclusive and ethical options on the table. So, in the timeless words of Ariana Grande: thank u, next.

If you like your lingerie to reflect your values then might be interested in our range of ethical lingerie

This article was originally published one month ago. 

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