After yesterday’s taping of the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, social media and news outlets are pouring with content about it. I’ve come across multiple stories, photos, and comments about the show. Of course, we haven’t seen the show just yet, but we have an idea of what to expect: skinny/toned girls wearing sexy lingerie and rocking the runway. Now, I’m a big supporter of having confidence in one’s body but I think Victoria’s Secret has missed many marks.
2018 is their 23rd year of having the show, with it’s first show being in 1995 and debut broadcast show in 2001. For a brand that has been doing this for decades, you would think that they would grow with the times. Well, they haven’t. They are racially inclusive as we can see by the women they cast of different ethnicities, but something is missing. They don’t have transgender, plus size, or women with disabilities representing their brand.
Just in time for the show, Voguedid an interview with chief marketing officer of L Brands Ed Razek and executive vice president of public relations at VS Monica Mitro. Reading through it, personally, I felt like the two were making excuses and brought up things that they did right instead of addressing fow the brand is going to progress and move forward. At one point, Ed brought up Rihanna’s brand Savage, “By the way, we’ve had three pregnant models walk the show. Everybody had the conversation about Savage [x Fenty] having the pregnant model in the show. We watch this, we’re amused by it, but we don’t milk it. And all of these things that they’ve ‘invented,’ we have done and continue to do.” We’re not discrediting what they’ve done in the past but we want to see what their next step. What are they going to do to give all women more representation?
Ed went on to say, “I don’t want to be defensive about it, but we don’t tell the story of the Victoria’s Secret brand or the good it does, but if you’d like to hear it, I’ll tell you.” He then talked about VS having women in charge of the brand and how they have built hospitals and donated a generous amount of money for “women’s causes.” Okay, again, that’s great but I still think they’re missing the point. Behind the scenes, they’re doing all these great things but what about what people see? I want to see them cast “real” women, I want to see someone who looks like me in their ads and runway. I mean, I like to wear nice lingerie too.
Because of their lack of representation, Teen Vogue decided to speak to “four models from underrepresented communities to find out why—despite reports of dwindling sales and the success of inclusive lingerie brands—Victoria’s Secret still isn’t listening.”
First, was transgender actress, activist, and model Carmen Carrera. “It is important to have transgender representation because we represent the forthcoming generation, and their new perception on the standard of beauty—which I believe is being true to yourself, loving yourself, and others,” Carmen shared. She also shared that she thinks people would celebrate the transgender models on the runway if they saw them.
Teen Vogue also spoke to Madeline Stuart, who is the first model with down syndrome to walk at NYFW. When it comes to having models with disabilities, Madeline said, “It is important for big brands to represent every type of person as it is the big brands like Victoria’s Secret that mold the industry and [set] trends for smaller brands to follow. They are the ones that can really steer our fashion industry in a positive direction.” If big fashion houses and designers can cast models with disabilities, I think a fast fashion brand like Victoria’s Secret can do it too.
Sure, we can congratulate the brand for being ethnically inclusive, but in 2018, that’s just not enough. With all the big moves happening in fashion, I think VS should listen and continue the conversation.