Victoria's Secret Is Getting Rid of the Angels
Instead, activists and celebrities will be the new faces of the brand.
It's been a long journey for Victoria's Secret over the last three years, and this week, the company has finally announced where all their change is heading.
In 2018, the brand faced a reckoning of sorts following a massive backlash to former CEO Ed Razek's comments that he wouldn't hire a trans model to walk in the VS Fashion show. Many felt that Victoria's Secret could not let go of the misogynistic idea that women need to be cis, thin, and wearing underwire to feel and be sexy. Especially when compared to the success of Rihanna's starkly different Savage X Fenty, the pageantry behind an already exclusive lingerie brand felt outdated. The following year, the famous show was canceled, Razek resigned, and founder Leslie Wexner, whose ties to Jeffrey Epstein came to light in recent years as well, also parted ways with the brand.
Since Razek and Wexner left, there has been a noticeable shift - VS hired its first trans model and started carrying more sizes. According to a report in The New York Times this week, its apparent that they are heading more in the same direction, first by getting rid of the "Angels," the marketing strategy that made models like Giselle and Adriana Lima famous, and hiring activists and influencers like Megan Rapinoe and Priyanka Chopra Jonas to front the brand.
"I've known that we needed to change this brand for a long time, we just haven't had the control of the company to be able to do it," the new CEO Martin Waters told the Times. "Right now, I don't see [the Angels] as being culturally relevant," he continued when asked about their futures.
The new "VS collective" is not a campaign that features women in lingerie. In the images, which feature Rapinoe, Eileen Gu, Paloma Elsesser, Adut Akech and Chopra Jonas, many of them are wearing long sleeve tops and even blazers. They are set to advise on the future. "Of course there will be people who are like, 'Does this make sense?'" Rapinoe said. She went on to explain the this more than an ambassadorship and that she would be helping move the brand into the future with consultation on language and imagery.
It's worth noting that after several years of declining sales, Victoria's Secret increased its profits by 33% in 2021 according to CNBC and they still hold a huge share of the lingerie market. While they are keeping some of the "sexy" branding that made the company famous, it seems like celebrating who their customer is, as opposed to a fantasy about what men think they should be, is working.