It’s official! Victoria’s Secret will be cancelling it’s annual fashion show. Since 1995, you could count on tall, slender angels strutting down the runway in jewels, diamonds, and lingerie. The brand has encountered some trouble in the last few years; lack of diversity in their products, marketing and shows, being a few of them.
The brand’s chief financial officer Stuart Burgdoerfer, says the annual show does not hurt their holiday sales so cancelling this year will not affect revenue. Sales might go unharmed but there has been a drastic decline in viewership of the runway show over the years. Perhaps people are tired of the lack of diversity and inclusion.
When Rihanna introduced her Savage X Fenty brand, it took on a life of it’s own. She marketed her products to the everyday woman. No matter your size, race, orientation, or disability, the brand made sure to represent their customers. This part of the formula has always been absent from the Victoria’s Secret marketing strategy. Each year we’d resort to celebrating the small percentage of black models on the runway but what about everyone else?
For up and coming models, walking in the Victoria’s Secret show was a huge achievement. We thought we were breaking barriers when we saw an afro grace the runway for the first time, not realizing this was as diverse as the brand was willing to get. More and more they let us know what the Victoria’s Secret standard was and that did not include women who were plus size, transgender, or anyone with an ounce of diversity.
This year during New York Fashion Week, Rihanna produced one of the most talked about runway shows that directly rivaled the Victoria’s Secret show. From start to finish, the event was dripping with real women. This is what people want to see. My thinking is that VS will go back to the drawing board and expand on how they see their customers. Hopefully somewhere along the way, someone realized the shows and products should reflect the people who wear them.