After almost 30 years, the Victoria’s Secret Angel – known for angelic wings, rhinestones, and “Fantasy Bra” with real diamonds and other gems – is officially retiring. VS Angels have been synonymous with the brand since the 1990s and have included some of the world’s most famous models, including Tyra Banks who was the first Black woman to take on the title.
The change comes after the brand’s CEO, Martin Waters told The New York Times that Angels are no longer “culturally relevant” amid criticism of the brand’s lack of inclusivity. “When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” Waters said. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
The VS Angels will be replaced by a group of seven inspirational women including activists, entrepreneurs, and athletes. These women will help promote a new image for the lingerie brand and hopefully, help contribute to its turnaround. Called the VS Collective, these seven women will advise the brand, appear in ads and help promote it on social media. Together, they will join an entirely new executive team and a board of directors where almost every seat will be occupied by a woman.
Victoria’s Secret’s lack of change became extremely prevalent in recent years during the rise of the #MeToo movement and after former marketing chief and head of the fashion show, Ed Razek, made controversial comments about not featuring transgender and plus-sized models in the fashion shows in 2019. The lack of change also became prevalent when many competitors (Hi Savage X Fenty) arose, positioning themselves as the “anti-Victoria’s Secret” and were quick to gain success due to their willingness to highlight women of all shapes, sizes, colors, and sexual orientations.
As one of the women of the VS Collective, 35-year-old soccer star Megan Rapinoe, said, Victoria’s Secrets’ previous marketing was “patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired. And it was very much marketed toward younger women.” She followed up by saying that messaging was “really harmful.”
While Victoria’s Secret hopes to win back fans with this new marketing change, some lingerie lovers aren’t here for the way the brand is attempting to sell inclusivity. In a post shared to Fashion Bomb Daily, fans sounded off about their mixed feelings over the news in the comments. “We still want angels we just want angel inclusivity. This looks like an ad for a women’s business summit.” one IG user wrote. “This feels inauthentic,” said another. “The Angels are part of the brand image. Why not diversify the range of angels and keep the sexy image? This doesn’t feel sexy at all, it feels like a conference.”
Some fans even took to Twitter to let the brand know they still haven’t forgotten the harmful comments made about transgender and plus-sized women.
Looks like Victoria’s Secret has a lot more work to do.
Beauties, are you buying this rebrand?
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