Victoria Secret Is Changing Its Image in the Wake of #MeToo, ThirdLove and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty

victoria secret

As an iconic American brand, victoria secret has a reputation for glamorous, fashion-forward lingerie and beauty products. The company is synonymous with the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, which features a fleet of supermodel “Angels” strutting down the runway in lingerie that evokes the sensuality of a boudoir. But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, calls for more representational inclusivity in terms of body size and gender, and competition from upstart lingerie companies like ThirdLove and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, Victoria’s Secret has been struggling.

In an attempt to recapture the company’s lost luster, the brand is shifting its image to become more inclusive. Its new “Angels” are women of all shapes and sizes, and the annual show will feature non-Angels as well. It has also redesigned its website to include more imagery that shows models in their underwear, and it has expanded the range of bra sizes available in its stores. And it’s even bringing back the “Pink” line, which was discontinued in recent years to focus on its core Victoria’s Secret brand.

But it’s not clear that the changes will be enough to restore the company’s fortunes. While the retailer has made some inroads with more overtly diverse models, and its products are now available in a wider array of sizes, it’s still facing stiff competition from upstart brands and waning popularity among many shoppers, particularly younger ones who feel that Victoria’s Secret’s former vibe — thin, tanned models thrilled to wink at men cheering them on — perpetuates negative body stereotypes and sends the message that female bodies are a joke.

Fortunately, Victoria’s Secret isn’t without its defenders. The company recently defended its decision to bring back the Pink line, and a documentary film about the company starring corset engineer Michaela Stark — who describes herself as a “body morphing bitch” – is in the works for Prime Video.

But it’s not clear that the company has the resources to continue its image shift and compete with upstarts in an increasingly crowded, and competitive, market. And a recent survey by Bank of America found that although the brand’s overall sales have improved, those gains have been offset by declining customer satisfaction. And while consumers say PINK is a better value than Victoria’s Secret, they still complain about the higher prices of that line. To compete, the company will likely have to diversify its offerings beyond its core business of bras, underwear and pyjamas, including swimwear and activewear, which it abandoned in recent years. And it will have to do all this while trying to reverse a decline in overall brand sentiment that has been driven by #MeToo criticism and the perception that the company promotes unrealistic beauty standards. The challenge will be whether the company can make the shift to become a true palace of pink dreams.