When it comes to lingerie and beauty, the brand Victoria Secret is a household name. It’s famous for its scantily clad models and televised catwalk shows, but in the past few years it has spent some time trying to change that image.
The company rebranded as the “VS Collective” in late 2018 and launched a series of campaigns featuring women of different ethnicities, body types and ages to show it was inclusive of more than just its Angels. It even added size-inclusive lingerie start-up Adore Me to its portfolio.
However, it still faces challenges. The retailer recently ran into supply chain constraints, and it’s also having a hard time attracting new talent.
In an effort to address those issues, the brand is reportedly working with a number of female designers who have expertise in creating flattering lingerie for women with a variety of bodies. It has also partnered with women who are experts in maternity wear to help develop a line of nursing bras and other items for mothers.
Its shift towards a more inclusive brand identity may be making its way into the public consciousness. But most shoppers don’t know it has made any changes at all, according to a recent survey.
The retailer is currently changing the way it hires and trains its employees, as well as introducing more natural-looking models. But a study released last month found that most shoppers weren’t aware of these efforts.
When it comes to a company that’s famous for its scantly clad Angels, it’s hard to ignore the fact that there have been decades of controversy. That includes a culture of misogyny created by top executives Les Wexner and Ed Razek.
But despite these controversies, the company continues to be a force in retail and fashion. It’s the largest lingerie retailer in the US, with 350 stores nationwide and sales of $1 billion.
While the retailer has been making strides to expand its product line, it is still battling other brands that have become more inclusive since its inception, including ThirdLove and Lively, which sell a variety of lingerie options for women of all sizes.
One of the most important things to remember is that Victoria’s Secret was started by an American man named Roy Raymond, who felt uncomfortable shopping for lingerie for his wife. He allegedly had a vision of a store that was welcoming to men, and he referred to it as “The Victoria.”
In 1977, Raymond opened his first store in Palo Alto, California, where he sold lingerie for both men and women. He later opened four more stores, and he expanded his business to a mail-order catalogue.
He hoped the new brand would make men feel comfortable buying lingerie, and it worked. In 1982, he sold it to retail billionaire Les Wexner.
With Wexner at the helm, Victoria’s Secret became a cultural phenomenon that helped shape society’s ideas of gender, sexuality and beauty ideals. Its Angels – supermodels like Gisele Bundchen, Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum – became central to its image, often posing in G-strings, stilettos and wings.