Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons

victoria secret

Victoria’s Secret is a lingerie and apparel retailer that became famous for their annual fashion show featuring supermodels in barely-there lingerie and massive wings. It was a pop-culture phenomenon that attracted millions of viewers from its debut in 1995, and was headlined by Tyra Banks, Adriana Lima and Heidi Klum. The company now offers a variety of products including everyday undergarments, sleep wear, beauty and swimwear as well as shoes and clothes for women. They also have a line called PINK that’s targeted to teenage girls.

The lingerie brand is currently going through a radical marketing shift, and it’s a complete 180 from their blonde bombshell image of the past. It’s a ‘woke’ campaign called ‘Undefinable,’ and it features models of all shapes and sizes showcasing their body confidence. Rather than the usual airbrushed and glossy images, they showcase real women, such as MMA fighter Rose Namajunas, paralympic athlete Femita Ayanbeku and country singer Brittany Spencer. They’re not the typical VS Angels, but they’re just as beautiful and confident.

A recent three-part documentary series on Hulu titled ‘Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons’ explores the founding of the company, its legacy of sexual misconduct and its connection to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was employed by the company from 1998 to 2022. The film cites archival footage as well as interviews with former employees and models who spoke out about being groped or assaulted by the company’s catalog models. The documentary also alleges that the company founder Les Wexner turned a blind eye to this mistreatment, particularly during the tenure of chief marketing officer Ed Razek.

Throughout the decades, Victoria’s Secret bolstered its brand with a annual fashion show featuring supermodels in their bras and lingerie, along with a booming empire of retail stores and e-commerce platforms. The company made billions in sales from this strategy, but it has since fallen out of favor with millennials and Gen Z shoppers who have flocked to brands that promote inclusivity, diversity and body positivity.

Victoria’s Secret has a long way to go to make up for its reputation of objectifying and sexualizing women. Its current efforts to make the brand more inclusive are encouraging, but it’s important that it embrace its feminist identity and reject the idea that only thin women are ‘perfect’ for the company. If it doesn’t do this, it will be left behind by rivals that offer a more inclusive message and better products. The ‘Undefinable’ campaign is a good start, but the lingerie giant needs to do more to really make this shift happen. Hopefully, the upcoming fashion show and other campaigns will push the company in the right direction. After all, the company is a publicly traded corporation that has shareholders to please, and it won’t get much more stock value by catering to the male gaze.