Victoria's Secret will be saying goodbye to its Angels models in an effort to redefine sexy amid calls to be more inclusive of women with various body types.
As part of a new campaign, the retailer will instead introduce high-profile women known for their achievements to represent the brand. Among those ambassadors are soccer star Megan Rapinoe, actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, transgender model Valentina Sampaio, freestyle skier Eileen Gu, model and refugee Adut Akech, and model Paloma Essler.
Elaborating on what the campaign, known as the VS Collective, entails, Victoria's Secret said, "These extraordinary partners, with their unique backgrounds, interests, and passions will collaborate with us to create revolutionary product collections, compelling and inspiring content, new internal associate programs, and rally support for causes vital to women."
New lingerie brands offer ranges to suit various body types while established organizations are rethinking their product lines. This competition has placed mounting pressure on Victoria's Secret, which has been struggling in recent years. The company has seen a decline in sales and was forced to shut down a quarter of physical Victoria's Secret stores last year, according to Yahoo! Sports. This was partly due to the COVID pandemic, and partly due to competitors taking advantage of a market segment that the brand refused to approach when marketing outdated stereotypes.
Commenting on the new campaign, chief executive Martin Waters told The New York Times that Victoria's Secret aims to become a global "advocate" for female empowerment.
"When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond," said Waters. "We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want."
Rapinoe, meanwhile said that the brand's previous focus 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." The message, she said, was "really harmful."
"I’ve known that we needed to change this brand for a long time, we just haven’t had the control of the company to be able to do it," Waters continued, adding that he doesn't see the Angels as "culturally relevant."
Victoria's Secret will be expanding its products and advertising to be more body inclusive while also adding maternity clothing to its line. The company will also be introducing a podcast with the Collective.
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