Dear Victoria’s Secret, Let’s Talk When You Are More Inclusive
The annual fashion show, in its 24th year now, lacked inclusive participation.
The annual fashion show, in its 24th year now, lacked inclusive participation. (Photo : Arnica Kala/The Quint)

Dear Victoria’s Secret, Let’s Talk When You Are More Inclusive

Victoria’s Secret, the renowned lingerie brand, held its annual fashion show on 8 November 2018. The show was aired on 2 December 2018.

The event triggered outrage, with a petition signed by nearly 10,000 users being circulated online.

People are angry at the brand’s “exclusivity”, especially because they don’t portray different body types in their fashion shows. Victoria’s Secret has only been represented by slim models so far.

When asked about the lack of representing plus-sizes, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek told Vogue in an interview that Victoria’s Secret had thought about casting plus-size and transgender models, and tried to do a television special some years ago but there is not much “interest in it” and that they don’t have to cater to “everyone.”

Activists, plus-size models and fashion enthusiasts were outraged by the claim that comes at a time when runways across the globe are becoming more inclusive.

It sounds like VS is stuck in time even though plus-size models are slaying the ramps and claiming magazine covers.

We don’t live in an inclusive world. Agreed. But what we can do is: make an effort.

Let's Cut The Hypocrisy, Please?

It’s ironic that VS’ show last year was called "more diverse than ever.” It featured some models of different ethnicity but neither of them were plus-sized.

The story was the same this year, and it doesn't seem like it's going to change anytime soon.

As a plus-sized woman, I have realised that we are not seen as a lucrative consumer base for many fashion brands, which largely cater to a certain size.

It shouldn't matter if you wear ‘S’ or ‘XXL’. But sadly, Victoria's Secret is still a little stuck-up to share this belief.

When you have an influence on the market and the people, it is essential that you use it positively, something that VS clearly does not recognise even though statements like these could dent its reputation.

VS, You Could Try At Least?

Let’s get this straight: Plus-sized people and models don’t “need” Victoria's Secret. But keeping in mind VS’ position in the market and the effect they have on people, the least they can do is make an effort to be more inclusive. They certainly didn’t have to go the mean girls way and say (imply), " You can't sit with us?"

Protest With a Lot of Sass

Many body positivity activists and models hit back at VS with sass levels equaling the metaphorical form of the 100 (💯) emoji.

The most recent one being demonstrators gathering outside one of the lingerie giant’s London stores. The protest — a collaboration between Love Disfigure and Nunude, were calling for more visibility of different body types in fashion, starting with the Victoria’s Secret runway, reported the People magazine.

Brooklyn-based model Tabria Majors also had some tough words for Victoria’s Secret. With lingerie on, she wrote as a caption to her picture,“Maybe I’ll be a Victoria’s Secret Angel this year for Halloween, since it ain’t happening in real life.”

She also posted another picture with the caption: “So Ed Razek, you tried a plus runway show nearly TWENTY YEARS AGO and it didn’t work? If you didn’t get the memo, #bodypositivity is here to stay. Try again!”

This was in response to Razek’s comment that he tried a show 20 years ago and it didn’t work. Talk about flimsy arguments.

Plus-size supermodel and activist, Ashley Graham, also criticised the lingerie giant with the #IamNoAngel. Let’s just say the hashtag is befitting and it's time for more people to see this.

Former 'America’s Next Top Model’ contestant Khrystyana Kazakova too staged a guerrilla-style fashion show at New York’s iconic Times Square in response to the exclusive Victoria’s Secret event.

In stunning contrast to the intensity of casting for a VS show, Kazakova invited participants of all ages, genders and heights to strut.

Times are Changing

As a 23-year-old plus-sized person, I have been made to feel unattractive for most of my life.

I am sure many people who don't conform to a "desirable" size have suffered the same or more. But times are changing as plus-size fashion lines, bloggers and models integrate to the mainstream.

Through these leaps, people like me get the confidence to accept our body-types the way they are. It helps us own our bodies with pride.

It's high time for VS to mend some burnt bridges because a little diversity will be good for their reputation, given the negative reactions and the protests to their show.

Plus-sized people are slaying it, and it’s time VS took notice.

(Disclaimer: This is not hate on any shade of women of any size and race. All of you are beautiful. Period)

(The Quint is now available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Follow our Gender section for more stories.

    Also Watch