A New Era: Victoria’s Secret’s Massive Rebrand Will Include Megan Rapinoe & Priyanka Chopra Jonas
The lingerie giant is undergoing a major transformation after its “sexy” brand faltered in the face of the body positivity movement.
Victoria’s Secret is shifting away from its male-gaze-branding of near-perfect, slender models to include ambassadors who represent women empowerment instead.
The lingerie and clothing brand’s glittery spotlight has flickered in recent years as many people started to reject Victoria’s Secret’s definition of “sexy.” From larger-than-life fashion shows that faced a decline in viewers over the years, to a former executive claiming trans women couldn’t be part of the “fantasy,” the brand was in need of a serious overhaul.
Victoria’s Secret announced Wednesday that it had tapped several “trailblazing” women to represent the brand. The ambassadors include soccer star Megan Rapinoe, competitive skier, Eileen Gu, actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas, transgender model and activist Valentina Sampaio, and body advocate and model Paloma Elsesser.
“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 associates programs and rally support for causes vital to women,” Victoria’s Secret wrote in the announcement.
Model Adut Akech and journalist and founder Amanda De Cadenet have also been designated as new faces for the brand.
“So often I felt myself on the outside looking in with brands in the beauty and fashion industry and I’m thrilled to be creating a space that sees the true spectrum of ALL women,” Rapinoe said in a statement.
The retail giant’s reputation and financial situation took a hit as the body positivity movement and #MeToo pushed women to examine the impossible standards often perpetuated by the fashion industry — especially Victoria’s Secret. The brand sunk even further into controversy after it was revealed that Les Wexner, the CEO of Victoria’s Secret parent company, L Brands, had ties to disgraced financier and alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Wexner stepped down in February 2020 and private-equity firm Sycamore Brands bought 55% of Victoria’s Secret, according to multiple reports. The company also cancelled its massive, star-studded fashion show in 2019 — the first time since 1995.
The brand’s attempt to shift away from the ethos of its past, which had been tailored to male fantasy paradigms, follows the lead of other inclusive lingerie brands that have showcased a wider array of models. Brands like Aerie, ThirdLove, and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, which have been size-inclusive for years and rooted in body positivity, have become increasingly popular in recent years.
“I am most excited for new customers, and for those who have always been a customer of Victoria’s Secret, to feel represented and like they belong,” Chopra Jonas said in a statement.
Many people applauded the new brand ambassadors and fought back against any negative comments related the campaign:
It remains to be seen whether Victoria’s Secret will dismantle its antiquated messaging rooted in masculine desire and act in alignment with its fresh set of values.