Victoria’s Secret Inclusivity Model Campaign

Rachel Power

Iconic fashion brand and lingerie chain Victoria Secret announced a number of fresh faced new models, including transgender and plus-size for their latest campaign just over a week ago.

 

After a number of controversies surrounding derogatory statements made from the company’s former senior creative officer Ed Razek, the chain have transformed their image to include women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds.

In a launch to promote their collaboration with UK lingerie company Bluebella, who are known for their inclusivity and diverse range of models, they have added their first size 14 model, Ali Tate.

Tate, who is managed by the modelling agency Milk, commented on the changing mindset of the company compared to their selective past. Posting on her Instagram on October 4, the model stated that it is a “great step in the right direction for bodies.”

For a brand that has become somewhat of a household name, the sudden addition of a plus-size model while an incredibly important move for society and beauty standards, has been met with a scale of hypocrisy claims.

With society’s promotion of body positivity and acceptance of different standards of beauty, Victoria Secret seemed to be lagging behind this change with their maintenance of wafer thin models. The chain previously argued that they were diverse enough by including models of different ethnicities, however, size never came into play.

But now the fashion brand is embracing a far more open-minded approach when it comes to their portrayal of a beautiful model to represent their clothing. The transformation to include curvier models will no doubt place a halo around the brands image as inclusive, confident-bearing and positive. Even if it comes as a result of a collaboration with another company.

Not only have Victoria Secret broadened their appeal by including more curvier women, but by also showing society that transgender people can fit into their fantasy that their brand encapsulates.

Last year, controversial former creative officer Ed Razek commented on the lack of inclusivity of transgender and plus-size models in the company’s team. Razek was in charge of choosing which models to cast and which ones were left on the sidelines. When asked in a Vogue interview last November in the lead up to the fashion show debut about a possible change in model diversity to satisfy a changing society, Razek disagreed and rejected the idea for the brand.

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. no, I don’t think we should.”

He continued by saying that the “show is a fantasy,” calling it a “42-minute entertainment special.”

His implied suggestion that members of the transgender community and plus-size women alike do not conform to this notion of fantasy sparked outrage among society. Razek later apologised, but that goes without saying the damage from his comment was already done.

Thousands upon thousands of members of the LGBT community showed their anger at his choice of words and people began to boycott the company itself as an act of solidarity with members of society who were deemed unworthy of the luxury brand.

Razek quickly resigned from his position last August, but only after the brand hired their first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio.

The 22 year-old Brazilian native is the first model in a Victoria Secret cast to announce that she is transgender. In their latest campaign, Sampaio will be joined by May Simòne Lifschitz, an Argentinian transgender model.

While the inclusion of two transgender models is still very limited and a small representation, Victoria Secret are opening their brand to a wider public audience to women of all backgrounds. The same goes for their campaign involving Ali Tate, the plus-size model in the campaign.

This inclusivity is representative of an ever-changing and conscience society. A brand that for decades only worked with thing typically white models has changed their entire image to fulfill a range of models from different ethnicities, backgrounds, shapes and sizes.

More than anything, the change really shows the impact society has made in refusing to conform to past standards of beauty in women that are no longer acceptable or true.

This new representation in a highly admired brand plays to a society who recognise the beauty in every person regardless of how different they are. It encourages young girls who look up to the women who are Victoria Secret Angels to be comfortable in their own skin and embrace their differences, no matter how big or small.

Rachel Power

Image Credit: Joy Nwagiriga