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Is ‘sexy’ being redefined? If so, what does it mean for the fashion industry?

MOLLY HANSON
02 December, 2019

  • According to L Brands, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, which began in 1995, has been canceled to shift its focus on digital marketing.
  • Since the advent of the fashion, the female body has been dissected and commodified to promote new feminine ideals for sales. This might be ending.
  • Feminist demands have given rise to body inclusive brands such as Aerie, ThirdLove, Universal Studios, and Savage X Fenty that redefine “sexy.”

Met with a sigh of relief from feminist spheres of the internet, it was recently announced that the reign of Victoria’s Secret fashion show has come to an end.

The show — famous for parading supermodels around in gemstone-encrusted panties, plaid push-up bras, stiletto heels, and giant feathery angel wings — has been canceled according to Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L Brands. And it might be the nail in the coffin to an archaic, androcentric definition of “sexy.”

L Brands said that it wants to “evolve the marketing” of the Victoria’s Secret brand, named after the Victorian-era

The show began in 1995 as a marketing tour de force, with more than 12 million people tuning into the show in 1995. But the viewership has plummeted over the past five years, with only 3.3 million viewers in 2018 — half the viewers of 2016 — and its worst broadcast ratings ever. The decline in viewers has reflected the recent failure of company sales. Although Victoria’s Secret is still America’s leading lingerie brand, between 2016 and 2018 its market share dropped from 33 percent to 24 percent in the U.S., and the retailer’s sales dropped 7 percent during the latest quarter compared to the same period last year.

Over the last few years a feminist wave has disoriented old marketing tactics. The #MeToo movement shamed inappropriate voyeurism, and body positivity reforms have vocalized the idea that sexuality should be available to bodies outside of the restrictive parameters set by fashion institutions. Victoria’s Secret has not aged well in this new era of activism.

There was a damning Vogue interview with the engineers of the lingerie brand, Ed Razek and Monica Mitro, during which Razek said that the brand would not include transgender models because, he implied, it would be in conflict with with the “fantasy” that Victoria’s Secret sells, and that no one had any interest in plus-sized models. (Razek soon resigned.) Then there was the unveiling of Wexner’s close ties with the deceased sex criminal Jeffery Epstein, who served as the CEO’s personal financial advisor.

This was, to say the very least, a terrible look.

https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/victorias-secret-fashion-show-canceled

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