After experiencing plummeting sales and a shift in consumer taste, the lingerie brand has decided to call it quits when it comes to their fashion show.
After many years of facing immense criticism from body positive activists and drastically falling viewership, lingerie giant Victoria's Secret has finally decided to cancel their controversial annual fashion show. The move to do so was likely prompted by changing marketing trends when it comes to women's clothing as well as intense financial woes, The New York Times reports. Will we miss the highly-televised event of the fashion year? Probably not.
Though the annual fashion show has long been a "ratings powerhouse and a prime-time marketing bonanza," it appears that the plane of marketing has completely changed. No longer do viewers want to see the objectification of women's bodies, the promotion of harmful diet culture, and the perpetuation of body-shaming. L Brands, the parent company of Victoria's Secret, therefore announced on Thursday, November 21, that they will not be holding their annual fashion show as they usually do every holiday season.
Stuart Burgdoerfer, the chief financial officer of L Brands, stated on an earnings call, "We think it’s important to evolve the marketing of Victoria’s Secret." When asked if the fashion show would return this year, he simply said, "We’ll be communicating to customers, but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show." The company announced earlier this year in May that the fashion show would not be aired on network television, but this is the first confirmation that Victoria's Secret will cancel the show in its entirety. And it appears that no one will really miss it.
For a long time now, body-positive activists have accused the lingerie brand of belonging to a different period wherein it was okay to sexualize women's bodies and promote only one body type as acceptable. In the #MeToo era, many argue that this will no longer do. The inherent sexualization of women's bodies has had a major impact on our culture, one where we commodify women and boil them down to the number of what size dress they wear. As, culturally, we move towards a society that accepts women of all sizes, Victoria's Secret and its fashion show may just be rather outdated. This is especially true because the company's longtime chief executive, Leslie H. Wexner, has faced backlash and scrutiny for his cozy relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Furthermore, the brand was heavily criticized for the-then chief marketing officer of L Brands Edward Razek's statements on transgender women. He claimed that a transgender model should not star in the show. Though he apologized for his remarks, the company never quite recovered from the backlash. These statements, The New York Times reports, has had a major impact on Victoria's Secret sales. Sales have allegedly "cratered for years" and smaller brands are giving the lingerie giant a run for its money. Even Kate Upton, a former Victoria’s Secret model, was rife with criticism for the fashion show. She explained on an episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, "You know what, we’re sick of seeing the same body type. You have to be body inclusive now. Every woman needs to be represented. Otherwise it’s a snoozefest." And she's right. When it first aired, the show may have had 12 million people tuning in, but that number's come down to 3.3 million in the current age. It's simply time for Victoria's Secret to do better.