Out of all the fashion shows that take place throughout the year, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is by far the biggest one. Many top models make a career on that catwalk but with it comes a message to women that if they don’t look like these models then something is wrong. This long held belief and discrimination caused model Robyn Lawley to start the #weareallangels campaign in October of this year.
Disappointment in the brand has been brewing for a long time. Their exclusion of plus sized models for a while was a primary focus of the disappointment. However after comments made about transgender models by Victoria’s Secret’s Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek, the #weareallangels movement got a lot stronger and also morphed into a separate boycott.
Razek did an interview with Vogue in which he stated the reason for exclusion was because the brand strives to deliver a ‘fantasy’. One that does not include plus sized and, how he put it, ‘transsexual’ models.
Understandably many people took offense to these comments, choosing to boycott the brand.
— Tess Holliday 🥀 (@Tess_Holliday) November 10, 2018
Before the comments above were made, an amazing fashion show by lingerie brand Simply Be called ‘We are All Angels’ was held in London. The show of course was headlined by Robyn Lawley and included other prominent models such as Hayley Hasselhoff, Ashley James, and Felicity Hayward.
Needless to say, the show was a hit. It provided women who don’t identify with the looks of Victoria’s Secret Models women to look up to. It proved, when it shouldn’t have to, that all body types are sexy and deserving.
Victoria’s Secret risks being left in the dust if they choose not to evolve with the times. While the inclusivity amongst fashion as a whole is behind, we have seen changes. Christian Siriano and Chromat have been leading the diversity train for years now.
In an effort to save face in the community, Razek apologized for his comments about transgender models stating the brand would be open to casting some. He made no apology to his insensitive comments about plus-sized models.
The negative effects of Razek’s comments are not something that can be wiped away by a half-assed apology.
Since the first show in 1995, no plus-sized or transgendered model has walked in the show. It’s time for that to change.
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Since its first show in 1995, no plus-size, out transgender or gender nonconforming people have walked the @VictoriasSecret runway — ever. Check out what @felicityhayward, @geenarocero, @maximmagnus, and more plus-size, transgender and gender nonconforming models have to say about @VictoriasSecret CMO Edward Razek's recent comments. And join us in calling on #VictoriasSecret to join the RESPECT Program. | Link in stories. #Time4RESPECT
If Victoria’s Secret doesn’t respond to the swell of support for the #weareallangels movement, then maybe they’ll notice a drop in sales. While a boycott large enough for Victoria’s Secret to notice would take a lot of participation, they’d notice a drop in viewership fairly quickly.
I know that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is the hallmark of the holiday season. I can’t force you not to watch it but just think about your friends and acquaintances who may be impacted by Razek’s comments and the company’s consistent discrimination. Think of inclusivity. We could use more of it.
Cover Image Courtesy of TeenVogue
Also published on Medium.