Who would forget the absolute marketing disaster that was former Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer, Edward Razek? If perhaps you forgot, or aren’t fully up-to-speed, in a November interview with Vogue, Razek made some inflammatory comments stating the company had “no interest in casting plus or transgender models” because “the show is a fantasy” and they were trying to project a certain type of image.
As you can imagine, the statements caused a LOT of controversies and for good reason.
In a feeble attempt to re-write the wrongs of their past, Victoria’s Secret has decided to cast curvy model Ali Tate Cutler in the Bluebella for Victoria’s Secret campaign. Many recognize her from when she was the face of Reformation’s plus size campaign. But if you’re involved in the body-positive or fat activism community whatsoever, you may remember her more for the fat-shaming comments she made online.
Back in 2016, Cutler posted a snarky comment onto influencer Alysse Dalessandro’s page, which stated: “Sorry but I don’t care about people’s health who are fat, that’s their own prerogative and their life to lead.” Yikes.
Cutler’s horrible comments are just one part of this messy puzzle.
While many brands have been trying to challenge just what it means to be inclusive in the lingerie space, by offering plus-sizing and using diverse models from the jump, Victoria’s Secret has not, and still isn’t.
When we dig into the Bluebella for Victoria’s Secret offerings online, they only go up to a size 36DD for bras and teddies. All the panties and loungewear they sell? Sizing is only offered up to a size XL (18).
I have to ask: how is this line plus inclusive when people above a size 20 can’t fit into your brand?
Bodies are bigger than a size 20 and also deserve to have access to beautiful clothes, and more specifically, affordable lingerie.
Although the brand is trying to save face, I think that they think cashing in on inclusivity as big, fat dollar signs. This marketing further perpetuates damaging beauty standards, as people may look to a model like Ali Tate Cutler, and go to the website only to find out plus-size offerings are not even available.
Some people have called this “size appropriation” and brands like Madewell and Everlane has been called out for it in the past, which Vox did a full investigation into. When brands flaunt these plus-size models on their billboards and social media campaigns without doing any of the work of actually being ‘inclusive’, it is frustrating and hurtful.
According to a report released by the Zion Market Research group, the steadily growing global lingerie market will reach an estimated $59.15 billion by the end of 2024.
So rather than give any more thought (or money) to Victoria Secret, why not support independent brands or brands committed to inclusivity? Playful Promises, ThirdLove, and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty are just a few who come to mind.
Each of these brands provides high fashion options, with loads of gorgeous options in various price-points and the best part: they have all sorts of sizing.
Recently, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty line announced it would be expanding its line up to a 3X and would be offering DDD, G, and H cups. Playful Promises offers up to a size 26 and has cups all the way up to a size K.
At the end of the day, lingerie is meant to transform you and lift you up and Victoria’s Secret ain’t it, sis.
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