Victoria’s Secret is trying to live down its “sexist” branding — with the help of lesbian soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
The lingerie giant known for its provocative marketing and scantily-clad “Angels” models is taking a “dramatic shift” with “The VS Collective,” with which Ms. Rapinoe will be involved, according to a report Thursday on the BBC website.
The British broadcaster described the VS Collective as “a group of women who will work with the company on ‘collaborations, business partnerships and cause-related initiatives.’”
Ms. Rapinoe, a star member of the U.S. women’s soccer team and an LGBTQ activist, called the company’s past image “patriarchal, sexist” and said it was based on appealing to men.
The company was “viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired,” she said.
According to the BBC, she also said Victoria’s Secret was “very much marketed toward younger women,” which she called “really harmful.”
Victoria’s Secret was long known for an annual fashion show — now canceled — where supermodel “Angels” would wear little more than lingerie, jewelry and feather arrangements.
Martin Waters, Victoria’s Secret chief executive, told The New York Times that “right now” he did not see the Angels as being “culturally relevant.”
The BBC attributed the rebrand to “a cultural shift around the #metoo movement and body positivity” Consumer preferences also have changed as more women are tending to buy underwear for comfort.
Other members of the VS Collective include Valentina Sampaio, Victoria’s Secret’s first transgender model, plus-sized model and “body advocate” Paloma Elsesser, and producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
Though Victoria’s Secret still has sales in the billions of dollars, it is preparing to cut ties with parent company L Brands later this year.
“I’ve known that we needed to change this brand for a long time,” Mr. Waters told The New York Times. “We just haven’t had the control of the company to be able to do it.”