Victoria Secret Struggling In The #MeToo Era And Sara Blakely
Victoria’s Secret Struggles In the #MeToo Era – From Fashion Show Re-Imaging to Retail Adjustments
Victoria’s Secret is suffering an identity crisis. The company’s financial reports have been dismal – with continued declines in sales (the latest report has same-store sales down 6% for the quarter) and the public shaming of Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of VS’s parent company L Brands, for his tone-deaf comments in Vogue that they wouldn’t include plus-size or trans models in the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show “because the show is a fantasy” and later stated, “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
In an attempt to turn things around, Victoria’s Secret just announced a new replacement CEO and the reintroduction of swimwear for 2019, after removing that category in 2016 even though it generated $500 million a year.
There has also seemingly been an attempt to reframe the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show as a women’s empowerment event. Though the annual extravaganza continues to attract top models, talent and this year introduced a collaboration with premiere fashion designer Mary Katrantzou, the viewership for the show has continued to decrease over the years, and this year’s event resulted in the lowest viewership ever. It is certainly not for a lack of awareness – there is extensive media coverage of the event, with a behind-the-scenes series featuring footage of the models training and details of their diets before the show, backstage beauty looks with head makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, instagram posts by the models (including Gigi and Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner), coverage of the actual event, after parties, and after after parties. But this year, there was a distinct difference in the model’s interviews, with an emphasis on the “angels” feeling empowered by walking in the show, and a clear effort to prove that this event is not just about objectifying gorgeous, almost naked women. One model, Sara Sampaio, used the platform to bring awareness to trichotillomania, a disorder that she suffers from which causes Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, in her case pulling out her eyebrow hairs. Sampaio decided to auction off two tickets to the show and after party, with the proceeds going to The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors. With the impossible-to-get ticket’s value at $25,000, it was a significant fundraiser and provided valuable awareness for the foundation.
It remains to be seen how these changes will impact Victoria’s Secret’s bottom line, and whether they will continue with the same format for their annual fashion show. This year’s fashion show airs December 2nd at 10pm on ABC . The musical talent performing in this year’s show includes Bebe Rexha, The Chainsmokers, Halsey, Kelsea Ballerini, Rita Ora, Shawn Mendes and The Struts.
Sara Blakely Shows the Importance of Never Giving Up
By Sammie Roskind and Jessie Bobman
Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, went from constantly being rejected to a billionaire businesswoman. Throughout her life, Sara tried to be a comedian, lawyer, character at Disney World, saleswoman, and many other professions. Despite her rejection and failure, Sara never gave up. One day, Sara came to a realization after cutting the feet off of her panty hose. She thought about a seamless undergarment that is not visible. At nights and weekends, Sara worked on prototypes, but once again, she kept being rejected by manufacturers trying to get her product made. Finally, one man took pity on her and agreed to help. Now, Spanx is a household name, and as a result, Blakely is one of the most successful self-made women. Blakely says that the rejection has taught her much about herself. She also believes that being underestimated has strengthened her ability to work harder.