They did away with the iconic Victoria’s Secret Angels, replaced models with the likes of soccer star and liberal activist Megan Rapinoe, and even hired the company’s first biologically male transgender model — but, unsurprisingly, the wokeness has not paid off.
Victoria’s Secret is firing a whopping 160 management-level employees at its Ohio headquarters, an effort to save the business $40 million.
Notably, sales at the lingerie company dropped by 4.5% to $1.5 billion in the most recent quarter, the New York Post reported, adding that comparable sales from the same period last year have declined by 8%.
“When we first announced our repositioning, we got a significant amount of mail from people who said, ‘This is terrible, you’re scorching the earth, you’re spoiling your brand. We love the way it was before. Why are you changing it?’” Victoria’s Secret CEO Martin Waters said, denying the changes hurt the company.
Those complaining were described by Waters as mostly men and others “who don’t subscribe to the values that we subscribe to.”
The company in 2019 hired its first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio, a biological male who identifies as female.
The move came as longtime VS chief marketing officer Ed Razek, who criticized the idea of hiring transgender models for the company’s fashion show, resigned.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show?” Razek told Vogue in 2018, when asked about so-called inclusivity. “No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
“Fashion is a business of change. We must evolve and change to grow,” CEO Leslie Wexner said in 2019, announcing the end of the Angels fashion show broadcast. “With that in mind, we have decided to rethink the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”
Rapinoe was tapped as one of the women to be in the new campaign, apparently based on her activism and achievements rather than her body or looks.
The soccer star notably slammed the company she teamed up with for its “patriarchal” and “sexist” past.
The marketing was “patriarchal, sexist, 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 complained to The New York Times. “And it was very much marketed toward younger women.”
Rapinoe added that the VS Angels were “really harmful.”