|Photo by: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
I have never watched a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and I’m not going to start this year.
Victoria’s Secret just wrapped the filming of its annual fashion show, and social media channels have been flooded with leaked images and behind the scenes footage. On Dec. 5, more than 10 million viewers will huddle around their laptops or TVs to watch it.
I have never watched the show simply because the brand doesn’t cater to my body type. It’s just not for me, and that’s fine. But a friend and I were talking about whether we were going to watch it this year when my friend said, “I’m surprised they haven’t put Ashley Graham on the runway yet.” I was surprised, too. But even if the brand wanted to appeal to and include different body types, it couldn’t.
It’s 2016, and Victoria’s Secret still doesn’t sell panties beyond a size XL or bras beyond a 38 DDD, and the company’s Pink brand only sells up to a size large. A March 2016 Business Insider article said there may be a good reason why Victoria’s Secret hasn’t ventured into plus size pieces: Each lingerie size group requires a separate factory and set of patterns. So what they are basically saying is that, “It’s more complicated than you think.” However, that excuse doesn’t explain why the Pink brand only carries up to a size large even though the clothing under that brand is mostly yoga pants, sweatshirts, and underwear.
But why do I care? There are so many plus size boutiques and retailers that now offer lingerie, yoga pants, sweatshirts, bras, and panties for full-figured women. It’s not like the community has a demand that isn’t being met. Well, I care because it’s 2016 and the largest lingerie fashion show to exist is the least bit inclusive of multiple body types. Also, the brand that has been known to set the tone for what is “sexy,” is leaving out the average American woman—who is now a size 16.
Why isn’t Victoria’s Secret trying to be more inclusive during a time when most brands aim for that goal? This is my theory: Maybe Victoria’s Secret is sort of like Vogue. While Vogue‘s competitors—Cosmopolitan, Elle, Marie Claire, and Glamour—are more relatable to the majority of women, Vogue retains fantasy, which makes it all the more powerful and elite. Although the “every girl” can’t relate to the pages of Vogue, she dreams of it, and Vogue makes the big bucks off of those sold dreams. Vogue doesn’t care to cater to the “every girl,” and it doesn’t have to. It will always be the bible of fashion and every girls’ fantasy—until it isn’t. And maybe the only reason Victoria’s Secret doesn’t dabble in plus size lingerie is because it doesn’t have to. The Victoria’s Secret models on the runway will always be “goals.” Maybe Victoria’s Secret thinks women will always be chasing after the body type that they deem to be “sexy”—that is, until women decide to reject unrealistic body and beauty standards.
From a business standpoint, I don’t quite understand how a brand like Victoria’s Secret could snub their nose at the plus size clothing industry, estimated to be worth more than $17.5 billion, by the way. But it’s their loss.
The bigger loss is that the majority of women—a size 14 or higher—are being told that they aren’t sexy enough to stand next to their skinny counterparts during the most anticipated lingerie fashion show of the year. What a shame.
Victoria’s Secret has no problem accepting my money for their perfume and make up, but when it comes to lingerie, bras, and panties, my money is no good. I hope that changes one day, not because I can’t find clothing and lingerie that makes me feel sexy, but because this world is moving toward more acceptance and inclusiveness, as it should. And if Victoria’s Secret doesn’t, I’m sure it will come back to bite them. Just look at Abercrombie and Hollister, they are comparatively not doing as well as Forever 21 or H&M, because unlike their competitors, Abercrombie and Holister have continued to ignore the plus size customer.
Victoria’s Secret is obviously missing out on a huge opportunity to expand their customer base and, most importantly, the opportunity to help women and other brands change the way society sets beauty and body standards.
Sexy has no size. Just so you know, Victoria’s Secret.