Victoria’s Secret is ramping up its revival efforts.
According to the New York Times, the American lingerie brand has kicked off a sweeping initiative that aims to promote inclusivity and redefine its signature brand of “sexy.” The company will reportedly do this by phasing out its Angels imagery, displaying mannequins of various body types, and expanding its offerings to areas like sportswear. However, the biggest and most interesting component of the rebranding mission will be the VS Collective, a group of prominent women who will serve as advisers, spokespeople, and promoters for the brand.
The members of the collective are actress/producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas, model Adut Akech, freestyle skier Eileen Gu, transgender model Valentina Sampaio, plus-size model Paloma Elesser, photographer Amanda de Cadenet, and World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe.
“As a gay woman, I think a lot about what we think is sexy, and we are afforded the ability to do that, because I don’t have to wear the traditional sexy thing to be sexy and I don’t think the traditional thing is sexy when it comes to my partner or people I’ve dated,” Rapinoe told the Times. “I think functionality is probably the sexiest thing we could possibly achieve in life. Sometimes just cool is sexy too.”
Rapinoe admitted she was initially confused when Victoria’s Secret reached out to her, as she didn’t see herself the typical target for the brand. However, after speaking to executives, the athlete became convinced that the company had learned from its past mistakes and was making a genuine effort to appeal to a broader customer base.
“Of course there will be people who are like, ‘Does this make sense?’” Rapinoe continued. “I, too, was like ‘What? Why do you want to work with me?’”
As part of her role, Rapinoe will appear on a supplemental podcast series hosted by fellow collective member de Cadenet. The program will span 10 episodes featuring the stories of different women.
Victoria’s Secret has experienced a series of hardships and controversies over the last several years—most notably declining sales and reports of “misogyny, bullying and harassment” within the company. The retailer’s former chief marketing officer Ed Razek left his post in 2018 after claiming transgender and plus-size models were not part of the Victoria’s Secret “fantasy.” The brand’s annual runway show, which featured the likes of Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks, Adriana Lima, and Bella Hadid, was officially canceled for 2019 due to declining viewership.