Sunday, March 7, 2021

Does Victoria Secret’s latest swimsuit campaign celebrate body inclusivity? Read now

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Victoria Secret has brought back swimwear into selected store locations after discontinuing the line in 2016 when it began to lose its market share to more size-inclusive brands that served plus-size consumers.

The US-based lingerie brand introduced its swimwear catalogue which is relatable to the present times. The brand released a campaign for its spring swimsuit collection showcasing more diverse body types.

Victoria Secret unveils their ‘Destination: Swim’ campaign that features plus-size models such as 2021 Time 100 Next listmaker, Paloma Elsesser, who recently covered Vogue, and Jill Kortleve, the first curvy model to walk the Chanel runway alongside straight models, Imaan Hammam and Taylor Hill. Kortleve is photographed in a printed two-piece while Elsesser is seen wearing a stunning rose gold-coloured suit.

This appears to be a major step for Victoria’s Secret that was once reluctant to show curvy bodies in campaigns or fashion shows. Take a note, the new swim collection stops at the size XL. The new size range goes from 32A to 40D and an XS to XL. An XL will fit a 34-36” waist and a 44.5-46.5” hip, which by the brand’s standards is a size 16-18. However, at a plus-size retailer Eloquii, those measurements are equivalent to size 12. At another retailer Dia&Co. the plus sizing starts at size 14 and Good American’s plus size swimwear starts at 2XL.

The question arises, why did VS advertise with the models that are plus size?

Taylor Long, the founder of Nomads, a swimwear line that carries sizes XS to 4X, says that Victoria’s Secret use of plus-size models without actually selling plus sizes is a deceptive marketing strategy. Long, who was a plus-size model and an advocate for size inclusivity in fashion before launching her own label comments that if smaller brands with a much smaller budget can design produce inclusive styles, then there is absolutely no reason why VS can’t.

Looking back in 2018, former CMO of Victoria’s Secret, Ed Razek implied that the brand was not for the plus-size women, claiming that the plus-size or trans women in the VS Fashion Show would only be the ‘politically correct thing to do’ and ruin ‘the fantasy’, therefore casting them would not contribute to the best business practice. Later, Razek took to Twitter and apologized for coming across as insensitive towards the trans women. However, he never addressed his comments about plus-sized women.

While we still believe that casting Elsesser and Kortleve in their campaign means taking the brand in the right direction but for Victoria’s Secret to do truly right, the brand has to actually sell their sizes too.


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