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Victoria's Secret is an designer,, and marketer of women's, womenswear, and. Founded in 1977 as a response to packaged underwear, which the company's founder considered to be "ugly, floral-print nylon nightgowns", the company is now the largest American retailer of women's lingerie.
Victoria's Secret was founded by, and his wife Gaye Raymond, in,, on June 12, 1977. Eight years prior to founding Victoria's Secret, in the late 1960s, Raymond was embarrassed when purchasing lingerie for his wife at a department store. reported him looking back on the incident from the vantage of 1981: "When I tried to buy lingerie for my wife," he recalls, "I was faced with racks of terry-cloth robes and ugly floral-print nylon nightgowns, and I always had the feeling the department store saleswomen thought I was an unwelcome intruder." Raymond spent the next eight years studying the lingerie market.
At the time when Raymond founded Victoria's Secret, most women in America purchased "dowdy", "pragmatic", "foundation garments" by,, and in packs of three from department stores and saved "fancier items" for "special occasions" like. "Lacy thongs and padded push-up bras" were niche products during this period found "alongside feathered boas and provocative pirate costumes at " outside of the mainstream product offerings available at department stores. In 1977, Raymond borrowed,000 from his parents and,000 from a bank to establish Victoria's Secret: a store in which men could feel comfortable buying lingerie. The company's first store was located in in Palo Alto, California.
Raymond picked the name "Victoria" after of the to associate with the refinement of the. The "Secret" was what was hidden underneath the clothes. The “angels” comes from his wife being in a sorority where their mascot was an angel.
Victoria's Secret grossed 0,000 in its first year of business, enough to finance the expansion from a headquarters and warehouse to four new store locations and a operation. By 1982, the fourth store (still in the San Francisco area) was added at 395 Sutter Street. Victoria's Secret stayed at that location until 1990, when it moved to the larger Powell Street frontage of the.
In April 1982, Raymond sent out his 12th catalog; each catalog cost (equivalent to.61 in 2017). Catalog sales accounted for 55% of the company's million annual sales in 1982. The Victoria's Secret stores at this time were "a niche player" in the underwear market. The business was described as "more burlesque than Main Street."
In 1982, Victoria's Secret had grown to five stores, a 40-page catalog, and was grossing million annually. Raymond sold Victoria's Secret Inc. to, creator of of Columbus, Ohio, for million.In 1983, Wexner revamped Victoria's Secret's sales model. He discarded the money-losing model of selling lingerie to male customers and replaced it with one that focused on female customers. Victoria's Secret transformed from "more burlesque than Main Street" to a mainstay that sold broadly accepted underwear. The "new colors, patterns and styles that promised sexiness packaged in a tasteful, glamorous way and with the snob appeal of European luxury" meant to appeal to female buyers. To further this image, the Victoria's Secret catalog continued the practice that Raymond began: listing the company's headquarters on catalogs at a fake London address, with the real headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. The stores were redesigned to evoke 19th century England.
Howard Gross took over as president from his position as vice-president in 1985. In October of that year, the reported that Victoria's Secret was stealing market share from department stores; in 1986, Victoria's Secret was the only national chain of lingerie stores.
The New York Times reported on Victoria's Secret's rapid expansion from four stores in 1982 to 100 in 1986, and analysts' expectations that it could expand to 400 by 1988. In 1987, Victoria's Secret was reportedly among the "best-selling catalogs". In 1990, analysts estimated that sales had quadrupled in four years, making it one of the fastest growing mail-order businesses.The New York Times described it as a "highly visible leader", saying it used "unabashedly sexy high-fashion photography to sell middle-priced underwear." Victoria's Secret also released their own line of fragrances in 1992.
By the early 1990s, Victoria's Secret faced a gap in management that led the company to be "plagued by persistent quality problems". Howard Gross, who had grown the company significantly since Wexner's 1982 purchase, was moved to the poorly performing subsidiary Limited Stores. Business Week reported that "both divisions have suffered". Grace Nichols, who became President and CEO beginning in 1992, worked to resolve the quality problems; their margins tightened, resulting in a slower growth of profits.
Victoria's Secret introduced the Miracle Bra selling two million within the first year, but faced competition from 's a year later. The company responded with a TV campaign. By 1998, Victoria's Secret's market share of the intimate apparel market was 14 percent. That year Victoria's Secret also entered the.5 billion cosmetic market.
In 1999, the company aimed to increase its coverage with the Body by Victoria brand. In May 2000, Wexner installed, previously of Direct, as the new chief executive of Victoria's Secret Direct to turn around catalog sales that were lagging behind other divisions. Forbes reported Turney stating, as she flipped through a Victoria's Secret catalog, "We need to quit focusing on all that cleavage." In 2000, Turney began to redefine Victoria's Secret catalog from "breasts—spilling over the tops of black, purple and reptile-print underthings" to one that would appeal to an "upscale customer who now feels more comfortable buying or lingerie."; "dimming the hooker looks" such as "tight jeans and stilettos"; and moving from "a substitute for Playboy in some dorm rooms," to something closer to a lifestyle layout, where lingerie, sleepwear, clothes and cosmetics appear throughout the catalog. Beginning in 2000, Grace Nichols, CEO of Victoria's Secret Direct, led a similar change at Victoria's Secret's stores—moving away from an evocation of 1800s England (or a Victorian bordello).
By 2006, Victoria's Secret's 1,000 stores across the United States accounted for one third of all purchases in the intimate apparel industry. In May 2006, Wexner promoted Sharen Jester Turney from the Victoria's Secret catalog and online units to lead the whole company. In 2008, she acknowledged "product quality that doesn't equal the brand's hype." In September 2006, Victoria's Secret reportedly tried to make their catalog feel more like magazines by head-hunting writers from.
In February 2016, Turney stepped down as CEO of Victoria's Secret after serving for a decade. In 2016, direct sales only grew 1.6% and fell by 7.4% in the last quarter of the year, typically a high revenue period due to the holidays. The company discontinued its use of a print catalog and dropped certain categories of clothing such as swimwear. Sales revenue continued to stagnate and drop in early 2017.
PinkVictoria's Secret Pink Store NYC
In 2002, Victoria's Secret launched (stylized PINK), a lingerie line targeted toward younger women than Victoria's Secret's main line.
In 2002, swimwear was introduced and available via the web site and catalog; in the last three years, the swimwear has become more readily available in stores. In April 2016 Chairman and CEO Leslie H. Wexner announced that Victoria's Secret would end their swimwear line, replacing it with a new activewear line.
Recent product history
In 2010, Victoria's Secret launched the Incredible bra. In 2012, Victoria's Secret launched the Victoria's Secret Designer Collection described by Vogue as the company's "first high end lingerie line."
In 2016, Victoria's Secret stopped selling swimwear, shoes, accessories and apparel that were only sold in online Victoria's Secret stores to stay more focused on the lingerie, fragrances and sleepwear that are still available in stores and online. In 2017 Victoria's Secret began to put more emphasis on bralettes (bras without underwire, often intended to be worn visibly) and sports bras (under the Victoria Sport label) to appeal to a younger customer base.
Victoria Secret's operations are organized into three divisions: Victoria's Secret Stores (stores), Victoria's Secret Direct (online and catalog operations), and Victoria's Secret Beauty (their bath and cosmetics line). The company does business in the following retail formats: stores, apparel stores.
Victoria's Secret storesVictoria's Secret stores 1982–2012 Year # of stores Store sales in millions of U.S. dollars 1982 4.15 1983 1984 1985 84 1986 100 1987 1988 237 1989 326-353 8 1990 386 0 1992 448 1992 545 0 1993 570 2 1994 600,181 1995 600,286 1996 736,450 1997 750,702 1998 884 1999 902,100 2000 2001 2002 1,014 2003 2004 2005,200 2006,700 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 1,028 2012 1,017-1050 A store display
Throughout the 1980s, Victoria's Secret took over the market using "faux-British veneer, romantic styling and soft classical music." In 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that Victoria's Secret continued the practice of putting "on a British air—or what the Ohio-based chain thinks Americans believe is British. Boudoirish. Tony. Upscale."
During the 1990s, Victoria's Secret saw a 30% increase in store sales after the use of analyzing in their data warehouse in which specific store the styles, sizes and color of which bras were selling.
As of 2010, there are 1,000 Victoria's Secret lingerie stores and 100 independent Victoria's Secret Beauty Stores in the United States, mostly in shopping centers. They sell a range of bras, panties, hosiery, cosmetics, sleepwear, and other products. Victoria's Secret mails more than 400 million of its catalogs per year.
During the 1990s, store sizes grew from the average 1,400 square feet to between 4,000 and 5,000 square feet. In 2002, the average Victoria's Secret store was 6,000 square feet.
International expansionVictoria's Secret Canada stores 2011–2012 Year # of stores Store sales in millions of U.S. dollars 2011 12 2012 19 Map of Victoria's Secret stores in the United States, as of August 2011
Up until the early 2000s, management at Victoria's Secret actively decided to not expand outside the United States. The drive to continue growing coupled with facing a maturing of the American retail market led to a change in that decision and to expand Victoria's Secret outside the United States. Victoria's Secret announced the company's plan to expand into Canada in 2010. The company opened 23 stores stores in Canada with locations in,,,,, and.
In November 2005, the company opened its first boutique in the United Kingdom at with the help of World Duty Free. This was followed in 2009 with several Victoria's Secret Travel and Tourism stores residing within airports outside the United States. These include locations in Schiphol International Airport, The Netherlands.
Victoria's Secret opened their first store located at the, on July 24, 2012. Their flagship 40,386-square-foot- (3,752.0 m2) store on, London opened on August 29, 2012, and there will be further nationwide expansion across the United Kingdom. Victoria's Secret executive vice president and chief administrative officer Martyn R Redgrave told Women's Wear Daily "That's what we're looking to do as we expand, in the UK in particular, and those will be company-owned and operated". Since 2013, stores opened across the United Kingdom in,,,, and including, and. As of 2016, there are 15 stores in the United Kingdom.
In 2010, Victoria's Secret expanded with franchises internationally.
The first franchise store in Latin America opened in, Venezuela on June 25, 2010 followed by other stores in the country, and in, Colombia, in July 2012 selling beauty products and accessories. Angel's Group, the Colombian company operating the franchise, is planning to open 10 stores in Colombia. Victoria's Secret is also planning on opening a store in the exclusive Multiplaza Mall in, El Salvador.
In 2010, opened the first Victoria's Secret store in the Middle East region in Kuwait. M.H. Alshaya Co. operates the Victoria's Secret franchise located in the Marina Mall selling products including "cosmetic and branded accessories, but it has left out the brand's infamous lingerie line".
The brand's first Caribbean store opened in November 2011 at in. Two stores also opened in, Dominican Republic at the Agora, (mainly selling beauty products and accessories) and Sambil Santo Domingo malls in August 2012 and October 2012, respectively.
The first Polish store opened in July 2012 at the shopping mall in and is operated by M.H. Alshaya Co. It was the first Victoria's Secret franchise store in Europe, and it opened just a day before the first British store in London.
The first Serbian Victoria's Secret store opened in January 2014 at the in. This was the first Victoria's Secret store to open in the former.
Victoria's Secret Direct
CatalogVictoria's Secret catalog sales 1982–2012 Year Millions mailed Sales in millions of U.S. dollars 1982.85 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 0 1991 1992 7 1993 185 6 1994 260 9 1995 315 1 1996 4 1997 450 9 1998 0 1999 365 0 2000 2001 2002 374 0 2003 2004 2005 2006 350 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Prior to the emergence of e-commerce, the Victoria's Secret's catalogs provided both an informative and exciting experience in the comfort of the consumer's home.
The catalog under Raymond's leadership took the form of an upmarket version of Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie catalog being more sensuous than the catalog published under the future leadership of The Limited. In 1982 the Victoria's Secret catalog cost.
The New York Times reported that the financial success of Victoria's Secret catalogs influenced other catalogs, which changed to present lingerie as "romantic and sensual but tasteful" "in which models are photographed in ladylike poses against elegant backgrounds."
This led to Victoria's Secret dominating the catalog field for "lingerie and sexy nightwear." The catalogs allowed for consumers to review the entire spectrum of product offerings, along the axes of style, color and fabric. Victoria's Secret accepted catalog orders via telephone 24 hours a day.
Victoria's Secret's catalog offers a more diverse range of merchandise.
The Los Angeles Times described the catalog in 2000 as having achieved "an almost cult-like following."
In 1995 Victoria's Secret began building its e-commerce website which the company launched after three years of development at 6 p.m. December 4, 1998, using the domain VictoriasSecret.com. Twenty minutes later the first order was placed on the website from a Littleton, Colorado, customer at 6:20 p.m.
It was reported that the three year development was a result of the company's concern of rolling out a half-baked website that could "discourage return visits".
Viewers who logged onto the Victoria's Secret's website to view the company's first webcast of their fashion show on February 3, 1999, were unable to view the webcast due to the Internet infrastructure Victoria Secret's selected was unable to meet user demand causing some users to be unable to view the webcast.
Victoria's Secret Beauty
The Limited, Inc in 1998 created Intimate Beauty Corporation with a mandate to establish a group of beauty businesses with Victoria's Secret Beauty being the first company in the firm's portfolio.
In November 2012 Susie Coulter became president of Victoria's Secret Beauty; the company's beauty division located in New York City
Victoria's Secret was originally owned by "The Limited". In 2002 Wexner reincorporated Victoria's Secret into the Limited; previously Victoria's Secret's parent company was Intimate Brands, a separately traded entity whose President was.
By 2006, 72% of Limited Brands' revenue—and almost all of their profits—came from their Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works units.
On July 10, 2007, the Victoria's Secret parent company, Limited Brands, sold a 75% interest in their apparel brands, Limited Stores and Express to, to focus on expanding their Victoria's Secret and units. The immediate impact of the sale resulted in Limited Brands taking a million after-tax loss.
In 2017 Victoria's Secret recorded net sales of about 7.39 billion USD world wide.
Victoria's Secret stores
In 1985, Howard Gross was promoted to president from vice president. In 1991 Grace Nichols replaced Gross as president of Victoria's Secret Stores. Nichols previously had been "executive vice president and general merchandise manager of Limited's lingerie division."
In 1998, Cynthia A. Fields became the president & chief executive of the company (when it was a division of Intimate Brands Inc.).
Victoria's Secret Direct
In May 2000, Wexner installed Sharen Jester Turney, who had previously worked at, as the new chief executive of Victoria's Secret Direct.
Victoria's Secret BeautyVictoria's Secret Beauty logo
In May 2006, Christine Beauchamp was named president and CEO of Victoria's Secret Beauty. Beauchamp was succeeded by Shashi Batra in 2009, who became president of Victoria's Secret Beauty. Robin Burns was CEO of Victoria's Secret Beauty.
After two years of pressure from environmentalist groups, Victoria's Secret's parent firm and a conservation group reached an agreement to make the lingerie retailer's catalog more environmentally friendly in 2006. The catalog would no longer be made of pulp supplied from any woodland habitat range in Canada, unless it has been certified by the. The catalogs will also be made of 10 percent recycled paper.
The company has bought organic and -grown cotton to make some of its panties.
On March 4, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Victoria's Secret in that there must be proof of actual harm to the trademark.
In 2006 it was reported that Victoria's Secret paid workers per day to make bras for them in Thai factories.
One-tenth of all Victoria's Secret bras are sourced via, a manufacturer with factories in the South Indian city of.
As a by-result of the, which retreated from standards established in the 1990s, working conditions in Jordan have been compared to.
Prior to the 1982 sale, the company's business name was Victoria's Secret, Inc. then afterwards the name was changed to Victoria's Secret Stores, Inc. In 2005, the company changed to Victoria's Secret Stores, LLC.
In the early 1980s, Victoria's Secret used for the development of their brand, marketing, and advertising.
In 1989, FCB/Leber Katz Partners and Victoria's Secret executed a national advertising campaign featuring for the first time in the company's history a ten-page glossy insert that appeared in the November issue of,,, Victoria,,,, and magazines. Victoria's Secret used the insert to announce their expansion into the toiletries and fragrance business. Up until the ten-page insert, the company's growth had been driven by their catalog, sporadic ads in fashion publications, and word of mouth. Catalogs were discontinued in early 2016.
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is an annual "elaborate marketing tool for Limited Brands". The show is a mix of "beautiful models scantily clad in lingerie" and A-list entertainers "And every year, it becomes less about fashion and more about show". The company gained notoriety in the early 1990s after it began to use in its advertising and fashion shows. Throughout the 2000s, Victoria's Secret has turned down celebrity models and endorsements. In 1999, Victoria's Secret's 30 second Super Bowl advertisement led to one million visits to the company's website within an hour of airing.
In 2004, Victoria's Secret featured in an advertisement to test new marketing possibilities while Victoria's Secret dropped their fashion show for 2004 as a result of the fallout from the Janet Jackson/Super Bowl incident that caused complaints from women's groups.
The company created a campaign to market its "Body" bra line called "The Perfect Body." The campaign has elicited substantial controversy, with many sources saying it will lower women's self-esteem because it does not embrace all body types.
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
In 1995, Victoria's Secret began holding their annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which is on. Starting with the 1995 fashion show, they are "a combination of self-assured strutting for women and voyeuristic pleasures for men—and lingerie becomes mainstream entertainment."
Ken Weil, vice president at Victoria's Secret, and Tim Plzak, responsible for IT at Victoria's Secret's parent company Intimate Brands, led Victoria's Secret's first-ever online streaming of their fashion show in 1999. The 18 minutes webcast streamed February 2, 1999, was at the time the Internet's "biggest event" since inception. The 1999 webcast was reported as a failure by a number of newspapers on account of some user's inability to watch the show featuring,, and as a result of Victoria's Secret's technology falling short being able to meet the online user demand resulting in network congestion and users who could see the webcast receiving jerky frames. In all, the company's website saw over 1.5 million visits while the Broadcast.com's computer's were designed to handle between 250,000 and 500,000 simultaneous viewers. In total, 1.5 million viewers either attempted or viewed the webcast.
The 1999 webcast served to create a database for Victoria's Secret of over 500,000 current and potential customers by requiring users to submit their contact details to view the webcast. The next spring Victoria's Secret avoided technical issues by partnering with,, and. The 2000 webcast attracted more than two million viewers.
By 2011, the budget for the fashion show was million up from the first show's budget of 0,000.
Victoria's Secret Angels
Victoria's Secret started working with renowned models in the early 1990s, with the hiring of,,, and. These models helped the brand gain notice and soon enough were featured in televised commercials. is one of the original Victoria's Secret model.
Angels is one of Victoria's Secret's lingerie lines, which was launched in 1997, with a commercial featuring,,,, and as well as pop star. The commercial was a major success and the Angels began to be featured in various commercials, alongside other contract models for the brand such as,, and. From then onwards, the term Angel started to become synonymous with being a contracted spokesmodel for the brand and in February 1998, the Angels made their runway debut at Victoria's Secret's 4th, with filling in for Christensen.
Seymour, Mulder, Pestova, Banks, Casta, and new brazilian model were all featured in both of Victoria's Secret webcast and took part in the promotion as the brand's contract models. Starting 2001, the show has been televised and usually features the year's Angel line-up at the start of the show, starting with Pestova, Banks, Klum, and In 2004, due to the controversy, instead of a televised show, Victoria's Secret sent its five contract models (Banks, Klum, Bundchen,, and ) on a tour called Angels Across America, as by then, the word had become synonymous with Victoria's Secret spokesmodels. The last original Angel, Tyra Banks, departed the following year, as,, and were hired.
Among other recognitions, the Victoria's Secret Angels were chosen to be part of magazine's annual "100 Most Beautiful People in the World" issue in 2007 and became the first trademark awarded a star on the on November 13, 2007, with Klum, Lima, Ambrosio, Kurkova, Goulart, Ebanks,, and at hand. Alongside new Angel, they also took part in the grand reopening of the Fontainebleau in Miami in 2008. In 2009, it was widely reported that,,, and had been hired by the brand. However, De Paula was absent from the fashion show and was credited in her place, alongside the Angels (Klum, Ambrosio, Kerr, Miller, Kroes, and, with Lima being on maternity leave). The brand also held a nationwide competition to hire a new "runway Angel" (as are dubbed all the models who walk in the show), was crowned as the winner but soon parted ways with the brand. In the following year-and-a-half Swanepoel, Huntington-Whiteley, Iman, Heatherton, and Ellingson all were revealed as Angels.
Various tours have been held featuring the Angels, such as the Bombshell Tour in 2010 (featuring Laura Croggon, Sophia Timpano, Katie Bryan, and new recruit ), a VSX tour in 2013 (featuring Swanepoel, Ambrosio, Ellingson, and Aldridge) and a Swim Tour in 2013 (featuring Swanepoel, Ellingson, and Heatherton). The Angels have been heavily featured on the brand's social media, including on a short-lived in 2013-2014 highlighting the Angels (then including Lima, Swanepoel, Ellingson, Aldridge, and ) as well as,, and.
Ellingson, Kroes, and Kloss all departed soon after the 2014 fashion show, leaving the brand with only 5 Angels. In 2015, the Angels as well as models,,,,,, and were featured on the brand's first ever. Soon after, in the brand's biggest group hiring ever, all but Smalls were revealed as Angels, along with longtime catalog regulars and as well as,, and. The following year, Jagaciak and Griegorieva exited, while catalog regular was added to the roster. In 2017, Alessandra Ambrosio announced that the yearly fashion show would be her last.
Other notable spokesmodels for the brand have included:,,,,, and as well as a handful of celebrities such as.
Victoria's Secret Angels
2018 Victoria's Secret Angels include (left to right in each row),,,,,,,,,,,, and. These pictures are not of Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.Nationality
Notes United States 1997–2000 1992 1995–2000 Denmark 1997–1998 1996 1996–1997 Netherlands 1997–2000 1992 1996–2000 Czech Republic 1997–2002 1996 1998–2001 United States 1997–2005 1996 1996–2005 United States 1998 Fashion Show 1998 1998 Argentina 1998–1999 1998 1998–2001 France 1998–2002 1997 1997–2000 Germany/ United States 1999–2010 1997 1997–2009 (host only in 2006) Brazil 2000–2007 1999 1999–2006 Brazil 2000–present 1999 1999–2008, 2010–present Brazil 2004–2017 2000 2000–2017 Czech Republic 2005–2009 2000 2000–2008, 2010 Cayman Islands 2005–2009 2004 2005–2010 Brazil 2005–2008 2004 2005–2016 United States 2007–2010 2002 2007–2009 Australia 2007–2013 2005 2006–2009, 2011–2012 Netherlands 2008–2014 2004 2005–2006, 2008–2009, 2011–2014 Namibia 2009–present 2007 2007–2015, United Kingdom 2010–2011 2005 2006–2010 South Africa 2010–present 2007 2007–2015, 2017–present United States 2010–2012 2008 2009–2011 United States 2010–2013 2008 2008–2013 United States 2010–present 2008 2009–present United States 2011–2014 2006 2007–2014 United States 2013–2015 2011 2011–2014, 2017 Russia 2015–2016 2014 2014–2016 United States 2015–present 2014 2014–present Sweden 2015–present 2011 2011–present United States 2015–present 2012 2013–present Poland 2015–2016 2013 2013–2015 New Zealand/ United Kingdom/ Ireland 2015–present 2014 2014–present Brazil 2015–present 2010 2010-2011; 2013–present Portugal 2015–present 2012 2013–present Netherlands 2015–present 2014 2014–present United States 2015–present 2012 2012–present Denmark 2016–present 2013 2013–present
- There have been various instances where the fashion show credits included models who weren't Angels but were prominently featured by the brand, such as Candice Swanepoel, Lindsay Ellingson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Erin Heatherton, and Behati Prinsloo in 2009, Lais Ribeiro in 2011, PINK model Elsa Hosk in 2013 and Hosk, Ribeiro, Jasmine Tookes, Martha Hunt, and Stella Maxwell in 2014. All of them later went on to become Angels.
- Most Angels started working with the company years prior to signing an Angel contract. Listed above are the dates of first published or aired campaigns or, by default, first runway show or event.
- Stephanie Seymour was a fashion show host in 1995.
- Chandra North was featured as an Angel solely during the 1998 fashion show due to Christensen's absence.
- Heidi Klum was a fashion show host in 2002, 2006–2009.
- Lindsay Ellingson was first featured on VS All Access in 2010 but was only credited as an Angel for the fashion show from the following year onward.
- 10 Angels were added at the same time.
Criticism and controversyInfluence on sociocultural body image norms–2008
In the article "Victoria’s Dirty Secret: How Norms Influence Adolescent Girls and Women" written by Strahan, Lafrance, Wilson, and Ethier from Wilfrid Laurier University along with Spencer and Zanna from the University of Waterloo have stated: "Women's body dissatisfaction is influenced by sociocultural norms for ideal appearance that are pervasive in society and particularly directed at women." These norms tell women that they are valued for their bodies, physical appearance, and scale of attractiveness. Girls as young as 10 years old start dieting because they are struggling with their weight and body perception. This will continue throughout their life span. Victoria's Secret sends a message to these adolescent girls and women that their models are the standard of beauty. The models are shown on TV commercials, ads, and magazines meaning it is seen on an everyday basis. Girls are comparing themselves with these high unrealistic standards that is captivated by the media. Women in these ads are highly objectified, idealized, and. If women feel they have to live up to this sociocultural norm standard, it is only telling men that it is okay to objectify and sexualize women. The article concludes by stating: "Exposure to societal messages that reflect the sociocultural norm for ideal appearance has a negative effect on women."Formaldehyde lawsuits–2009
In 2009, Victoria's Secret was sued several times. The lawsuits alleged that defective underwear contained that caused severe rashes on women who wore them. Six cases were filed in Ohio and two in Florida. At least 17 other suits were filed in six other states after January 2008. The plaintiff refused to submit to a simple to determine the precise cause of her reaction and her case was later withdrawn. The Formaldehyde Council issued a statement that formaldehyde quickly dissipates in air, water and sunlight.Child labor–2012
In 2012, a Victoria's Secret supplier was investigated for use of in harvesting cotton used to make its products.Zephyrs lawsuit–2012
Also in 2012, Victoria's Secret was sued by Zephyrs, "accused of breaching a 2001 agreement and selling cheap 'knockoffs' of the company's stockings."Go East lingerie collection–2012
The company drew criticism for a newly released lingerie collection titled "Go East" whose tagline pledged to women the capacity to "indulge in touches of eastern delight with lingerie inspired by the exquisite beauty of secret Japanese gardens." The collection included a mesh teddy "Sexy Little Geisha" featuring "flirty cutouts and Eastern-inspired florals".
The reported that the collection was "accessorized with a miniature fan and a kimono-esque obi sash."
Victoria's Secret removed the Asian-themed collection "that traded in, generic pan-Asian."Perfect body campaign–2014
In 2014, a petition against the newly released lingerie collection called "Body" was created when the poster ads displayed the words '' over well-known VS Angels. The petition, while becoming popular across social media, demanded that Victoria's Secret "apologise and take responsibility for the unhealthy and damaging message that their ‘Perfect Body’ campaign sends out about women’s bodies and how they should be judged."
The petition also demanded a change in the wording on Victoria's Secret advertisements for their bra range Body, to something that does not promote unhealthy and unrealistic standards of beauty," asking the company to not use such harmful marketing in the future. Petitioners created the hashtag "#iamperfect", which trended on Twitter for body shaming women. The petition had over 30,000 signatures.
Although there was never a formal apology released, Victoria's Secret took note of the petition and changed the words on their ad campaign to 'A BODY FOR EVERY BODY.'Cultural appropriation- 2016
At the 2016 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, the brand was accused of "cultural appropriation" during the segment "The Road Ahead" that drew inspiration from Chinese culture. Kendall Jenner’s flame tail, Elsa Hosk’s dragon costume, and Adriana Lima’s embroidered thigh-high boots is what caused an uproar because many fans thought that it was inappropriate for women of other cultures to wear those items that meant so much to the Chinese culture. The reason behind Victoria's Secret including this segment to the 2016 fashion show is because of their recent expansion into the Chinese market. They thought it would be a good way to appeal to the new Chinese customer. No apology or statement was released from the brand.
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