The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Has Been Canceled As Consumers Demand More Diversity
"We think it's important to evolve the marketing of Victoria's Secret — that is happening in certain respects now, and I think there will be more to come," a company executive said.
After nearly 25 years, Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is done as the company struggles to find its voice in an era were body diversity and inclusivity has gained more traction with consumers.
L Brands, which owns the lingerie brand, confirmed in an earnings call Thursday that it was canceling this storied runway event as the company tries to change the way it communicates with customers.
L Brands CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer said Victoria's Secret, which has been losing market share, was steering away from older, more flashy marketing traditions to address declining sales.
"As communicated previously, we think it's important to evolve the marketing of Victoria's Secret — that is happening in certain respects now, and I think there will be more to come," he said. "If that continues to get evaluated, again, we believe the most important thing is the quality of the merchandise itself."
He also promised that Victoria's Secret would be putting on something "similar in magnitude to the fashion show" this holiday season.
The move comes after months of uncertainty surrounding the show, which, in the age of #MeToo, has lost a lot of its appeal. It was not unexpected — in July, model Shanina Shaik told the Daily Telegraph the show was ending.
First held in 1995, the televised runway show quickly became a cultural phenomenon, drawing millions of viewers and cementing the celebrity status of supermodels like Tyra Banks, Gisele Bündchen, and Heidi Klum.
However, the event's draw began to diminish as consumers steered away from idolizing extremely thin women in underwear, instead demanding more diverse, inclusive, and relatable models.
Last December, Business Insider noted that 3.3 million people watched the lingerie runway show on ABC, down from 5 million viewers in 2017 and 6.7 million in 2016.
The drop in viewership came a few months after Ed Razek, a top executive at Victoria's Secret, said in a controversial Vogue interview that he didn't think they should "have transsexuals" or plus-size models in the show because they didn't sell.
"Why not?" he added. "Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special."
His comments sparked backlash, with models like Karlie Kloss leaving the brand and singer Halsey calling out the company for lack of diversity as she performed at the 2018 fashion show.
Razek resigned in August.
On Twitter, users reacted with mixed emotions. Some praised the news, with one person saying that VS "now finds themselves irrelevant" because they never included "anyone above a size zero."
"Byeeeeee, we won't miss 'em," another person tweeted.
Others, however, were "so sad," declaring it an "end of an era."