It’s Time For Brands to Get Inclusive

by Madeline Tyrrell

The fashion world is finally expanding to cater to all types of bodies. Most major clothing brands either have or are planning to include more size inclusive items. The success of new brands like Rihanna’s lingerie Savage x Fenty line, which has an inclusive size range and diverse models, have shown that there is not only a need, but a market for more inclusivity. With all these advancements, not all brands are advancing to make fashion for everyone, and some brands simply don’t want to.

Consumers have been questioning why popular lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret hasn’t followed in expanding their brand’s sizes. L Brands is the American retail company whose flagships brands include Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works. L Brands’ chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, responded to these questions in an interview with Vogue. The 70-year-old man had some strong opinions on how they chose the models to walk in their shows. In regard to questions about why the show hasn’t used plus models he responded by saying “We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant,” this cop-out answer neglects the question and makes a failed attempt at trying to imply that L Brands as a whole is inclusive. He also anecdotes that Victoria’s secret chooses to, “market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.” This isn’t the first time a brand representative has been openly exclusionary of who gets to wear their brand. Comments made by Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries in 2006 recirculated in 2014, the most noteworthy being that Abercrombie sees that, “in every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids, candidly, we go after the cool kids.” These comments ultimately lead to the CEO stepping down from his position and a tarnishing of the once-thriving Abercrombie brand.

When asked if the show should include transgender models, Razek responded “No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.” This led to a major backlash from the LGBTQIA+ community and a continued decline in the brand’s already decreasing sales. In an era where consumers are becoming more aware of the products they are spending money on, it has been made clear that Victoria’s Secret’s idea of sexy needs to include everyone if they want to survive as a brand.


A version of this post originally appeared in “Clarity” The Teller May 2019 Issue 6

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