Were did it start?
Victoria’s Secret (VS) is an American lingerie specialist retailer and the number one lingerie brand in America. It was founded in 1977 by American businessman Roy and Gaye Raymond, and today is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and owned by shareholders. The business brings in $6.1 billion in revenue annually across its 1400 retail locations and 25,000 employees. Yet it has suffered from several scandals and lost its grip in recent years hence starting a complete rebranding and repositioning of its image.
Is Victoria's secret a fast fasion brand?
Yes, Victoria’s Secret is a fast-fashion brand! Victoria’s Secret is a fast-fashion brand due to the speed of production and scale of clothes that it sells.
Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: 22/100
Ethical Consumer Score: 4.5/15
Good On You Sustainability Rating: 2/5
Garment workers and conditions
Despite aiming “to be the world’s leading advocate for women”, Victoria’s Secret treats its predominantly female garment workers poorly : In 2021, a garment factory for Victoria’s Secret in Thailand was shut down while owing workers more than $7.8 million.
In spring of the same year, VS stopped paying its garment factories, using the excuse of covid-19 reducing demand (despite signing contracts for the work, and legally owing payment). Despite external pressure, it has still yet to pay up.
Responsible for covid outbreak in factories
In late 2020, it was found that more than 7,000 cases of coronavirus in Sri Lanka, a third of the nation’s total, were linked back to a factory that manufacturers clothing for Victoria’s Secret. Workers were forced back to work after feeling ill in order to fulfill orders for several brand including VS.
Toxic workplace culture
Victoria’s Secret has been repeatedly accused of harboring a misogynistic workplace culture, with racism, profiling, discrimination, and even harassment from top management. In 2017, a class-action lawsuit also saw VS pay out $12 million to underpaid employees.
Later that year, over 100 models signed a letter to Victoria’s Secret’s ex-CEO John Mehas, demanding the company take action on “sexual assault, alleged rape, and sex trafficking of models and aspiring models.
Unfair pay, child labor & toxic substances
Even within its UK operations, VS has a gender pay gap of 13.8%, where women earn 86p for every £1 that men earn when comparing median hourly pay. This goes directly against their corporate boasting that they have a “predominately female workforce”.
Products manufactured by VS have been found to contain toxic substances, as well as cotton picked by child laborers,and designs allegedly stolen from other brands.
What is their latest rebranding all about?
In 2021, Victoria’s Secret finally stopped its annual Fashion Show, which had run from 1995 to 2020, and recently received criticism for promoting unrealistic beauty standards. The business even admits that it had “lost relevance with the modern woman”, and now intends to go from “telling her what’s sexy and how to look… to being there to help her craft the story she wants to shape for herself”.
But we can't help but wonder if this rebranding is not just a strategic Femwashing campaign.