Since its inception in 1977, Victoria’s Secret has been the cornerstone of lingerie and the depiction of sexy women. Yet, Ashley Graham challenges that notion.
With the advent of Sports Illustrated’s newest issue, professional and public perceptions are changing about the way women “have” to look. It seems that many women were just waiting for the right voice to speak up to lead the revolution.
Accordingly, Victoria’s Secret’s 2015 lineup may have to compromise a few pieces to meet this growing demand. Matter of fact, Business Insider addressed the issue years ago.
In the particular article, it says, “Retailers can’t ignore 100 million plus-size, American women forever.”
This would possibly include Victoria’s Secret clothing. Ashley Graham’s Sports Illustrated photos have shown the world that there are different shapes to “sexy,” and a paradigm shift could be underway.
Likewise, her lingerie photos for Addition Elle show the aforementioned “sexy” viewpoint.
In contrast though, Victoria’s Secret models are known for their slender physiques. However, this isn’t a depiction of the majority of U.S. women. An article from Denver Post targets the statistics of American women’s sizes.
“The potential market is worth chasing because the average American woman is a size 14, and plus-sizes, often classified as 14 to 34, account for 67 percent of the population, according to Houston-based Plunkett Research.”
If 67 percent (well-over half) of the U.S. women’s populous is plus-sized, why do retailers like Victoria’s Secret refuse to compromise?
Well, in the same article, Denver Post states the following.
“Retailers may find it challenging to jump into the market because it’s expensive to make clothes for plus-size women, as bodies tend to change in more ways above a size 14 than below that. For designs to suit those changes, they require more research and often additional and different fabrics.”
However, Victoria’s Secret has the finances to make this shift into plus-sized clothing. Three years ago, sales were recorded at $6.12 billion. So, possibly, there’s another reason.
According to Victoria’s Secret’s size chart, it does slide into the “plus-size” market — just barely.
Though Victoria’s Secret’s Fashion Show 2015 could introduce more plus sizes, retailers should read the business advice of Catherine Moellering, vice president of fashion-retail consulting firm Tobe in New York City.
“For so long, women have been told by the fashion elite that they can’t wear horizontal stripes, everything they wear should be loose and they should steer away from anything that’s form-fitting and tailored. This younger generation isn’t interested in their rules.”
It’s an eye-opening statement that could affect Victoria’s Secret sales for better or worse. There’s even a petition with Change.org started by Dana Drew from Westminster, California.
Unfortunately for Dana, in the representative’s response in December 2014, it seems that the company may stay put — regardless of the demands from 67 percent of American women on Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie.
Thank you for taking the time to contact us. You’ve asked about our sizes. It is my privilege to personally respond to you.
As of right now, we do not have plans to extend our size range beyond 16 or XL. However, we certainly value your opinion, and your voice has been heard.
I assure you I have personally shared your specific feedback with our department. I want to let you know that we appreciate your comments and take them seriously. In fact, customer suggestions and comments often provide direction for changes in future merchandise and services. I truly thank you for sharing your feedback.
Dana, I truly appreciate your interest in our brands. If there is anything else with which we can further assist you, please be sure to email or call us at any time.
VictoriasSecret.com Customer Service”
From a business perspective, Victoria’s Secret’s sizes cater to a specific niche of women. Looking in from that spectrum, is it right to force a private company to make products it wasn’t or isn’t designed to make?
Technically, Victoria’s Secret’s Perfect Body campaign does feature sizes 14 and 16, which are plus-size fits. However, the consensus proposes that those aren’t enough.
However, there are Victoria’s Secret supporters who say they’re more than enough, such as this video depicts.
What are your thoughts about Victoria’s Secret’s response to Dana’s petition? Do you think that will change now that the Ashley Graham is building momentum?
[Feature Image via Twitter, Video via CNBC]