Over the years, the Victoria’s Secret brand has comfortably held on to its spot as the No. 1 U.S. lingerie label, with little competition. Known for its glitzy annual fashion show broadcast worldwide and drawing interest from world-famous supermodels, the brand’s popularity seems to be waning, with a reported market share decline. If we’re being honest, Victoria’s Secret has not been buzzing for a minute now. The brand established itself on the premise of being sexy and perfect. In 2018, being sexy and perfect has evolved for the consumer. Earlier this year, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, reported an unexpected drop in June comparable sales for its lingerie brand, despite a lengthy semi-annual sale and deep price cuts.
THE BRAND’S FAILURE TO EVOLVE
What has been interesting to watch is how smaller and more aggressive brands are now coming for Victoria’s Secret — each armed with a marketing pitch that resonates with young women. However, analysts have quickly warned against blaming Victoria’s Secret’s fall solely on the rise of competition. “It’s had the same positioning for decades, associating sexy with super models, and it just doesn’t work anymore,” said one analyst. Following the rise of the fashion industry’s plus-size uptake, leading plus- size manufacturer — Only Nine Apparel — pitched a line of larger sizes to Victoria’s Secret. A response from a senior executive read, “Unfortunately at this time we are not looking to expand our focus into larger sizes.” According to Only Nine founder, Jamie Gorman, each time his company tried to sell the “plus-size” concept to Victoria’s Secret, he was met with a “not at this time”.
“Beauty no longer knows a size”.
BEHIND RIHANNA’S SECRET
Only a year after launching her revolutionary Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s beauty line has made Time magazine’s “Genius Companies” list for 2018. What makes Rihanna’s hugely successful line a game-changer is its unapologetic celebration of inclusivity in their products and overall makeup campaigns, which has had a huge influence on how the beauty industry behaves since its 2017 launch. It then comes as no surprise that the multifaceted entrepreneur has employed a similar strategy for her newly launched lingerie brand, Savage x Fenty. While Victoria’s Secret’s strategy of selling sexy may have worked in the past, what the brand neglected to consider is that sexiness evolves with each generation. Their glamourous and slim-toned models might not be viewed as aspirational anymore; as now women seek being happy with themselves and staying healthy. “Women should be wearing lingerie for their damn selves, I can only hope to encourage confidence and strength by showing lingerie in another light,” the chart-topping star told Vogue.
THE SPECTACULAR SHOW
In a move to further cement her stance on inclusivity and diversity, Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty New York Fashion Week debut was a true representation of women of all sizes, shapes, and ethnicities. The Savage x Fenty production received rave reviews, with some even comparing it to the Victoria’s Secret (VS) Show. The VS fashion show has been one of fashion’s most iconic events attracting A-list performers and guests, with the brand claiming its the most-watched fashion event of the year (800 million are said to tune in annually), costing them around $12 million to put the spectacle together. While Savage x Fenty may still be in its infancy as a lingerie brand, they are proving to have their foot firmly on Victoria’s Secret’s neck.
It’s no secret that consumers show more keenness towards brands that understand them and evolve with them. Our generation seems to embrace more natural looks and relatable beauty; this is why Rihanna’s “secret” is proving to be worth the hype. With the right design team behind her, Savage x Fenty and other challenger brands like Aerie will soon topple VS from the No 1 spot in no time.