"With The VS Collective, we are creating a platform that will build new, deeper relationships with all women," Victoria's Secret's Chief Marketing Officer Martha Pease said

By Naledi Ushe
June 17, 2021 12:10 AM
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Victoria's Secret is getting a makeover!

The company announced on Wednesday that it has rebranded by launching two new initiatives: The VS Collective and The Victoria's Secret Global Fund for Women's Cancers.

The lingerie retailer's VS Collective features Priyanka Chopra, Megan Rapinoe and many other "accomplished women who share a common passion to drive positive change," Victoria's Secret announced in a press release.

The latest initiatives come nearly two years after the end of the Victoria's Secret Angel title and the subsequent cancellation of the show in Nov. 2019 due to criticism that the brand didn't embrace models of all sizes and backgrounds on its runway.

victorias secret logo
Victoria's Secret Logo

The Victoria's Secret Global Fund for Women's Cancer will donate "at least $5 million annually to examine and address racial and gender inequities and unlock new innovations that improve cancer outcomes for all women," per the press release.

Meanwhile the VS Collective promises to work with their new brand ambassadors to "create new associate programs, revolutionary product collections, compelling and inspiring content, and rally support for causes vital to women." 

Adut Akech/Priyanka Chopra/Megan Rapinoe
Adut Akech/Priyanka Chopra/Megan Rapinoe
| Credit: getty (3)

The inaugural VS Collective women include actress Chopra, 38, United States Women's National Soccer Team player Rapinoe, 35, South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech, Los Angeles journalist and photographer Amanda de Cadenet, Chinese skier and women's sports advocate Eileen Gu, British model and activist Paloma Elsesser, and Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio who became Victoria Secret's first transgender model in 2019.

"With The VS Collective, we are creating a platform that will build new, deeper relationships with all women. Through a series of collaborations, business partnerships and cause-related initiatives, we're bringing new dimensions to our brand experience. In marrying our new partners' energy, creativity and perspectives with our network and scale, we can transform how we connect with and show up for women," Victoria's Secret's Chief Marketing Officer Martha Pease saidin a statement.

The company's CEO Martin Waters added, "At Victoria's Secret, we are on an incredible journey to become the world's leading advocate for women. This is a dramatic shift for our brand, and it's a shift that we embrace from our core. These new initiatives are just the beginning. We are energized and humbled by the work ahead of us."

Several of the VS Collective rookie class also spoke about their decision to join the initiative.

De Cadenet, 49, expressed that she hopes to "prioritize authentic representation of women and support Victoria's Secret senior leadership in their mission to drive systemic change."

Rapinoe said she used to feel like she was "on the outside looking in with brands in the beauty and fashion industry" and wants to create "a space that sees the true spectrum of ALL women."

Sampaio, 29, similarly expressed that she wants to break barriers. "Being a trans woman often means facing closed doors to people's hearts. As a powerful global platform, Victoria's Secret is committed to opening these doors for trans women like me, by celebrating, uplifting and advocating for ALL women," she said.

"As we work together to chart the path forward in a new and impactful way, I'm not only looking forward to developing future collections that are inclusive of all people, but I am most excited for new customers and for those who have always been a customer of Victoria's Secret to feel represented and like they belong," Chopra said.

Akech thanked the "support of so many voices that deserve to be heard more than myself" for allowing her to be "part of a group that celebrates and empowers individuality."

Gu added that she's "looking to break boundaries and use their platform to uplift, champion and advocate for women across the world."

Victoria's Secret has been plagued with controversy over the past two years.

Patrick McMullan Archives
Victoria's Secret Angels
| Credit: Rolando Petit/Getty

In August of 2019, more than 100 models signed an open petition written to Victoria's Secret CEO John Mehas by The Model Alliance, which called upon the lingerie giant to protect its models against sexual misconduct. The group wrote another letter to the CEO alleging a "culture of misogyny and abuse" in Feb. 2020. Mehas stepped down in Nov. 2020 and was replaced by Martin Waters.

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In Feb. 2020, Leslie H. Wexner, the longtime chairman and CEO of L Brands, which owns the lingerie giant, stepped down, following scrutiny for his business ties with Jeffrey Epstein.

Months later, former Victoria's Secret chief marketing officer Ed Razek was accused of sexual harassment, bullying and creating a culture of misogyny, according to a report from The New York Times in Dec. 2020. Most allegations revolved around Razek, who stepped down from his position in August 2019, months after causing controversy over his comments about hiring transgender or curvy models for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which was canceled last year. He later apologized for the comments.