Women Strip Down to Their Underwear to Protest Outside Victoria's Secret Store in London

There's no end in sight for the backlash in response to the controversial comments made by a Victoria's Secret marketing exec about trans and plus-size women

Fashion protest in London, United Kingdom - 06 Dec 2018

The backlash in response to the controversial comments made by a Victoria’s Secret marketing exec is not slowing down.

In another blow to the store’s rep, demonstrators gathered on Thursday outside one of the lingerie giant’s London stores. The protest — a collaboration between Love Disfigure, an advocacy group which calls for more diversity across industries, and Nunude, a clothing brand with similar values — were calling for more visibility of different body types in fashion, starting with the Victoria’s Secret runway. Despite the chilly temperatures, the women were wearing only nude sports bras and underwear.

Fashion protest in London, United Kingdom - 06 Dec 2018
Demonstrators staged a protest outside a Victoria’s Secret shop in London in December 2018. FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

The participants, who branded themselves “the fallen angels,” also carried signs for the event.

“We want diversity for all brands,” read one.

“Our bodies matter too,” said another.

“Fighting for equality at Victoria’s Secret,” stated a third.

Both Love Disfigure and Nunude posted pictures on their Instagram accounts commemorating the big day.

“It’s not just about body diversity or skin,” the caption of one Nunude photo explained. “It’s about every single difference! We are all loved and we are all beautiful.”

“Amazing day shared with my lovely friends #FallenAngels Campaigning for Diversity in the Fashion Industry,” Love Disfigure wrote. “We marched into Victoria’s Secret and stripped down to our … underwear shouting that we want diversity on our runways. Then we found ourselves in the middle of Oxford street calling for change.”

In another post, the group professed, “When people look at us and think we are craving for attention because we eat too much, they are clearly blind to what is happening out there. We have become so used to seeing one body image that we find it difficult to open up our minds to want to see others.”

Victoria’s Secret reps decline PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In November, after the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was filmed, L Brands (the parent company of Victoria’s Secret) chief marketing officer Ed Razek sparked controversy when he addressed some of the criticism the brand has faced over the years for its lack of inclusivity.

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special,” Razek said.

He added that inviting plus-size models to participate the show isn’t something Victoria’s Secret plans to do in the future, since “no one had any interest in it” when they pursued the idea in 2000.

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

“I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis. If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have,” Razek said. “We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.”

RELATED VIDEO: In Case You Missed It! All the Biggest Moments From the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

Razek continued, “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”

In a statement released the next day, Razek apologized, insisting that, “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings … And like many others, they didn’t make it … But it was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”

David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

This year, Victoria’s Secret made an effort to expand diversity on the runway by casting 19 models of color, including Winnie Harlow, the first model with vitiligo. The special first aired Dec. 2 on ABC. An encore presentation of the show will air Dec. 7 at 9 pm on ABC.

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