Victoria’s Secret Promotes inclusivity approach

By Kate Ferrell | Staff Writer

Victoria’s Secret, a popular lingerie brand, hired Ali Tate Cutler (far right), a “plus-size” model, as part of a deal with Bluebella. They also hired Valentina Sampiao, a transgender model, marking a move toward inclusivity.

Popular lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret has launched a new, collaborative campaign with  another lingerie brand, Bluebella. A special hallmark of this launch is the brand’s inclusion of a plus sized model, a move that had never been made by the company before.

It was announced in early October that Ali Tate Cutler, a size 14 model, would be a leading model in the campaign for the new Victoria’s Secret line with Bluebella, a body-positive lingerie brand. This came to the world as a shock, as Victoria’s Secret has been known to only target women of smaller sizes and to only include smaller sized women as their models in various promotional materials.

This announcement especially came as a surprise to junior Madison Colbert, who couldn’t tell that any of the models in the above picture were supposedly plus-sized. “She’s not really that much bigger than the other girls…” Colbert noted about Cutler, “Size 14 is a pretty regular size.”

The brand’s move towards a new, more inclusive approach in their marketing strategies may have stemmed from the backlash they faced at the end of last year after Ed Razek, the former Chief Marketing Officer for Victoria’s Secret, expressed a significant disinterest in hiring transgender models. After receiving many negative responses to this claim, Razek eventually issued a public apology and retired at the beginning of this year.

Victoria Secret’s partnership with Bluebella is one way that the company is gearing their marketing efforts to be more inclusive. The brand hopes to make this project a representation of what is to come for their products in the future, especially when it comes to creating a more all-encompassing customer base.

This newly created line is meant to provide lingerie for every woman and to give options that are not only comfortable, but also flattering to many different body types. In the words of the campaign, “each piece is designed for modern, empowered, and confident women.”

This new initiative makes it unsurprising that they have started to hire traditionally excluded models like Cutler. Cutler seems to be the first effort that company has made in order to create a more inclusive image for their brand. In addition, it was recently released that Victoria’s Secret had hired their first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio, to use in future projects as well. This has been lauded as another revolutionary and progressive move for the brand as a whole.

Colbert wasn’t so sure that the including Cutler as plus-size “I feel like (including a Size 14 model as plus-size) is just increasing the standards for what a woman should look like… it kinda reinforces the idea that even plus-size models should be skinnier than they actually are,” Colbert said.

The line was released on October 4, the same day Cutler posted on her Instagram to announce her involvement in the campaign. Her post consisted of a picture of her wearing a black lacy lingerie one piece from the collection and a caption that shared her excitement about being a part of the campaign. Her caption goes on to mention how Victoria’s Secret is a brand that she has “idolized” since she was a teen and that she is “stoked” to work with them.