Victoria’s Secret has been under intense scrutiny ever since Ed Razek, the Chief Marketing Officer of L Brands’ (the parent company of Victoria’s Secret) announced in an interview with Vogue that the brand would not hire trans or curvy models because they did not fit into the “fantasy” of the show.
Shortly after his remarks, everyone from models (Tess Holliday) to celebrities (Rihanna) and size-inclusive brands (ThirdLove) voiced their disapproval, which eventually lead to executive Jan Singer, CEO of the lingerie’s division, to resign.
And now, ThirdLove is taking matters even further. Heidi Zak, the founder and CEO of ThirdLove, penned a letter to Victoria’s Secret in the New York Times to address all of her concerns with their business model.
She began by saying she was “appalled” by Razek’s comments in which he said that the brand would not hire transgender or plus-size models since “no one had any interest in it” when they pursued the idea of curvier models in the show in 2000.
“I’ve read and re-read the interview at least 20 times, and each time I read it I’m even angrier,” Zak said. “How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company — let alone one that claims to be for women — make such shocking, derogatory statements?”
“You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women,” she continued. Adding, “Haven’t we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles? It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide.”
She explained that her company is the “antithesis” of Victoria’s Secret by offering supportive, comfortable undergarments for women of all sizes.
“Your show may be a ‘fantasy’ but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country.”
Victoria’s Secret declined PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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In his interview to Vogue, Razek called out ThirdLove by saying, “We’e nobody’s third love. We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning.”
To which Zak responded back: “We are flattered for the mention, but let me be clear: we may not have been a woman’s first love but we will be her last.”
Victoria’s Secret recently filmed its upcoming TV special, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (airing on ABC on Dec. 2) and were criticized for the lack of body diversity on the runway. This also comes as the brand faced numerous store closings and sale declines this year.
The brand did make an effort this year to expand to diversify the runway, hiring Winnie Harlow, the first model with vitiligo, to walk the show and casting 19 models of color this season.
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