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Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie CEO, Jan Singer, is stepping down, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The news comes one week after the brand’s chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, made problematic statements about transgender and plus-size models.
Singer joined the L Brands Inc. unit in September 2016 after a stint as the head of Spanx. Singer previously tried to compete in the evolving lingerie business by embracing a fast-fashion model for panties with lower prices and new styles dropping more frequently. Despite her efforts, Victoria’s Secret has faced commercial struggles in recent years, with same-store sales dropping 5 percent in 2018.
Amid the rise of lingerie brands that celebrate plus-size and gender-nonconforming customers — such as ThirdLove and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line — Victoria’s Secret has faced mounting criticism for its lack of inclusivity. The brand’s chief marking officer, Ed Razek, recently sparked outrage after explaining in a recent interview with Vogue why he doesn’t cast trans or plus-size models in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. (The annual spectacle filmed its 2018 iteration last week, which will air on ABC on Dec. 2.)
According to Razek — whose response included the use of the outdated and offensive word “transsexual” — trans and plus-size women do not represent the “fantasy” that Victoria’s Secret is trying to sell.
“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,” he said. “It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
Added Razek: “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. 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. We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
Razek later apologized for his remarks in a statement shared via Victoria’s Secret’s Twitter account. “My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive,” he said in part, failing to acknowledge what he said about plus-size models.
Despite Razek’s apology, notable LGBTQ and plus-size models — including Gigi Gorgeous, Carmen Carrera and Tess Holliday, among others — continue to publicly condemn Victoria’s Secret.
On Monday morning, internet personality Gorgeous shared a YouTube video titled “SHAME ON YOU Victoria’s Secret,” in which she describes how much the brand meant to her in the initial stages of her transition when she first started shopping for lingerie. “I just wanted to say that this is the last time that I’m going to be wearing a Victoria’s Secret bra,” she says in the video after removing her pink bra. “They definitely lost a customer in me.”
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