Lingerie label ThirdLove has made the most of Victoria’s Secrets recent travails by placing a full-page New York Times ad in response to a series of controversial comments made by Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L-Brands’ chief marketing officer Ed Razek in a recent Vogue interview.
Among comments about casting decisions, Razek without prompting brought up ThirdLove, dismissing it as a competitive threat. Said Razek, “[Competitors] carp at us because we’re the leader. They don’t talk about each other. I accept that. I actually respect it. Cool. But we’re nobody’s third love. We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning.”
Addressing Victoria’s Secret in a letter format, ThirdLove co-CEO Heidi Zak in large part addressed Razek’s comments about choosing not to cast either plus-size or transgender models for Victoria’s Secret’s annual runway show.
Zak wrote, “Haven’t we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles?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. We’re done with pretending certain sizes don’t exist or aren’t important enough to serve. And please stop insisting that inclusivity is a trend.”
Referencing Razek’s comment, she added, “As you said Ed, ‘We’re nobody’s ThirdLove, we’re their first love.’ 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.”
The letter wasn’t the only thing on ThirdLove’s agenda. The brand has amplified a change.org petition created by model Robyn Lawley who is calling for people to boycott Victora’s Secret fashion show in an effort to encourage the brand to take a more inclusive approach to casting.
While much has been made of Victoria’s Secret’s casting decisions, we think the brand has much bigger problems it needs to address if it wants to get back on a growth path.
Check out ThirdLove’s related social media posts below.
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New York Times Sunday, full page letter from @heidi to @victoriassecret – Dear Victoria’s Secret, I was appalled when I saw the demeaning comments about women your Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek, made to Vogue last week. As hard as it is to believe, he said the following: “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.” “It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? 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.” I’ve read and re-read the interview at least 20 times, and each time I read it I’m even angrier. 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. But at ThirdLove, we think beyond, as you said, a “42-minute entertainment special.” 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. 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. We’re done with pretending certain sizes don’t exist or aren’t important enough to serve. And please stop insisting that inclusivity is a trend. I founded ThirdLove five years ago because it was time to create a better option. ThirdLove is the antithesis of Victoria’s Secret. We believe the future is building a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This shouldn’t be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm. Let’s listen to women. Let’s respect their intelligence. Let’s exceed their expectations. Let women define themselves. As you said Ed, “We’re nobody’s ThirdLove, we’re their first love.” 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. To all women everywhere, we see you, and we hear you. Your reality is enough. To each, her own. -Heidi @heidi
ThirdLove letter to Victoria’s Secret
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A LOT has been happening at @thirdlove in the past few weeks. From our petition to boycott the VS fashion show with @robynlawley, to the @vogue article with Victoria’s Secret’s CMO Ed Razek, to our open letter in the @nytimes, inclusivity and diversity and pushing for change have been really top of mind. Today, we sat down with @heidi, Co-Founder and CEO, to learn more about how things unfolded.
Co-CEO Heidi Zak explains why she wrote the letter.