Model Alliance demands Victoria’s Secret addresses ‘culture of misogyny’

Members of the Model Alliance have demanded Victoria’s Secret bosses overhaul the entire company following allegations of misogyny.In an expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, models and employees accused former chief marketing office…

Members of the Model Alliance have demanded Victoria’s Secret bosses overhaul the entire company following allegations of misogyny.

In an expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, models and employees accused former chief marketing officer Ed Razek of inappropriate conduct during his 36-year stint at the U.S. lingerie label, with claims relating to harassment and bullying. The 71-year-old has denied all allegations.

In light of The New York Times report, members of the Model Alliance, a non-profit organisation that advocates for the protection of those working in the fashion industry, have sent an open letter to John Mehas, chief executive officer of Victoria’s Secret, calling for him to “take concrete action” in order to change a “culture of misogyny and abuse”.

“We believe that this moment can be a wake-up call for Victoria’s Secret. This is an opportunity to take meaningful steps towards ending these abuses by joining the RESPECT Program, as models have called for since December 2018. The RESPECT Program – a program of the Model Alliance – is the only existing accountability program designed by and for models,” the letter reads. “Models have access to an independent, confidential complaint mechanism, with swift and fair resolution of complaints and appropriate consequences for abusers. Further, RESPECT includes a robust training program aimed toward prevention, to ensure that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities.”

In addition, the letter claims officials at the Model Alliance met with leaders at Victoria’s Secret and its parent company L Brands, including chief communications officer Tammy Roberts Myers, five months ago. But in a follow-up email, Myers allegedly commented that “Victoria’s Secret was not ready to take any concrete steps towards addressing these allegations” and that the company is simply, “In the process of continued learning and listening.”

“The time for listening is long past; it’s time for Victoria’s Secret to take action to protect the people they profit from. Human rights violations can’t be stopped with a corporate rebranding exercise,” the letter concluded.

The document was signed by models including Amber Valletta, Christy Turlington, Robyn Lawley, and Karen Elson, as well as photography duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

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Doutzen Kroes and Christy Turlington petition Victoria’s Secret over misconduct

Doutzen Kroes and Christy Turlington are among 100 models who have signed a petition urging bosses at Victoria’s Secret to protect them from sexual misconduct.The longtime Victoria’s Secret Angel, along with the ’90s supermodel, have joined the likes o…

Doutzen Kroes and Christy Turlington are among 100 models who have signed a petition urging bosses at Victoria’s Secret to protect them from sexual misconduct.

The longtime Victoria’s Secret Angel, along with the ’90s supermodel, have joined the likes of Edie Campbell, Gemma Ward, Iskra Lawrence, Karen Elson, and Milla Jovovich in adding their names to a letter sent to chief executive officer John Mehas on Tuesday.

Non-profit organisation Model Alliance posted a copy of the letter on Twitter, with the text reading, “In the past few weeks, we have heard numerous allegations of sexual assault, alleged rape, and sex trafficking of models and aspiring models.

“While these allegations may not have been aimed at Victoria’s Secret directly, it is clear that your company has a crucial role to play in remedying the situation.”

Of late, the lingerie label has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct by photographers Timur Emek, David Bellemere, and Greg Kadel. Emek has not yet responded to the claims, while Bellemere and Kadel have denied the allegations.

“It is deeply disturbing that these men appear to have leveraged their working relationships with Victoria’s Secret to lure and abuse vulnerable girls,” the letter continued.

The petition from Model Alliance is also signed by a member of the Hollywood-led initiative Time’s Up, photographers Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, and former Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive. Additionally, it asks Victoria’s Secret to sign on to its Respect programme, which was designed by models and aims to support those who need to report complaints about individuals in the industry, as well as provide education and training.

News of the letter comes shortly after Ed Razek, Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer, resigned from his position. He joined the company in 1983.

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Victoria’s Secret set to bring back swimwear

Victoria’s Secret is set to bring back swimwear collections. In August 2016, executives at the U.S. lingerie giant decided to discontinue making one-pieces and bikinis, after experiencing low sales. But in light of a major restructure occurring at the…

Victoria’s Secret is set to bring back swimwear collections. 

In August 2016, executives at the U.S. lingerie giant decided to discontinue making one-pieces and bikinis, after experiencing low sales.

But in light of a major restructure occurring at the company at present, Stuart B. Burgdoerfer, chief financial officer and executive vice president of L Brands, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, has announced that the label will soon be offering swimwear again.

“So, on swim, we are where we are. I’m not going to spend a lot of time looking back, frankly. You can look back and learn, but I’m not going to go into that at length,” he said during a conference call regarding L Brand’s quarterly earnings on Tuesday (20Nov18). “As to why we made the decision that we did, fundamentally, it’s about what the customer is telling us, and again, one could question the original decision – again, the decision at that time was to focus our energy and our resources on our most critical categories, that being bras and panties at Victoria’s Secret lingerie, but as we evaluate the situation today, a very important decision – and, we believe, a good one – to re-enter the swim business again, driven principally by customer feedback that we’ve received.”

Burgdoerfer went on to explain that swimwear will be re-launched in the spring of 2019.

In addition, he is also looking to explore more footwear and eyewear options, with some boutiques already selling Ugg boots.

“We are developing our plans in detail. Nothing more to share today, but again, a very important decision to re-enter some important businesses and pursue other growth initiatives through a licensing approach,” the executive added.

Since the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was held in New York earlier this month, the brand has been hit with several controversies, with the bosses receiving backlash over failure to keep up with consumer desire for body positive underwear and in regards to transphobic comments made by chief marketing officer Ed Razek, for which he later apologised.

While on Monday, it was confirmed that chief executive officer Jan Singer was stepping down from her post after a two-year stint, with current Tory Burch president John Mehas named as her replacement.

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John Mehas named new Victoria’s Secret chief executive

John Mehas has been named as the new chief executive officer of Victoria’s Secret.Last week (ends18Nov18), it was reported that Jan Singer was stepping down from her post at the helm of the U.S. lingerie brand, which is owned by L Brands Inc., after a …

John Mehas has been named as the new chief executive officer of Victoria’s Secret.

Last week (ends18Nov18), it was reported that Jan Singer was stepping down from her post at the helm of the U.S. lingerie brand, which is owned by L Brands Inc., after a two-year stint, with the businesswoman evidently under pressure to leave in light of public backlash regarding failure to keep up with consumer desire for body positive underwear and over transphobic comments made by chief marketing officer Ed Razek, for which he later apologised.

A representative for L Brands declined to comment on the speculation at the time, but on Monday, it was announced that Mehas had been tapped to overhaul the business as part of the company’s quarterly results.

“John is an outstanding retail merchant and we could not be more excited for him to lead Victoria’s Secret Lingerie to a new phase of success,” said Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and chief executive officer of L Brands, in a statement. “Our number one priority is improving performance at Victoria’s Secret Lingerie and PINK. In doing so, our new leaders are coming in with a fresh perspective and looking at everything … our marketing, brand positioning, internal talent, real estate portfolio and cost structure.”

Mehas will officially take up his new role in early 2019. The executive is currently serving as president of lifestyle brand Tory Burch and previously led Club Monaco, a Polo Ralph Lauren brand, for 13 years. Prior to that, he gained retail experience at The Gap and department store Bloomingdale’s.

“I am confident that, under John’s leadership, Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, the world’s leading lingerie brand, will continue to be a powerhouse and will deliver products and experiences that resonate with women around the globe,” added Wexner.

Wexner also confirmed that Singer has resigned, and commented that he wished her all the best for future endeavours.

“I greatly appreciate her passion and know she will succeed in whatever she pursues next. We appreciate all that she brought to the brand,” he concluded.

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