Megan Rapinoe and Priyanka Chopra Jonas are helping Victoria's Secret in its efforts to refresh its image. In a re-branding effort, Victoria's Secret announced this week the launch of the VS Collective, as well as The Victoria's Secret Global Fund for Women's Cancers. Described in a press release as a "group of accomplished women who share a common passion to drive positive change," the VS Collective includes United States Women's National Soccer Team member Megan Rapinoe, actress Priyanka Chopra, model Adut Akech, journalist and photographer Amanda de Cadenet, skier Eileen Gu, model Paloma Elsesser and model Valentina Sampaio, who became Victoria's Secret's first transgender model in 2019.
"With The VS Collective, we are creating a platform that will build new, deeper relationships with all women," Martha Pease, Chief Marketing Officer, Victoria's Secret, said in a statement. "Through a series of collaborations, business partnerships and cause-related initiatives, we're bringing new dimensions to our brand experience. In marrying our new partners' energy, creativity and perspectives with our network and scale, we can transform how we connect with and show up for women."
View this post on Instagram
The Victoria's Secret Global Fund for Women's Cancers will fund innovative research projects aimed at progressing treatments and cures for women's cancers and investing in the next generation of women scientists who represent the diverse population they serve. The fund is a partnership with Pelotonia and will grant and award at least $5 million annually to examine and address racial and gender inequities and unlock new innovations that improve cancer outcomes for all women.
"At Victoria's Secret, we are on an incredible journey to become the world's leading advocate for women," Martin Waters, Chief Executive Officer, Victoria's Secret, said in a statement. "This is a dramatic shift for our brand, and it's a shift that we embrace from our core. These new initiatives are just the beginning. We are energized and humbled by the work ahead of us."
The group of women who make up the VS Collective replace the Victoria's Secret Angels, a title that has officially been dropped. Nearly two years ago, Victoria's Secret did away with another major piece of its former brand identity when it announced that it would be not be holding its annual fashion show after criticism around the event mounted, among other controversies.
In August 2019, over 100 models signed an open petition written by The Model Alliance to Victoria's Secret CEO John Mehas asking the company to protect its models against sexual misconduct, and the group wrote another letter to Mehas in February 2020 alleging that Victoria's Secret was harboring a "culture of misogyny and abuse." In November 2020, Mehas stepped down and was replaced by Waters.
Leslie H. Wexner, the chairman and CEO of Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands, also received scrutiny for his business ties with Jeffrey Epstein and he stepped down after Victoria's Secret sold a 55 percent stake of Victoria's Secret Lingerie, Victoria's Secret Beauty and Pink to private equity firm Sycamore Partners for approximately $525 million. In December 2020, a New York Times report accused former Victoria's Secret chief marketing officer Ed Razek, who had stepped down in August 2019, was accused of sexual harassment, bullying and creating a culture of misogyny.