Victoria’s Secret lingerie CEO ‘steps down’ amid controversy over lack of diversity

The brand’s annual fashion show is regularly criticised

Olivia Petter
Thursday 15 November 2018 12:52
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Victoria’s Secret’s chief executive, Jan Singer, has reportedly resigned from her role at the lingerie brand amid flagging sales and growing criticism surrounding its annual fashion show.

Singer joined the US lingerie label’s parent company L Brands in September 2016, having left her job as CEO at Spanx, the popular shapewear brand. Before that, she served as an executive at Nike.

Her alleged departure, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes almost a week after Vogue Runway published a controversial interview with chief marketing officer Ed Razek, who said he didn’t think “transsexuals” should walk the runway in the brand’s annual fashion show “because the show is a fantasy”.

Razek has since apologised for his “insensitive comments” in a statement released by Victoria’s Secret on Twitter.

The 70-year-old businessman added that he would “absolutely” cast a transgender model in the annual runway show, which this year took place on 8 November in New York City.

In the interview, which sparked a backlash on social media, Razek was also asked to explain why there were no plus-size models cast in the show.

“I don’t think we can be all things to all customers,” he said before pointing out that the brand’s bra sizes go up to 40DDD.

He also implied that the annual fashion show, which this year starred Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, was more progressive than Rihanna’s recent runway for her Savage x Fenty lingerie label that saw Slick Woods walk the runway while she was nine months pregnant.

“We’ve had three pregnant models walk the show,” Razek said. “Everybody had the conversation about Savage [x Fenty] having the pregnant model in the show.

“We watch this, we’re amused by it, but we don’t milk it. And all of those things that they’ve ‘invented’, we’ve done and continue to do.”

On Twitter, people have pointed out that the timing of Razek’s comments coincide neatly with reports of Singer’s resignation, suggesting that the timing might not be quite so coincidental.

“I know the VS business hasn't been doing well even prior to Ed Razek's ‘transsexual’ comments but given the timing this can't help but feel like a woman taking the fall for him,” wrote one person.

Models organise diverse catwalk to protest Victoria's Secret fashion show

“Glad to hear it!” another person added in response to the news. “I have been very disappointed with Victoria Secret. Their attitude towards trans people is unacceptable.”

According to the Financial Times, L Brands is planning to officially announce Singer’s resignation on Monday.

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