Lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret wants to distance its annual fashion show from prime-time television, according to a report from CNBC.
The company’s leadership reportedly sent a memo to employees laying out changes to the company and suggesting that “network television” was no longer appropriate for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which has aired every year on ABC and CBS for the last two decades.
L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
“Fashion is a business of change. We must evolve and change to grow,” L Brands CEO Les Wexner said in the memo, obtained by CNBC. “With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”
“Going forward,” Wexner added, “we don’t believe network television is the right fit.”
Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show has faced scrutiny in recent years as consumers demand a more inclusive and broad definition of beauty from fashion and beauty companies.
Body positivity activists have specifically targeted Victoria’s Secret as a company that refuses to include models of all body types and sizes in its fashion shows and advertising. The annual fashion show, which features slim models year after year, isn’t the only element of the brand to draw ire from consumers.
People have also lambasted the company for refusing to carry larger sizes.
In an interview with Vogue last November, L Brands Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek defended Victoria’s Secret decision to not cast curvier or transgender models in its annual show. Razek said the company had considered it, though.
“We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world,” Razek said. Monica Mitro, the company’s public relations executive, also noted in the interview that Victoria’s Secret carries bra sizes from 30A to 40DDD.
“So it’s like, why don’t you do 50,” Razek said, adding, “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. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
Victoria’s Secret’s annual show has seen a drop in ratings in recent years, with the most recent show in December marking its lowest ratings with 3.3 million viewers ― down from 5 million in 2017.
Earlier this year, the company also announced it would be closing 53 more stores after closing 30 in 2018.
Victoria’s Secret apparent decline in popularity comes at a time when new lingerie brands, such as Rihanna’s Fenty and ThirdLove, which a former Victoria’s Secret CEO invested in, openly celebrate a diverse array of models and sizes, including plus-size and half-sizes.
In his memo, Wexner said the company would be revamping its fashion show “in ways that will push the boundaries of fashion in the global digital age,” but he didn’t disclose specific details about what that would entail.