Yes, Victoria’s Secret is a fast fashion brand.
Victoria’s Secret is an American lingerie specialist retailer and the number one lingerie brand in America. They also own La Senza, as well as PINK, a lingerie sub-brand aimed at teenagers. Victoria’s Secret was founded in 1977 by white American businesspeople Roy and Gaye Raymond, and today is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and owned by shareholders. The business brings in $6.1 billion in revenue annually across its 1400 retail locations and 25,000 employees.
Victoria’s Secret is a fast fashion brand due to the speed of production and scale of clothes that it sells.
Fashion Revolution Transparency Rating: 22/100
Ethical Consumer Score: 4.5/15
Good On You Sustainability Rating: 2/5
Additional Reasons Why Victoria’s Secret Is A Fast Fashion Brand
- Despite aiming “to be the world’s leading advocate for women”, Victoria’s Secret treats its predominantly female garment workers poorly:
- In 2021, a garment factory for Victoria’s Secret in Thailand was shut down while owing workers more than $7.8 million. The Thai government ruled that this action violated Thai labor law, but they are still yet to pay up.
- In late 2020, it was found that more than 7,000 cases of coronavirus in Sri Lanka, a third of the nation’s total, were linked back to a factory that manufacturers clothing for Victoria’s Secret. Workers were forced back to work after feeling ill in order to fulfil orders for brands.
- In spring of the same year, VS stopped paying its garment factories, using the excuse of covid-19 reducing demand (despite signing contracts for the work, and legally owing payment). Despite external pressure, it has still yet to pay up.
- Even within its UK operations, VS has a gender pay gap of 13.8%, where women earn 86p for every £1 that men earn when comparing median hourly pay. This goes directly against their corporate boasting that they have a “predominately female workforce”.
- Victoria’s Secret has been repeatedly accused of harbouring a misogynistic workplace culture, with racism, profiling, discrimination and even harassment from top management. In 2017, a class-action lawsuit also saw VS pay out $12 million to underpaid employees.
- Products manufactured by VS have been found to contain toxic substances, as well as cotton picked by child labourers, and designs allegedly stolen from other brands.
- In 2021, Victoria’s Secret finally stopped its annual Fashion Show, which had run from 1995-2020, and constantly received criticism for promoting unrealistic beauty standards. The business even admits that it had “lost relevance with the modern woman”, and now intends to go from “telling her what’s sexy and how to look… to being there to help her craft the story she wants to shape for herself”. Nah, how about you just take your male gaze and leave us alone?
Sustainable Alternatives To V.S.
If you’re looking to stop shopping at Victoria’s Secret, I recommend looking at underwear brands with better credentials such as Colie & Co*, JulieMay Lingerie, Semi/Romantic, and more listed in my guide to ethical lingerie.
This post is part of a larger guide to UK fast fashion brands, which goes into more detail about the issues with fast fashion, why it will never be sustainable, and how to make your wardrobe more sustainable.
Data for this review is taken from the brand’s website, corporate website, Wikipedia, and sites linked throughout. The Transparency Rating is from Fashion Transparency Index 2021. All information is assumed correct at date of publication.