Victoria's Secret has been on the Boycott List since the beginning of JooJoo Azad, but the recent 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in London crossed a few more lines...

Victorias secret, boycott victoria's secret, lingerie, vsfs15, unethical fashion

This overdue post was supposed to go up prior to the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in London this year, but, alas, finals week is a thing and destroyed the relevance of anything that is not going to be in my final exams. (p.s. all went well, I think, so hopefully postponing this post was worth it)!

To be fair, I must first mention that I was boycotting the show and therefore did not watch it, but I did happen upon several photos from the show floating around my social media and on blogs that I follow, so I have the general idea. Let's just say, it was not pretty. Underneath the 10+ millions of viewers and millions of dollars supposedly raised for charity, Victoria has a few dark secrets that make the brand highly boycott-worthy. For the sake of your time, I'll stick with the top three:


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I mentioned this in passing here and there on JooJoo Azad, but just to reiterate, Victoria's Secret exploits child labor and financially supports an illegal military apartheid regime. Even the so-called "organic" and "free-trade" cotton that Victoria's Secret claims to use was hand-picked by child slaves. Physical, emotional, and psychological abuse is not uncommon in the 100+hr workweek that many marginalized workers face behind the scenes of Victoria's Secrets' factories. This is illegal, deceitful, and inhumane. 

[Image source/More Information: Bloomberg]

 Victorias secret, boycott victoria's secret, ethical fashion, vsfs15, unethical fashion

[image source: victoria's secret] 

Where are the plus-sized models? Hell, where are the models that are anything above a size 00? Again, I didn't watch the show, but I did look up the lineup of the models (exhibit A above)--not only are they all incredibly thin and, er, well-endowed, but most of the women are white. There were very little-to-none women of color, women of Asian decent, etc. Self-titled the "Sexiest Night of the Year," the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is essentially very narrowly defining beauty for the tens of millions of men and women who watch the show worldwide.


Victorias secret, boycott victoria's secret, ethical fashion, vsfs15, unethical fashion

[image source: victoria's secret] 

There was an "Exotic Traveler" segment? Really? Come now.
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show has appropriated traditional attire and symbols and hyper-sexualized their meanings. The endless allusions to various Middle-Eastern, Native American, and other cultures' traditional patterns or symbols (although maybe not as bad as the 2012 show) are incredibly offensive and distasteful and exploit the original meaning or significance attached to the image. (no, I still haven't forgotten my promise of a complete post on cultural appropriation in the fashion industry! That is still happening!). While the exploitation and sexualization of various cultures and sacred objects is not new to the fashion industry, it still cannot be tolerated.

Update: Blogger-Friend JuJu at Tales of Whimsy just left a comment mentioning the book I'm No Angel that talks a lot about this topic, as well as the lack of ethics behind-the-scenes of being a supermodel.

For these reasons and more, Victoria's Secret is on the Boycott List. If you liked this post, I can put together more profiles of the brands on the Boycott List explaining why they are there (if you'd have any brands in mind on the list that you're particularly curious about, let me know and I can start with them!)

While I do try to make JooJoo Azad a very positive space, I don't think that the dirt of the industry I am a part of should be left untouched. As consumers, we have a right to know what we are supporting with our money, and should be able to enjoy the artistic and expressive side of our clothing without exploiting the marginalized, discouraging body positivity, and appropriating other cultures. While I apologize that I did not manage to publish this post prior to the show, I do encourage you to boycott their products (and show next year, too!) and share the details with your friends and families! 

UPDATE (June 4, 2015): We've also uncovered a bit more dirt on what Victoria's Secret (& others) are promoting...

I'd love to hear your thoughts--did I miss anything that you'd like to add? What are your thoughts?


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