We Want Inclusive Marketing and We Want It Now: How Savage X Fenty Has Beat Victoria’s Secret at It’s Own Game

This week saw the release of the much anticipated Savage X Fenty Fashion Show on Amazon Prime. If you aren’t familiar with the brand, Savage X Fenty is a lingerie brand owned by Rihanna. In their own words; “Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty celebrates fearlessness, confidence and inclusivity. We want you to feel sexy and have fun doing it.” Personally I am a huge fan of Rihanna and everything she stands for, so I have followed the brand for a while now.

When I heard about the Televised Version of the Fashion Show, to say I was excited was an understatement, I didn’t look at any pictures before I watched because I wanted it to be a surprise and that it was (in the best way possible).

If you follow fashion you have probably heard a thing or two about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Many years ago I loved the show and would be excited for its annual return. However in recent years the show has come under fire for it’s lack of inclusivity and diversity. If you haven’t seen the show, all you need to know is that they only include Size 0 models and the Marketing Boss said “he wouldn’t hire transgender models, as it would ruin the show’s fantasy”. (He has now stepped down, as they have hired a transgender model, but it’s all much too little to late for many fans, who see it as a move to fake inclusivity and stop the backlash, rather than actually support diverse women).

So in March this year when Victoria’s Secret announced they were appointing a plus sized ‘Angel’ to their lineup, it seemed like a step in the right direction. Until it emerged that the ‘plus size’ model was Barbara Palvin, a UK Size 8 Model. Yes you read that correctly a Size 8 model. Honestly what a kick in the teeth to real woman of all body shapes and sizes. The average UK Dress Size is a 16 and a US Dress Size 14, so how is this in any way relatable to the majority of consumers. Their marketing team need fired, oh wait. (The 2019 Fashion Show has reportedly been cancelled, coincidence I think not)

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‘Oops, I (FINALLY) did it again’ 👼🏼 #vsfs2018

A post shared by Barbara Palvin (@realbarbarapalvin) on

Victoria’s Secret’s ‘Plus Size’ Model

Enter the Savage X Fenty Show. To me it was everything I expected and more. You can see that Rihanna and her team truly understand real modern women and have created a marketing campaign that supports everyone. Just to reiterate how inclusive this was I’ll provide a quick run down.

The show included models of every body type and size, showing how confident they were in their bodies in the performance art style show. The show was also fully gender inclusive featuring Aquaria, a well known drag race and Laverne Cox, a trans-woman known for being an actor and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. The show included people of all ethnicities and a disabled women wearing gold prosthetic legs.

So how does all this relate to the consumer? Well, when I watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show it makes me feel inadequate, like I’m not beautiful because I’m not a Size 0. I have no idea what their products would look like on me cause the models are twice my height and half my size. Did I feel like this when I watched the Fenty Show? Absolutely not. I was able to see the products on body types I could relate to and it made me feel empowered. This time I was not enviable of the unachievable physiques of the models, but of the confidence that these women exuded.

So what did I do? I went straight on to the Savage X Fenty website and ordered myself some pieces. After the show I knew the brand was one I wanted to support and I loved everything that they stood for. Having spoken to friends they also completely feel the same and prefer to see ‘real’ campaigns rather than airbrushed models who display and unachievable ideal. I think it’s something more brands should consider when producing marketing campaigns and will become a more popular choice over the coming years.

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