For the past 22 years, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has been one of the most influential events in fashion. Drawing in models such as Adriana Lima, Candice Swanepoel, and Bella Hadid, the show pairs elaborate wings with lingerie and pyjamas, mixing the goods sold in Victoria’s Secret and Pink shops with jewel and glitter covered bodices, skirts, and jackets. Since 2001, the show has been recorded and aired on network television, resulting in large numbers of viewers tuning in to watch the models, and usually numerous high-profile musicians, work the runway. In pioneering sexy lingerie, Victoria’s Secret have always been ahead of the game. However, when it comes to including women from all walks of life on their catwalk, the brand is clearly falling behind.
Though Victoria’s Secret is trying to sell their lingerie to all women, the women they choose to represent their brand on their catwalks are predominantly white, cis, and able-bodied. Using twitter as her platform, Leyna Bloom has spoken against this lack of diversity, and has put herself forward as a future star of the show.
On the 9th April, Bloom tweeted two pictures from her portfolio, with the caption ‘Trying to be the 1st Trans model of colour walk a #VictoriaSecret Fashion show. #transisbeautiful #LeynaBloom’. As of the 13th April, Bloom’s tweet has over 31,000 retweets and 104,000 likes.
As well as using her voice to speak out about trans issues, Bloom has been modelling professionally since 2014, and became the first trans person of colour to model in Vogue India in their October 2017 issue.
Victoria’s Secret have been criticised for their lack of diversity numerous times in the past. In advertising underwear that was supposed to have the ‘perfect fit’ and ‘perfect comfort’ for everybody, the brand decided to title the marketing campaign for the new underwear ‘The Perfect “Body”’. However, the accompanying photos promoting the fit of the underwear featured only slim models, leading to members of the public calling the brand out for deeming this specific body type ‘perfect’. The response to the campaign led to the brand changing the name of the advert to ‘A Body for Every Body’.
Becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel is a career goal for many, and if the brand chose to place Bloom on their catwalk this winter, it would be an incredible step forward for the inclusion of trans women in fashion.
Speaking to Byrdie.co.uk, Bloom presented her take on the fashion industry’s current level of inclusivity. Bloom describes how she thinks ‘there’s so much work to be done. A lot of these brands are using women of different racial backgrounds of different sizes and all walks of life in their campaigns. But they’re just putting us in there. When we have something important to say, let us talk about it’.
All women deserve the chance to feel sexy, and by including Bloom on their catwalk, Victoria’s Secret would be making a huge step in the right direction. If you want to learn more about Leyna, you can find her Instagram and twitter pages below.
Leyna Bloom’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leynabloom/?hl=en
Leyna Bloom’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/leynabloom