Lingerie Brands Undergo a Major Makeover: Branding Lessons from Victoria’s Secret

Women’s attitudes towards fashion, particularly when it comes to their undergarments is shifting. Lingerie used to be a very private, secretive segment of the fashion world. However, lingerie is now publicly being embraced by women of all ages and sizes. So what’s sparked this shift? To understand the evolution of the lingerie industry it is worth looking at the major players, consumer sentiment towards lingerie and the emerging lingerie brands.

Is Victoria Secret’s Crown Falling?

Victoria’s Secret has long been hailed as the queen of lingerie brands. In fact, in September 2018 Victoria’s Secret was ranked as the number one lingerie brand on the 2018 Love List Brand Affinity Index. The Love List Brand Affinity Index created by Condé Nast, in partnership with Goldman Sachs researches the shopping habits and brand preferences of Millennials and Generation Z consumers. When it came to lingerie, Victoria’s Secret beat out other prominent brands on the list. However, a few months later, a controversial Vogue interview lead to significant criticism of the brand.

In November 2018, in advance of the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show, the lingerie retailer’s CMO Ed Razek, the Chief Marketing Officer of L Brands’ (Victoria Secret’s Parent Company) made controversial statements in an interview with Vogue Magazine. Razek stated plus-sized and trans women had no place in Victoria’s Secret show. Razek’s comments created a firestorm in the media and cost them viewers. The ratings for the 2018 Victoria Secret show were down significantly. In fact, despite an array of musical guests, the 2018 show was the worst ratings in its broadcast history. Does last year ’s poor viewings at the VS fashion show signal a shift in the lingerie segment?

Women still love lingerie, but they want to feel embraced and empowered by the brands they wear, so modern retailers like Victoria Secret need to a better job of listening to their consumers.

What Women Want

Women, particularly Millennial and Generation Z female shoppers value brands that are smart and reflective of their values. Research by Condé Nast found that “brands consumers trust, believe in and relate to have a significant amount of influence in purchase motivation.” When it comes to lingerie, women want items that make them feel sexy, feminine and empowered. Take a look at the rising popularity of superstar Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Line. The inclusive lingerie line featured plus size, and even pregnant models on the runway at its most recent show. The Savage X Fenty show made headlines when the queer model, Slick Woods rocked pasties, heels and a strappy teddy on the runway. Later that same day after the show Woods gave birth – talk about empowering attire! Interestingly, Rihanna’s Savage Fenty line was ranked as the number one emerging brand. Emerging brands are defined as the hottest new brands (brands consumers weren’t purchasing a year before, but have now caught their attention).

Brands that make a difference

Here is a look at some other emerging lingerie brands that can be worn by women of all sizes, shapes, and orientations:


Knix is a brand focus on offer comfortable underwear that serves the needs of women of various lifestages; Through comfort, confidence and performance, their sports bra have high stretch fabrics that match women moves and molds to  the woman’s shape. They also offer leak-proof, pee-proof underwear designed to handle leaks – whether during pregnancy, your period, or any other time.



Trans and nonbinary people have unique challenges when shopping for lingerie. Often lingerie designs are inaccessible to non binary or trans people, so the brand makes cute gender neutral underwear for people of all genders and orientations.

Curvy K

Finding cute lingerie can be a challenge for women with larger busts, so curvy K helps women of all sizes.


This well-known brand went through a brand refresh recently and now features real models in unretouched photos.

From Fenty Savage to Curvy K, lingerie brands are revolutionizing the fashion industry to make lingerie sexier, by being inclusive and empowering.

Read more about the way that lingerie is transforming the fashion world:

Why Lingerie is the New Outerwear