Back in November, when Ed Razek, chief marketing officer for Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands, gave a disastrous interview to Vogue, saying that he is disinterested in diversifying the company’s customer base because they don’t “sell to everyone,” he also slipped in a dig at rival ThirdLove.
“We’re nobody’s third love,” he said. “We’re their first love. And Victoria’s Secret has been women’s first love from the beginning.”
That’s not entirely true, considering Victoria’s Secret’s branding was built from the ground up by a man who was specifically trying to cater to male fantasies of what women’s lingerie should look like. As women move to underwear and bras that actually fit them, competitors like the company ThirdLove or alternative architects of sexy lingerie like Rihanna are grabbing the clientele Victoria’s Secret has explicitly turned their back on.
Now, in a continual grasp for relevance as ratings for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show fall, customers stop returning to the store, and the company’s CEO abruptly resigned after Razek’s comments last year, the line is trying a new strategy: extreme pettiness. Women’s Wear Daily reports that Victoria’s Secret has filed for the trademark rights to the phrase “First Love.” The company is angling to use the “First Love” name on beauty products and lotions that I can only ever picture tween mall rats slathering on, as well as lingerie and clothing.
While WWD points out that the trademarks were actually filed just a few weeks before Razek’s Vogue interview, it’s not hard to interpret the trademark and Razek’s “third love” comment as a direct dig at their rising competitor. The Fashion Law also reports that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has already pushed back on the trademark filing because another clothing brand possesses the same name.
I’d say that the way for Victoria’s Secret to turn the brand around is to actually listen to women and not, you know, supermodels, but, as the people who work for the company have already made clear, they’re not interested.