Victoria’s Secret may be entering the metaverse, but it’s also making strides here in the “real” world. The intimates label announced that Sofia Jirau is the first Victoria’s Secret model with Down syndrome since the brand’s 1977 conception. Jirau is joining 17 other models for the brand’s latest Love Cloud collection campaign, an initiative that aims to redefine its inclusivity and diversity efforts.
One big step for Victoria — Announcing her new role via Instagram, the Puerto Rican native (and Victoria’s Secret’s second model from the island) expressed her gratitude for the opportunity and that “inside and out there are no limits.” This isn’t Jirau’s first time in front of an audience, either, as her modeling journey began in 2019. She made her New York Fashion Week debut in 2020 and currently has her own online store called Alavett, which is a phonetic play on her catchphrase “I love it.”
Once the most popular lingerie brand, Victoria’s Secret’s fall from grace in the past few years is largely due to its history of over-sexualized imagery, negatively exclusive sizing, and outdated representation of thin, non-diverse models on its runway. It caught backlash during the #MeToo movement, as well, with some models coming forward about the brand’s abusive culture.
A new age of angels — Straying from its wounded reputation, Victoria’s Secret’s Love Cloud campaign has enlisted the help of 18 trailblazing women, including trans model Valentina Sampiao, firefighter Celilo Miles, and Miriam Blanco, another model with a disability. Each woman represents a unique background, age, ability, and race as part of the brand’s “ongoing effort to develop products that champion and support all women,” Creative Director Raúl Martinez told Dispatch.
Other fashion giants like Alexander McQueen and Nike have included the disabled community in their campaigns, launches, and fashion shows, like model Aimee Mullins and Matthew Walzer, who inspired the hands-free Nike Go FlyEase sneaker. In the lingerie sector, brands like Savage x Fenty and CUUP have long since embraced the beauty of inclusion and diversity and they have the profit margins and popularity to show for it, making Victoria’s Secret’s relevance gap that much bigger.
It will be interesting to see whether Victoria’s Secret can regain the trust of its consumers, or if its glory days are truly in the past. All things considered, the Love Cloud campaign puts them back in our good graces — for now.