The first model with Down syndrome to ever do a Victoria’s Secret photo has made history.
Model and activist Sofia Jirau, 25, of Puerto Rico, has revealed that she will be a part of the advertising for the American lingerie company’s brand-new Love Cloud line of cozy everyday underwear.
When she made her runway debut at New York Fashion Week in February 2020, she caught the attention of the fashion world, and throughout the epidemic, her career has been gaining steam.
Sofia, who established her own company, Alavett, claimed that modeling for Victoria’s Secret was a “dream come true,” although internet users acknowledged that they had “mixed feelings” about the campaign and expressed worry about se*xualizing a person with Down syndrome.
The Love Cloud is a new campaign for the lingerie brand, which has been attempting to regain credibility with a number of initiatives, including its first mastectomy bra, racially diverse models marketing underwear in different skin tones, and employing transgender beauty Valentina Sampaio after being criticized for its lack of diversity.
In addition to declining sales, shop closures, and the cancellation of its high-profile catwalk presentation in recent years, TV actress Jameela Jamil once called it a “transphobic, overweight phobic company that sets out to exclude most women.”
Sofia said: “One day I dreamed of it, I worked on it, and today it is a dream come true.” Sofia revealed the announcement of her campaign on Instagram. I can finally share my major Secret with you… I am the first Down syndrome-affected Victoria’s Secret model.
She said, “Thanks to all of you for always supporting me in my initiatives,” while posting a black and white photo of herself wearing the brand’s bra. I’m grateful that @victoriassecret recognized me as a #NoLimits model and chose to include me in the Love Cloud Collection inclusivity campaign. It has formed now, but this is just the beginning.
She quoted her own company, whose name is an English translation of the phrase “I love it,” saying, “Inside and out, there are no bounds, Alavett.”
Sofia, who has 167,000 followers, uploaded a black-and-white picture of herself wearing a flowery balcony bra from the company.
Her Sin Lmites campaign, part of her No Limits initiative, aims to increase public understanding of Down’s Syndrome.
2019 saw the opening of Alavett’s online store by the model, who is also a designer.
She drew worldwide attention when she made her catwalk debut at New York Fashion Week in February 2020.
As one of the few models with Down syndrome who was able to take part in the significant fashion event, she declared at the time: “I am proud.”
“Modeling in the States was the beginning of realizing the desire I have had from a young age—to walk the most prestigious runways in the world.”
She expressed her hope that other Down syndrome sufferers will be motivated by her decision to achieve their goals.
JLo is her idol, and Sofia said she’d love to meet her someday.
As the next stage in its rebranding after a challenging period, Victoria’s Secret debuted its Love Cloud line on Monday.
18 women are pictured wearing the brand’s collection of casual, comfortable bras.
Some of them, like Hayley Bieber and Taylor Hill, are models who work professionally, but the campaign also includes strong women to drive home the point that the brand is approachable to all.
Sylvia Buckler, an accessories designer who models the bra while cradling her growing belly, and Celilo Miles, a Nez Perce Tribe-Wildland firefighter, are featured in the inclusive campaign.
Celilo claimed she still finds it hard to believe she was chosen for the campaign in an interview with Vogue.
“I used to enjoy watching Victoria’s Secret fashion show and wished I could perform there.
“Everyone wanted to join that group, but you knew you belonged somewhere else, she added.
She continued by saying that when she first started modeling, she attempted to slim down in order to fit into a size she could not maintain because she thought it was the right thing to do.
Additionally, the advertisement includes plus-size models like Paloma Elsesser and Devyn Garcia.
The first collection under the leadership of Victoria’s Secret’s new creative director Ral Martinez, who has been hard at work reimagining how the company presents itself to women, has been recognized by Vogue.
How Victoria’s Secret Went From Being A Once-Dominant Global Phenomenon And The Lingerie Of Choice For The Top Stars In The World To A Company Fighting For Survival
When he couldn’t discover any woman’s clothing stores that appealed to guys, American businessman Roy Raymond founded Victoria’s Secret in 1977.
For $1 million, or a tiny fraction of its present worth, he sold the business to clothes tycoon Les Wexner in 1982. Later on, Raymond killed himself by leaping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
In order to hint at what was concealed beneath the clothes, he added Secret to the name Victoria, which he chose because he thought it sounded elegant and was modeled after Queen Victoria.
Eventually, hundreds of locations popped up all over the country, but it was the glam debut of Victoria’s Secret’s first overtly provocative catwalk show at the Plaza Hotel in New York in 1995 that really cemented the brand’s success.
Millions of viewers tuned in to watch supermodels Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, and Karen Mulder, among others, dressed simply for a network television broadcast that reached 185 countries.
Although Ed Sheeran was the star of Victoria’s Secret’s first catwalk show in 2014, the company’s subsequent years have been more difficult. In 2012, the company established its first flagship store on London’s Bond Street.
Since the fourth quarter of 2016, the lingerie retailer’s sales have decreased every quarter, with the exception of a slight increase in the first quarter of 2018.
Due to weak annual sales, Victoria’s Secret closed 20 shops in 2018, and the year came to an end with Jan Singer’s resignation as CEO in November.
In November 2019, the parent company of the lingerie juggernaut, L Brands, declared that the renowned show would not go on. According to Fortune at the time, the choice was a component of a plan to “transform [the company’s] narrative.”
Following Ed Razek’s declaration that the company will not use plus-size or “transe*xual” models because the program is a “dream,” the announcement was made a year earlier.
More than 100 Victoria’s Secret models signed an open letter to the firm’s CEO in 2020 urging him to address the “culture of misogyny and abuse” within the company.
Christy Turlington Burns, Iskra Lawrence, Edie Campbell, Amber Valletta, and Felicity Hayward signed the letter asking John Mehas to stop what they called an “entrenched culture of misogyny” at the lingerie retailer.
Consumers were shifting away from the glamour and toward comfort, and Victoria’s Secret was experiencing a tremendous backlash after it was revealed that Wexner had a long-standing association with convicted financier Jeffery Epstein.
Along with a change in how people perceived the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, the company also experienced a persistent fall in revenue.
The company adopted a novel strategy last year, featuring models from various ethnic origins and promoting neutral underwear in a range of skin tones while also experimenting with size diversity in its Instagram posts.
Some lingerie lovers, however, disagreed and accused the brand of “playing catch-up,” saying the company’s efforts to finally diversify were “too little, too late.”
After being affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, parent company L Brands announced in May 2020 the closure of 250 locations in the US and Canada.
Nearly a fourth of North America’s 1,091 Victoria’s Secret outlets were closed as a result.