Why doesn't Victoria's Secret sell men's underwear?

Underwear for everyone who can't do anything with push-ups

The models too thin and the push-ups too fat: the underwear label Victoria's Secret has lost touch with the zeitgeist. New labels like that of pop star Rihanna provide replacement.

Pointed overknees with checked string thongs. Knee-high socks with corsages. Sparkling necklaces for deep necklines. And shimmering cup bras with colorful angel wings. For 20 years, the American lingerie label Victoria’s Secret has been staging its lingerie with mega fashion shows, for which some models only eat liquid food for nine days and put chiefs' crowns on their heads. The hysterical good mood, the oiled long legs and the excitement surrounding the question of who will wear the "Fantasy Bra" have changed little over time.

On the other hand, in terms of audience ratings. A little over three million viewers watched the TV broadcast of the Victoria's Secret show on US broadcaster ABC that year in early December, fewer than ever since 2001. Boss Ed Razek in the US “Vogue” that they do not intend to show transgender models on the catwalk. “Because the show is a fantasy spectacle,” he said. A fantasy that still marginalizes a great many people. And therefore no longer works as a strategy in 2018.

The sales figures are falling, the shares of the parent company L Brands recorded a loss in value of almost 50 percent in July. The zeitgeist has changed, but Victoria's Secret has not. The image of women still looks like a man's fantasy and a standardized ideal of beauty; Metallic corsages with pink borders no longer really match the self-image of female millennials, who regard unshaven armpits as a feminist statement and who demand more versatility on catwalks and in campaigns. These six labels show how to properly address lingerie customers today: with models of all skin colors, age groups and dress sizes and with the right fits.

For small breasts: Aikyou

Where there is a lot, you need a lot of support. And where there is little, a lot of cushioning is needed. For decades, lingerie manufacturers have been selling their products with the promise of visually improving the female body. The message to women with small breasts was particularly clear. "Until recently, the underwear market only suggested that the small breast had to be enlarged, preferably with a 2.5-fold push-up," says Gabriele Meinl. Together with Bianca Renninger, she founded the Aikyou brand from Baden-Württemberg. Your message: There is no such thing as a fake breast. Just the wrong bra. So they want to celebrate small breasts as they are and develop collections that are specifically aimed at women with smaller bra sizes. "It's like with women with a large cup: there is simply not enough underwear on the market made for it," says Bianca Renner. Aikyou fills the niche with minimalist bustier tops, mostly black, and subtle mesh inserts, cut-outs and lace details that are intended to highlight small breasts without alienating them.

For purists: Moons & Junes


The fasteners rub, the straps pinch, the underwires cut in: Most bras are constructed with all sorts of aids, which are often more of a nuisance than good. Some young women therefore do without it altogether and document this development with hashtags such as #freethenipple and #nobra on social media. The Danish brand Moons & Junes offers another alternative and approaches lingerie design with a “no bullshit” philosophy: hangers, shaping cups, push-up pillows, bows or lace are simply left out. What remains are very simple bustiers and briefs made of light mesh materials, which, depending on the model, are reinforced with more fabric for larger sizes. The Danish Agnete Bjerre-Madsen founded Moons & Junes when she was just 20 years old and already had a customer in mind: herself, a former “push-up addict”, as she says. "I still remember two remarkable scars in the middle of my torso that had left chafing stirrups over the years." Bjerre-Madsen was annoyed not only by the pain, but by the way that shaping lingerie negatively affected her body image. "If a bra just adapts to your natural shape, you lose the feeling that it distorts your appearance," she says. Because there are many different body types, the young label is in constant contact with its customers on social media and listens to their opinions. Realized wishes for the latest collection: wider straps, softer elastic bands and an additional size.

For the right size: ThirdLove

ThirdLove from the USA offers over 74 bra sizes - that's twice as many as most of the competition can supply. But the start-up never looked to ready-made size charts, but rather to real women: New models are always tested on models, employees, friends and customers before they make it onto the market, a process that, for example, is used to introduce In between sizes that are not common anywhere else. ThirdLove's bestseller is the "24/7 T-Shirt Bra": a simple cup bra made of soft jersey material. And it shouldn't just fit different breast shapes: With the “The New Naked” collection, ThirdLove also offers a wide repertoire of nude designs, which promises matching skin-colored underwear for women of different skin colors.

For realists: Aerie

Aerie belongs to the American fashion group American Eagle and has existed since 2006. But it wasn't until 2014 that they dared to take an unusual step that was to determine the strategy for the future. Campaign photos were published unretouched for the first time, and the positive feedback and the resulting increase in sales motivated the brand bosses to position Aerie as an ambassador for the burgeoning “body positivity” movement. The #AerieReal campaign has gone one step further every time since then. In the advertising photos you can see women with scars, pigment spots, crutches, in wheelchairs or even a model with a visible colostomy bag, which indicates an artificial anus. The customers love it. After all, they are often asked to act as models in front of the camera.

For the period: Dear Kate

In recent years, a completely new category has established itself on the lingerie market: "period-proof underwear", ie panties that are worn during periods and are intended to catch liquids so that tampons or sanitary towels can be dispensed with. Dear Kate is one of the pioneers here. Former engineering student Julie Sygiel developed her idea for "menstrual underwear" while studying at the elite Brown University and founded her company in 2015. Far beyond menstruation, her brand recognizes that women have a need for underwear in different situations, which gives you a fresh, dry feeling - for example during pregnancy, incontinence or during sport. The three-layer, breathable material mix that is used for the briefs and is intended to prevent leakage is therefore also used in yoga pants and bodies.

For the brave: Savage x Fenty

In 2012 Rihanna sang at the Victoria's Secret show, in September 2018 she showed her self-designed underwear on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week. And did everything differently than her previous client: From the athlete to the heavily pregnant model Slick Woods, who gave birth to her baby shortly after the show, all possible body shapes were represented. Instead of swaying hips you saw sweaty, snake-like writhing bodies, the entire performance was more reminiscent of modern expressive dance than a fashion show for lingerie. But Rihanna not only likes it weird, but also extravagant: Her lingerie, which she designed with the Savage brand, is embroidered with abstract floral patterns or printed with tiger stripes, the briefs have jeans-like button fastenings and the corsages sometimes come without cups . Of course, everything should look fabulous on full and slim, on light and on darker types of women - this is what the versatile model casting in the online shop shows.