More than 200 models wearing lingerie descended onto Times Square to produce their version of a diverse Lingerie catwalk show. The show which is the brainchild of model Khrystyana Kazakova, a former America’s Next Top Model contestant and body-positive activist, created the “Real Catwalk” to challenge industry standards which have dominated runways for decades..
Khrystyana said, “At the core, the Real Catwalk is the journey of self-love and confidence. I want the person who felt not good enough or not pretty enough — to feel the opposite. That they are enough and that they are beautiful, Everybody deserves to be celebrated.”
“I know that people may feel discouraged about their beauty after watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, so I wanted to create a balance of seeing sexy, bold, fantastic individuals that look more like them,” says Kazakova, 33, who invited models of all ages, genders, races and sizes to join her in New York City for the fashion show. If anyone felt like they couldn’t be on the runway, this is the runway for them.”
The “Real Catwalk” is a powerful protest against brands such as Victoria’s Secret who came under fire recently for their comments about the lack of diversity in their shows .
In an interview with Vogue Magazine, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands (the American retailer formerly known as the Limited, which owns Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works), dismissed the notion of having a more diverse and inclusive show, he said,
“So it’s like, why don’t you do 50 [referring to bra sizing]? Why don’t you do 60? Why don’t you do 24? It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show?” Razek said. “No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.
“It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us.”
The Victoria’s Secret show is broadcast in the U.S. every year and usually consists of glamorous sequinned, jewell clad models, adorned in elaborate fantasy lingerie pieces, walking the catwalk. It is an entertainment spectacular. For the models who take part it is their dream to be a Victoria Secrets Model and normally catapults them into international stardom.
So is this show outdated and archaic, in an era that embraces diversity?
We certainly think so.
The backlash to Mr Razek's comments were harsh very real and he quickly got woke to the idea of the society we now live in which is diverse and inclusive, and any such fantasy he believes his brand portrays is now outdated.
The reason why we established Olyinka Lingerie was to change the industry standard of over sexualisation of women in the lingerie industry, but it seems like the Victoria’s Secret brand have not caught up, and still continues to embrace the old industry standard.
Fortunately, our current society is ready to challenge brands like Victoria’s Secret, forcing them to rethink their old ideologies.
So will Victoria’s Secret continue to operate under the old divisive standards or evolve to be more inclusive?
We will have to wait and see, but it takes a few influential women, like Khrystyana Kazakova to call them out and pressure them to change.
Check out more images from the real catwalk show on Khrystyana Instagram page here