• The open letter in New York Times. (Twitter)
Lingerie brand ThirdLove took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to deliver the message.
Samuel Leighton-Dore

19 Nov 2018 - 2:52 PM  UPDATED 19 Nov 2018 - 2:52 PM

Lingerie brand ThirdLove has bought into growing controversy surrounding Victoria's Secret, taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times to express its disappointment in the iconic label's exclusionary beauty ideals.

In a long open letter, ThirdLove co-CEO Heidi Zak responded to comments made by Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands (the parent company of VS), and Monica Mitro, executive vice president of public relations at VS during a recent interview with Vogue.

In the interview, Razek made direct reference to ThirdLove, saying: 'We're nobody's Third Love, we're their first love." He went on to explain why the brand doesn't include plus-sized or transgender models.

“We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t,” Razek told Vogue. “It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy,” he added.

Zak, who founded ThirdLove in 2013, wasn't having a bar of it.

“I was appalled when I saw the demeaning comments about women your Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek, made to Vogue last week,” she wrote at the beginning of her letter, which is now being shared across social media.

“How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company — let alone one that claims to be for women — make such shocking, derogatory statements?

“You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women,” Zak added. “But at ThirdLove, we think beyond, as you said, a ‘42-minute entertainment special.'"

“Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country. Haven’t we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles?” the co-CEO asked.

“It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide.”

Zak then accused Victoria's Secret of “pretending certain sizes don’t exist,” adding that she was initially inspired to star ThirdLove to create a “better option” for women - or, as she put it, the “antithesis of Victoria’s Secret.”

“We believe the future is building a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This shouldn’t be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm,” she wrote.

"To all women everywhere, we see you, and we hear you. Your reality is enough."

While Victoria's Secret is still the top lingerie brand in the United States, the New York Times reports that the company is facing steady decline, with a 41 per cent drop in stock this year alone.

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