Rock the Blue and White, Rock the... PINK?
Soon, Hampton University’s bookstore will have more than Steve & Barry’s to compete with in selling HU apparel. HU will be included in the second phase of Victoria’s Secret’s PINK Collegiate Collection which will debut in mid-December.
VS PINK is a sub-brand of Victoria’s Secret that debuted in 2004. Victoria’s Secret describes PINK as “a fully articulated lifestyle collection for young women.” It features loungewear, sleepwear, intimate apparel and accessories. PINK’s mascot and logo, a silhouetted pink dog, appears on some of the collection.
In June 2008, Victoria’s Secret partnered with The Collegiate Licensing Company to launch the PINK Collegiate Collection. It featured fashion apparel with the names and logos of over 30 universities as well as PINK brand iconography. However, none of the schools were Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Victoria’s Secret later explained that the initial universities were chosen based on regional appeal and large student and alumni populations. According to PINK COO Richard A. Dent III, a graduate of Florida A&M University, it was always Victoria’s Secret’s intention to eventually include HBCUs. The first five HBCUs to join the line-up will be Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Howard University, North Carolina A&T State, and Southern University.
According to blackenterprise.com, many female HBCU students, including Howard University sophomore Amelia Reid, were disappointed by the fact that the initial collegiate line did not include HBCUs. Reid, a loyal PINK fan, expressed her displeasure in an email to Victoria’s Secret. She received a response, but she felt that it was “sugar-coated and dismissive.”
In early July, Reid created the “HBCU Ladies Wear Victoria’s Secret Pink Too” group on Facebook. Reid encouraged members to write to the company and complain. By the end of the month, 400 members had joined.
Dent reached out to Reid through the Facebook group. He explained that there were plans in the works to “broaden the collection to include a diverse and significant group of schools.”
Reid responded by saying that she will not purchase PINK until she sees these plans enacted.
HU senior Aritza Evans had similar feelings for the omission of HBCUs, but was not surprised by the decision. “I was in the store looking at the board with the names of the schools, and I was mad; but you kinda expect stuff like that,” she said.
HU sophomore Erica Jones is happy with Victoria’s Secret’s decision to include more schools in the line. “I’m glad they heard people’s complaints and requests and changed their minds,” she said. Jones does not currently wear PINK, but plans to purchase the new HU gear when it debuts in December.
Hamptonian women will soon be able to walk around campus in HU PINK fleece plants, hoodies, tees and totes. “A lot of HBCU students buy PINK anyway, so now that they represent our schools, people will buy more,” said Evans.
Victoria’s Secret PINK plans to promote the addition to the line at the homecoming events of the five schools.
The HU PINK products will be available in December to purchase from local Victoria’s Secret stores, online (www.victoriassecret.com/pink), and in the catalogue as well as the VS PINK mailer.