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ThirdLove Responds to That Inflammatory Victoria's Secret Interview

Photo: ThirdLove

ICYMI, Victoria's Secret is in hot water this month following commentary from the brand's chief marketing officer Ed Razek, the creator of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, in his now-infamous interview with Vogue.

Not only did Razek objectify women and offend plus-size and transgender people while speaking with the magazine, but he also directly called out startup lingerie brand ThirdLove. ThirdLove offers a huge supply of sizes and colors of bras for women with various skin tones and body types — seems like a no-brainer, right? (Related: Victoria's Secret Is Under Fire for Discriminating Comments and Celebs Are Not Having It)

"We're nobody's third love," Razek said to Vogue. "We're their first love."

As a result, ThirdLove's co-founder Heidi Zak is responding to Razek's distasteful words about women in an open letter to Victoria's Secret, which ran in today's New York Times as a full-page ad.

"I was appalled when I saw the demeaning comments about women your Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek, made to Vogue last week," she begins her message, pulling out specific excerpts from Razek's interview that were particularly damning.

"I've read and re-read the interview at least 20 times, and each time I read it I'm even angrier," says Zak. "How in 2018 can the CMO of any public company—let alone one that claims to be for women—make such shocking, derogatory statements?"

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

"Your show may be a 'fantasy' but we live in reality," she adds. "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."

Zak goes on to school Razek about the real definition of inclusivity, as ThirdLove serves all women. "Haven't we moved beyond outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles? It's time to stop telling women what makes them sexy — let us decide," she says. "We're done with pretending certain sizes don't exist or aren't important enough to serve. And please stop insisting that inclusivity is a trend." (Related: #IamPerfect Backlash Is Perfect Answer to Victoria's Secret "Perfect Body" Campaign)

The co-founder of the upstart brand then explains her reasoning for launching the company in the first place, which was essentially out of necessity. "I founded ThirdLove five years ago because it was time to create a better option," Zak says. "ThirdLove is 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."

Let's listen to women. Let's respect their intelligence. Let's exceed their expectations. Let women define themselves."

Directly identifying Razek's jab at her brand, Zak serves one better. "As you said, Ed, 'We're nobody's ThirdLove, we're their first love.' We are flattered for the mention, but let me be clear: we may not have been a woman's first love but we will be her last." (Related: Regular Women Recreated the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and We're Obsessed)

Zak concludes her moving message by letting all women, regardless of their size or color, know that they are worthy. "To all women everywhere, we see you, and we hear you," she says. "Your reality is enough. To each, her own."

This story originally appeared on InStyle.com by Alicia Brunker.