London - Fashion insiders say lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret may lose some of its most famous models after being named in a Greenpeace investigation for using toxic chemicals.
The company, which has just opened a vast flagship branch in London, was included in the report, called Toxic Threads: The Big Fashion Stitch Up, as one of 20 lingerie brands where chemical residue was found in its clothing.
Victoria’s Secret is famous for using supermodel “angels” in a televised catwalk show every year. The most recent in New York earlier this month featured Miranda Kerr, Gisele and singer Rihanna. British star Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has also been an angel.
Kerr considers herself an “eco-warrior” while Huntington-Whiteley advocates the use of organic products.
Sources say the news has ruffled Kerr, 29, who owns organic skincare brand Kora Organics. Rumours in the fashion industry suggest that she may turn her back on the company should it ignore Greenpeace’s campaign which calls for an end to the use of toxic chemicals in the production of lingerie.
Chemicals were removed from Victoria’s Secret range of beauty products in 2003, but they are still used to make lingerie. According to an earlier report from Greenpeace, their use pollutes the environment through the water where the clothes are made, and is also said to be carcinogenic when it comes into contact with skin.
Greenpeace spokesman Martin Hojsik said: “We found high levels of phthalates in the Victoria’s Secrets garments. If that product was a toy it would not be permitted in the EU. We need to replace these chemicals with safer substitutes.
“The textile industry is one of the biggest polluters and we are asking brands to remove these chemicals from their supply chain.”
In 2008 the company faced a number of lawsuits from women who claimed to suffer from severe rashes and scarring after wearing bras contaminated with formaldehyde.
A Victoria’s Secret spokesman said: “We are aware of the research but have yet to comment.” - Mail On Sunday