American Eagle’s sub-brand Aerie, that is already renowned for including a diverse range of models, have arguably released their most stand out campaign yet.
The lingerie, intimates and sleepwear collection, founded in 2006, has always strived for inclusivity showing models of different, skin tones and body types without heavy and misleading photoshop. Their website reads: "Girl power. Body positivity. No retouching."
This year, the latest #AerieREAL campaign includes models with a range of visible disabilities, scars, hair, illnesses and cancer survivors. One model poses in underwear revealing her vitiligo, another shows her colostomy bag while some are seen on crutches and in wheelchairs.
“Yara, Aly, Rachel, and Iskra truly embody AerieREAL and what it means to be strong, confident, and happy in your own skin,” Jennifer Foyle, Aerie Global Brand President told Business Wire. “At Aerie, we believe in authentic, real beauty and never airbrush our models. Now, more than ever, we want to encourage women everywhere to feel empowered to embrace their own unique qualities and beautiful REAL selves.”
The brand, that has been re-touch free since 2014 is receiving praise on social media for the campaign.
YES American Eagle/Aerie with this campaign that features women of different illnesses, conditions, and disabilities. The rest of y’all better catch up!!! pic.twitter.com/431SJSVND6
— claire (@bramflake) July 11, 2018
The new @Aerie campaign is just amazing. Real women in the spotlight! 🙌🏼💓
— Julie Elwood (@Julie_Elwood) July 15, 2018
As a woman with a lifelong physical disability, it brings me so much joy to see this campaign! Thank you @Aerie for show casing a beautiful group of woman who are extremely unrepresented in all forms of media https://t.co/J8UokiAky0 #AerieReal
— Stacy Albright Tumolo (@Starbright24) July 15, 2018
The 57 models hired for the Aerie Bras Make You Feel Real Good campaign were selected in an untraditional way. Aerie announced that it would be selecting models who sent them a video expressing why they should be represented by the brand. Almost 2000 people responded.
It is estimated that around 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental or physical disability. Which is why this campaign is long overdue. Not only are they representing real women, that aren’t solely supermodels, Aerie made sure it covered everyone and made them feel beautiful.
Many women grow up without seeing themselves represented. Hopefully, with this campaign, it will inspire other fashion brands to embrace this positive movement.
One of the models, Abby Sams, who is in a wheelchair was overjoyed to be part of the campaign recently posted on Instagram about it.
Time for something very big. Earlier this summer I was chosen to be an #AerieREAL model for their newest campaign and the other night they surprsied us all by releasing some of the products early. A wheelchair user is a model for a major company! I am PROUD to say I've done this. PROUD to be a part of it. PROUD to be a model representing a community of disabled and chronically ill people. PROUD to be comfortable in my own skin. As a Christian a lot of people have expressed to me their distaste with what I did here with Aerie, but I have something to say to that. God gave us this life, our bodies, and our struggles to glorify him. These photos are not risque, or provocative, or slutty. This campaign is the epitome of confidence and beauty in who you are as your true self. I have confidence in who I am in Christ even with my disability and my wheelchair, and that translates physically. Being a model in a wheelchair for a major company is kind of a big deal and I want to be transparent about it all. Confidence is hard to come by and even harder to master. Just when I thought I had it my disability and illnesses stripped it away. I was embarrassed to be seen in public with mobility aids, hated how everything looked while I was in my chair. Then God put his hand on my heart and reminded me that i am fearfully and wonderfully made in his image. He put me on this path of life to be the light I needed when I was struggling. To remind young disabled women that they're beautiful no matter what. Beautiful with mobility aids. Beautiful in a wheelchair. Beautiful with an invisible illness. Beautiful, not despite those things, but because of them. That is Aerie Real. . . Image description: Abby holding her hair up and smiling over her shoulder. Shes wearing a black lace bralette and sitting in her wheelchair.
Other models were just as ecstatic to share the news. Model Iskra Lawerence told Business Insider, “I couldn’t be more excited for the #AerieREAL Role Model community to grow because we need voices. We need diversity. I want every girl to feel like she has someone to look up to.”
— Jennifer Smith (@Mizz_j_smith) July 11, 2018
Additionally to women that are disabled and suffering from illness amongst the selected models are Paralympian gymnast Chelsea Werner and even a woman that is a sexual assault survivor.
The models are now fittingly referred to as the "role models" by Aerie and since the campaign undoubtedly went viral they have received all the kudos they deserve. Well done, American Eagle.
Cover Image Souce: AdWeek