Is bringing something new to the modeling industry. Opening their stores in 2006, Aerie was known for their intimates, swimwear, and activewear. Aerie took a bold move though in 2014, and started promoting women without the use of photoshop and retouching (Marsh par. 1). With their newest campaign, #AerieREAL, released in spring of 2014, they are encouraging women to be confident, be brave, and embrace their imperfections. Aerie is featuring all women, not just typical supermodels. They are not looking for a certain skin color, body shape, or size.
They are looking for all women, mostly ages 15 to 25, to represent their brand (Young). By not using photoshop, Aerie wants women to be able to express themselves as they wish in their body image campaign.
Aerie is now not only featuring untouched women of different colors, shapes, and sizes, but is now also featuring those with disabilities, illnesses, and blemishes. The ad that Aerie features is three women, one in a wheelchair, one with down syndrome, and one with braces on her arms.
Looking at the picture, you first notice the women with disabilities being featured in the ad. They are happy and smiling despite their disabilities. The women are inspiring to women of all ages, showing how confident they are. The ad is targeting all women from ages around 15-25. The ad is inspiring to look at. #AerieREAL features women with tattoos, scars, and beauty marks. They are all typical yet unique women. When seeing ads for the campaign it shows all women that it does not matter what you look like to accomplish what you want to (Marsh).
Even women with disabilities and illnesses are getting the opportunity to be models without the aggressive and biased opinions in the fashion and modeling industry.
“Now, more than ever, we want to encourage women everywhere to feel empowered to embrace their own unique qualities and beautiful real selves,” Jennifer Foyle, Aerie Global Brand President, has said (Marsh par. 4). Pathos is vividly present in the ad. The featured women were able to accomplish huge things in the fashion industry despite their disabilities and illnesses. Aerie is giving the astonishing opportunity to average women regardless of looks, size, or color. Four years ago, the Aerie campaign, Be You, came to light. Although it is just recently been getting a lot of publicity, the company has been encouraging body positivity since 2014. In addition to Aerie’s body positivity campaign, they are a huge advocate for the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). Aerie is the NEDA’s leading sponsor to raise money for educational programs and spread awareness about eating disorders. In January of 2017, 28 year old, Iskra Lawrence, plus size model in the UK and body positivity activist, was announced Aerie’s first Role Model for their campaign #AerieREAL (Marsh Par. 2).
Iskra would be a campaign leader for the brand and appear in stores around the country to share her fitness and lifestyle tips to help spread the message of self-love. Iskra, who is an ambassador with the National Eating Disorder Association, has been working with Aerie since 2014, and has been hugely influential within the body positivity movement and beyond. In January of 2018, Aerie announced that three more influential women have joined #AerieREAL as role models. Actress and activist Yara Shahidi, Olympic gymnast and sexual abuse survivor, Aly Raisman, and singer/songwriter Rachel Platten are working with Aerie to help spread messages of female empowerment and self love (Marsh Par. 3). “I’m so proud to be in this campaign and to be able to pose in bra and underwear and in swimwear because I want to and I’m in control — I can do whatever I want,” Raisman told PEOPLE (Fecteau). The girls are extremely excited to start something new in the industry and be women for girls to look up to. “I couldn’t be more excited for the #AerieREAL Role Model community to grow because we need voices,” says Iskra. “We need diversity. I want every girl to feel like she has someone to look up to.”
The ad creates a story of self acceptance, bravery, and the support of women everywhere. The audience is women of all colors, shapes, and sizes. The audience wants to see featured women that look like themselves, not the look of unrealistic super models. Abby Sams, who is seen wearing a grey lace bralette in her wheelchair, was eager to tell her followers on Instagram about the influence that Aerie is reflecting upon the fashion and modeling industry (Fecteau Par.4). “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,” she captioned her Instagram post. “Being a model in a wheelchair for a major company [Aerie] 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. Sams, 20, also told Health: “So many people are so excited that a major company is really going deep into representing diversity in all communities,” she says.
“[People were] so happy to finally see someone like them in the media, totally unretouched and happy” (Fecteau Par.5). #AerieREAL is spreading like wildfire on social media. Twitter has been one of the most popular social media websites that the hashtag has been seen on. Pictures of women who have disabilities, chronic illnesses, scars, stretch marks and are cancer survivors have been seen featured in Aerie’s advertisements. One woman is seen using crutches, while another posed in her wheelchair. Women who use insulin pumps and colostomy bags are also featured. Aerie is targeting all women, all over the world (Fecteau Par. 6). They are telling a story through their advertisements encouraging women to be themselves, and be comfortable and confident in their own bodies.