Aerie's untouched photoshoot features models from different backgrounds and shows that everyone is beautiful in their own way. (Image via Business Insider)

Aerie’s #AerieREAL Campaign Is a Major Milestone for Representation in Fashion

The project confronts the industry’s hesitation to feature models with illnesses or disabilities.

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The project confronts the industry’s hesitation to feature models with illnesses or disabilities.

In 2014, Aerie announced the #AerieREAL campaign, which showcased the company’s dedication to using untouched, genuine photos of their models. Now, Aerie is taking their commitment to representing people who may not fit into society’s beauty mold to a whole new level. They are breaking down societal norms to show that all people are beautiful, no matter your skin color, size, background, disability or illness.

The photos appeared on their website without a big reveal, and now their inclusiveness has caught everyone’s attention. Abby Sams (@abby_sams), one of the models featured in the campaign in her wheelchair, took to Twitter to express her excitement about the new advertisement images. She wrote “@Aerie just sneakily released some of my photos! Look as this disability representation of people!!! Also look at me because I cant believe its actually me so yeah.”

Many other social media users praised the company for their representation of people from all walks of life. Twitter user EV MAC (@evquaymac) tweeted her excited response,“OH MY GOD!!! THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’VE EVER SEEN MYSELF REPRESENTED IN A MODEL!!!!”

Other Twitter users who related to the models praised Aerie for the beauty and pureness of the campaign.

Another supporter took to Twitter to convey her support for the new campaign, especially because like one of the models, she struggles with Type 1 diabetes. The user emphasizes that even though it isn’t the norm for some, wearing an insulin pump is normal for people with the illness.

The fashion industry is biased because it inaccurately represents women and men by only showing photos of what their bodies “should” look like. The images are so retouched that they don’t accurately portray the customers buying the products. Companies have created what has been normalized as “the perfect body,” and people become insecure when they don’t look like these photoshopped models.

Aerie recruited their 57 newest models on social media by asking users to explain why they would like to be featured in the #AerieREAL campaign, and the contest received the attention of about 2,000 women.

For Aerie, using women from all background to model their bras isn’t just for advertising purposes. The company is truly dedicated to helping women understand their true beauty and showing them that they can feel comfortable in Aerie products.

Jennifer Foyle, Aerie’s global brand president, said “As a brand, Aerie has been a leader in empowering women and celebrating inclusivity and body positivity since our launch of #AerieREAL in 2014. Our newest bra models are part of our brand’s ongoing commitment to show real, authentic and unretouched women, who are at the core of everything we do.”

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Alexis Rogers

Temple University
Journalism and Spanish

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