If I could stand up and Top Gun high-five a brand right now, it would definitely be Aerie and its new Aerie Real campaign.
The sister brand of American Eagle markets bras, panties and sleepwear to girls 15-21—girls in high school and college who are notoriously bombarded with the message "You need to be hot." Lest you think I exaggerate, surf Tumblr or the hashtag #thinspiration on Instagram, and you'll see what I mean.
Aerie's new ads are unretouched. The girls you see in the ads are what they look like in real life, which is, sadly, groundbreaking. The models are wearing makeup, they look healthy, the poses are flattering, and the lighting is perfect. But theres's been no Photoshop-surgery removal of skin folds or digital slimming of thighs and stomachs. The copy on the print ads declares, "The girl in this photo has not been retouched. The real you is sexy."
"But these particular girls don't need retouching," you say. And I would agree that the girls are probably pretty close to flawless in real life. But in a world where Photoshop morphs already super hot models into super hot models with thigh gap and flawless skin and inhuman proportions (Google Victoria's Secret Photoshop Fails for glorious examples), this is a step in the right direction.
The changes to the Aerie website might be my favorite part. When shopping for a bra, most websites let you shop by size, but whether or not you click 32AA or 40DD, you're still looking at the same model sporting the "ideal" 36C breast size. When you surf on the Aerie site, clicking on a 32AA bra size will show you a model wearing a 32AA sized bra on her 32AA sized breasts. Same for 40DD. And the models are all smiling.
I love that this is what 15-year-old girls will see when they go bra shopping. It's such a stark contrast to Victoria's Secret's Pink line (marketed to the same crowd), which features models that are so Photoshopped they kind of look like really glowy superhumans.
Nice work, Aerie. I hope other brands follow suit. I love seeing this for the high school/college crowd, but I'd be ecstatic if this trend worked its way up to brands that serve older demographics as well.
More images below. Via The Huffington Post.