Thanks to digital alterations (we're looking at you, Photoshop), we live in a world where unrealistic, unattainable beauty has become the norm. So, something as simple as placing unretouched normal women on a major national campaign can literally rock headlines—which is exactly what happened when aerie rolled out its new "Real" ad campaign, declaring "The Real You is Sexy" and featuring women of all shapes and sizes looking confident and comfortable in the brand's new spring collection.
"It shouldn't be this groundbreaking, but it really is, especially by such a big company to take on such a big position," aerie Style and Fit Expert Jenny Altman tells InStyle.com. "The response has been overwhelmingly positive, even beyond what we've anticipated—the #aerieReal comments on social media are so happy, so inspiring, it'll make you want to cry. You can see just how affected the girls are by this movement—and that's the best part of this campaign."
The concept was inspired by the brand's customers (based on feedback from social media, fitting rooms and more) and aims to inspire them back. "We're hoping girls can see themselves in the campaign, become more confident and embrace their beauty," Altman says. It doesn't stop at the campaign either. The newly launched online bra guide was shot with real women (with cup sizes from 30A to 44DD), lessening the hardship of online bra shopping tenfold.
So will future aerie and American Eagle campaigns relay the same message? "(aerie Real) is not just a campaign; it'll be a core concept for the brand," affirms Rachel DiCarlo, Vice President of Public Relations for American Eagle and aerie.