Those of you who frequent our blog regularly will know that in past pieces I have touched upon issues surrounding the under representation of disabled people both from across the fashion industry and the media as a whole. So, you can imagine my delight when I came across lingerie brand Aerie’s Aerie Real campaign, in which not only did they vow not to airbrush or retouch their models, they also embraced models with disabilities. Hurray!
Originally launched four years ago, Aerie, owned by American Eagle Outfitters, has continued its campaign with its newest collection of lingerie models featuring 57 women of various ages, ethnicities and body shapes, including twenty year old Abby, who is a wheelchair user. Speaking via social media Abby explained how Aerie also featured a young woman with Downs Syndrome, a Paralympian and women with a variety of conditions such as Vitiligo and Type 1 Diabetes, in their commitment to celebrate diversity.
It was while researching about Aerie and the campaign that I came across a particularly powerful and heartwarming statement put forward by the American apparel company, and it is one that I believe all brands should heed. It read: “Aerie is committed to making all girls feel good about themselves, inside and out…”
And I can honestly say that it was right there and then that my heart really began to sing.
Not only does the campaign serve to alter perceptions of ‘beauty’ by challenging supermodel standards, it also gives power to its lingerie models to show that beauty should not and does not conform to standards that are a prerequisite used to deem whether or not someone is beautiful.
It also strikes me that Aerie’s campaign is constructed differently to conventional PR campaigns implemented by brands and advertisers. Similar campaigns have often championed disability and diversity for a period of time, before fizzling out to become nothing more than a great example of the way that things could and most definitely should be. I think it’s clear that the Aerie Real campaign doesn’t intend on becoming just another fad, there’s a real commitment there (their words, not mine) to embracing and championing change.
Speaking in an article for Irish News recently, Jennifer Foyle Aerie’s global brand president commented:“As a brand, Aerie has been a leader in empowering women and celebrating inclusivity and body positivity since our launch of Aerie Real in 2014.
“Our newest bra models are part of our brand’s ongoing commitment to show real, authentic and un-retouched women, who are at the core of everything that we do.
I honestly believe that if the fashion industry were to embrace more models that are true to life it would serve to be incredibly rewarding – not just for consumers – but for brands too.
I, like many others, have so much respect for Aerie’s Aerie Real campaign, the lingerie models and all that it stands to achieve, for it isn’t afraid to show that we’re all unique in our own way. What could possibly be more beautiful than that?
If you would like to support the Aerie Real campaign, you can join in using the hashtag #AerieReal. Or if you’d like to join in the conversation with us, leave a comment for us below.