Aerie Proves That Body Positivity is Profitable
By Siena Roberts--Almost everyone has seen one of Aerie’s new ads. The #AerieReal campaign, launched last year, features unretouched models of all shapes and sizes. Not only has this body positive ad campaign encouraged girls to show their own authentic selves, it’s also sparked discussion among young people about the effects retouching and Photoshop have on young women.
#AerieReal had a hugely positive response from customers and their sales jumped by 20% in the last year. After this was announced, a huge question was: why? With many brand’s sales actually decreasing (such as Gap and J. Crew), what is Aerie doing differently?
The answer is simple, and it lies in their new advertisements. Women want to see women who look like them in media. As of right now, not many other major clothing brands are featuring different-sized models. Clothing brands mainly use sample-size or plus-size models. The fact of the matter is, most brands don’t feature “in-between” sized models.
Not only is Aerie using sample-size and plus-size models, but they’re featuring the models who don’t fit into those two categories. The use of “in-between” models is unique, and is what many people feel is representative of a “normal” woman. The centering of women of all shapes and sizes is something we’ve wanted to see for a while, and Aerie delivered.
When the brand first revealed the campaign, many women vowed to only buy lingerie from Aerie to support the movement. Before the #AerieReal campaign was launched, Aerie was a relatively small brand. The use of unretouched models of varying sizes brought the brand into the media spotlight, and helped them to gain the support of young women everywhere.
So what can other brands learn from Aerie’s success? They should realize that selling us clothes using models who fit narrow standards of beauty and represent a small segment of the population is an outdated approach. Using women of all shapes and sizes is a more modern—and clearly successful—way to sell your clothing or lingerie. We want to be represented in the media.
We want to see ourselves in your advertisements and not feel ashamed of our bodies after flipping through a catalogue. Aerie has given women the representation that we’ve asked for year after year. So other brands take note of Aerie’s success. Maybe it’s time for a change in the way we advertise clothes.
Full disclosure: The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) receives funding from Aerie. All opinions expressed by the author are her own and were not influenced by NEDA's partnership with Aerie.
About the blogger: Siena is a 17-year-old high school senior. She’s planning on majoring in public health in college. She loves to run, and is currently training for a half marathon. She’s involved in many philanthropic clubs at her school, such as food pantry club, and is the student body secretary-treasurer. She’s struggled with anorexia since her freshman year, and is passionate about bringing awareness to eating disorders.
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Top image courtesy of Aerie