Aerie Launches Unretouched Photo Campaign


Aerie, the American Eagle sister store and lingerie retailer recently launched their Spring 2014 ad campaign. In an attempt to "challenge supermodel standards," the campaign, called Aerie Real, features unretouched photos of models. Aerie elected to leave in everything from tattoos to scars and what the fashion industry may deem to be "unflattering" rolls and curves. The images  show a realistic version of how their clothes fit on their customers. The images, shot by John Urbano, show happy, healthy and diverse body types. 

While we live in a world where anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents, changes in advertisements and how we view body image can have a lasting effect on how we treat our bodies. I can't help but wonder if the great work that Aerie has done with these photos will last beyond this season. Will they broaden their pool of models to show us even more diverse body types? How will this affect other brands and their stands on the issue of wider media representation?

According to a Westminster College research article "Body image becomes a major issue as females go through puberty; girls in midadolescence frequently report being dissatisfied with weight, fearing further weight gain, and being preoccupied with weight loss (Striegel-Moore & Franko, 2002). Field et al. (1999) found that 20% of 9-year-olds and over 40 % of 14-year-olds reported wanting to lose weight."

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique. Can the images developed by one company change the way that we've viewed our bodies for years? Is the damage already done?

Hopefully, these images will show women of all ages that their bodies are unique and beautiful and brands will continue to challenge the notion that only thin bodies are something to aspire to. We have a long way to go before being healthy, rather than being skinny is celebrated and promoted, until then brands like Aerie will begin to make a difference. 

Aerie has taken the movement one step further by extending it to social media. Followers of the brand can post photos of themselves on Instagram and Twitter using the hastag #aeriereal for a chance to be featured in the Aerie Style Gallery.

What do you think about this campaign? Do you think the movement will thrive beyond this season? Leave your thoughts in the comments!


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