Aerie is the most underrated part of our personal support group. Whether Aerie’s literally supporting our boobs or launching an unretouched fashion campaign, Aerie’s working a double shift to boost our self-love. In the last year alone Aerie has inaugurated powerful role models like Yara Shahidi and Aly Raisman in their #AerieReal campaign. However, Aerie is using its body positive (and overall, positively positive) mission to address a critical issue in the fashion and beauty industry: the erasure of disabled models. After Aerie announced its lineup of over 50 inclusive models, there are a few models you should follow on Instagram (in case you’re too busy to follow all of these women).
As ELLE notes, the 57 women who’ve recently joined Aerie’s #AerieReal campaign are nonmodels, which makes this decision even more significant
Beyond the fact that these women aren’t professional models, Aerie celebrates their disabilities and bodies in a beautifully realistic way that doesn’t exploit their disabilities for inspiration porn. White ASOS debuted a wheelchair-friendly tracksuit, apparel for people who use mobility aids are virtually nonexistent in the world of fashion. However, creating a campaign that celebrates disabled models can help push the industry to create inclusive fashion—and following these models can help bolster this necessecary change.
Gaylyn Henderson is a model who has an ostomy, who uses her social media platform to empower people to get an ostomy. Honestly, her handle says it all: gutlessandglamorous. And we’re gutted that Gaylyn is continuing to work with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation to eradicate the stigma against inflammatory conditions and ostomies.
Evelyn Robin Ann is a model who has type 1 diabetes and has already gained a fan following on Aerie’s website because customers are positively ecstatic that they have the same insulin pump as her.
Such a surreal experience going to the #aerie store today!!
I know this campaign is going to touch so many people! Thank you to @aerie for having your customers look around the store and see themselves represented ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀#dontchangeyouchangeyourbra pic.twitter.com/vMYSgSgCL6
— Evelyn Robin Ann (@evie_ann_) August 6, 2018
If these reviews on Evelyn’s debut Aerie modeling work don’t show you that representation, beyond simple inclusivity, can effectively inspire others, then we don’t know what will.
Abby Sams is a model who has an invisible, chronic illness and her involvement in the Aerie campaign is critical. By including Abby’s wheelchair in her photos, this helped abolish the problematic stigma that invisible disabilities are always invisible—and it gives a platform to people with invisible disabilities, who are often erased from the industry.
Can I plaster this photo everywhere please?? I love my @aerie sisters so dang much. These pics remind me of one of the most fun days I've ever had. There is beauty in diversity. I've gained a lot of followers and I'm both excited and scared to continue being real with yall. This page is about my life and it's not a perfect one. There are struggles and celebrations that I share and talk about. I'm here to raise awareness and be seen. Dont change you. Change your bra! I hope yall stick around. . Image description: abby, cat, syvone, and evan in Aeries real power bra collection. They're all flexing their arms.
Apart from these three women who are making a positive change in the fashion industry, there are a ton of other follow-worthy new models in the #AerieReal campaign. Because many of these 57 new Aerie models weren’t professional models before they applied, Aerie has extended the hashtag so any social media user can highlight, love and appreciate their own real selves.