Looks like aerie is ready for its closeup -- its unretouched closeup.
aerie, American Eagle's sister store for lingerie, has launched aerie Real, a Spring 2014 ad campaign featuring all unairbrushed models. In a release on Friday, aerie announced that the ads are "challenging supermodel standards by featuring unretouched models in their latest collection of bras, undies and apparel."
Spotlighting models sans Photoshop is a powerful move that most fashion brands, not to mention fashion magazines, rarely make. (Notable exceptions, made all the more so due to their infrequency, include Marie Claire's 2010 cover with Jessica Simpson, Cate Blanchett on the cover of Intelligent Life in 2012 and Verily Magazine's total ban on all airbrushing.)
But aerie's decision to show its models in all their real, unretouched glory makes an even stronger statement because of who its customers are. The brand, founded in 2006, is aimed at the 15-21 year old demographic, meaning young women in high school and college. And it's widely held -- and proven by numerous studies and surveys -- that young women's sense of body confidence is so often influenced by the images of female beauty they see in media.
One ad campaign won't solve the complicated relationship between young women's self-esteems and images of women in media. But when a brand beloved by teen girls shows off its cute bras and undies on bodies with real rolls, lines and curves, it can certainly help.
Check out a few of the aerie Real photos, shot by photographer John Urbano, below.
It's rare but powerful: