Reaping the rewards. After American Eagle’s intimates off-shoot Aerie vowed to stop Photoshopping their ad campaigns in 2014, sales are only going up.
Since making the promise two years ago, the brand has featured a diverse group of models in every size, and even included celeb models like Emma Roberts, who felt passionately about their new direction.
In fact, Business Insider reports that sales for the millennial lingerie and swim brand increased by 32 percent for the first fiscal quarter of 2016. These soaring numbers come directly on the heels of a 20 percent rise in comparable sales for the entire fiscal year of 2015.
The numbers are just a reflection of the brand’s own philosophy surrounding their demographic of teens and twentysomethings. “We definitely had a creative moment where the team got together and just said, ‘What’s happening today with millennials and the next generation?” Aerie’s president, Jennifer Foyle, told Business Insider. “We really felt like girls today are just more independent and stronger than ever.”
The promise to end retouching was a hunch that paid off. “We just knew that it would really resonate with this generation. Why would we even be airbrushing these models? They’re beautiful as is,” Foyle said.
But the movement goes much further than the numbers. “I connect with consumers directly at store visits and in college events, where we hug, talk and sometimes even cry,” plus-size model and AerieReal brand ambassador Iskra Lawrence (pictured above) told Us Weekly. “For many of them, it’s the first time they’ve had a positive shopping experience or have been able to relate to a mainstream campaign.…I wish I had #AerieReal growing up.…It’s made me feel more beautiful, and [I’m] grateful for the opportunity to help other young women love themselves.”
How does Aerie’s stance on Photoshop make you feel?