This article originally appeared on 07.17.15
About a year ago, clothing brand American Eagle's underwear line, Aerie, stopped retouching photos of their models.
As their CEO Jennifer Foyle said in a statement in 2014, "There is no need to retouch beauty."
The results were beautiful.
After putting the nix on retouching, quarterly comparable sales for Aerie were up 9%.
9% for that quarter. The next quarter, Q3 of 2014, up only 3% in comparable sales. But then in the next two quarters? Up 13% and 12%. Coincidence? Maybe. But I like to think it has to do with things like this pic:
The brand uses the hashtag #AerieReal to let its fans know that the photos remain unretouched.
Model Iskra Lawrence, featured below kicking around on the beach, told Elle:
"I love my body and really don't see myself as a size but more of a shape."
Aerie clearly agrees!
She's featured in ads aplenty. Unretouched, of course!
Aerie also agrees that backs are beautiful.
Stomachs being stomachs are cool by them, too!
Don't freak out, but Aerie also agrees that real butts look like real butts.
Yes, some of these models have what the mainstream already traditionally thinks of as "great" bodies. But for some reason, the usual practice is to airbrush and retouch even THAT.
These photos show that there's no such thing as a "perfect" body; ALL bodies have moments of #realness. And there's nothing wrong with showing that. That's what I love about them and what I love about this campaign.
And to their credit, in case the model bodies don't do it for you, the brand has also posted photos of non-model, everyday women using the hashtag #AerieReal to spotlight the glory that is the unretouched photo on all types of shapes and sizes.
Frankly, no one needs Aerie to tell them that it's OK for them to have a body and to love it without a filter. But if you ask me, more brands could get OUT of the game of body shaming and INTO the game of body positivity like Aerie.
And if Aerie is any example, body positivity is profit positivity.
I can agree with that!