Just a few short years ago, I never saw girls that looked like me represented in the catalogues of my favorite clothing stores. This felt particularly evident when searching for lingerie. As a teenager, I’d have to play a guessing game on how a certain garment would look good on me, or run out of Victoria’s Secret in tears after trying on bras for two hours only to realize that 1. I’d never look like any of the models wearing them and 2. I’d never fit into any of their bras in the first place (yes, VS, you’re still cancelled in my eyes). In recent years, however, things have started to change in the fashion industry. More and more, women of all different body types are being included not only in in company’s size ranges, but in their ad campaigns. One of the brands at the forefront of this body positive movement is American Eagle, and their brand new #AerieReal campaign is just another step in the right direction for this increasingly inclusive brand.
Announced on the last day of January, the new #AerieReal Role Models are a group of diverse women of all different body types who also happen to be outspoken feminists. Like, can it get any better? Some of the role models on the list include champion of body positivity Jameela Jamil, mama, activist, and BUST favorite, Busy Phillipps, musical theater extraordinaire and disability activist Ali Stroker, actress and LGBTQ+ rights fighter Samira Wiley, and my personal queen, Beanie Feldstien, just to name a few. On the Aerie website, you can meet some of the incredible women who are part of this campaign as the romp around in some size-inclusive Aerie lingerie and attire. Learn about scientist and CEO Keiana Cavé’s mission to create a company that will provide the first non-hormonal, or how blind motivational speaker and YouTuber, Molly Burke's, “real superpower,” it’s her acceptance. The company stated, “Aerie is committed to providing our customers with Role Models who create the change they want to see in the world. We will continue to partner with women who embrace the Aerie lifestyle, and who have the confidence to use their influential voices to nurture an inclusive, empowering community for women everywhere.” With these role models, diversity, inclusion and activism is abundant.
Arguably one of the best parts of the campaign? None of the photos of the role models will be airbrushed or photoshopped. That’s right, all of the models bodies will be celebrated in all of their beautiful glory. This is part of #AerieReal’s mission to promote body positivity and representation of women’s real bodies. Thanks to initiatives like this one, girls around the world can look on the websites of their favorite clothing brands and see women that look just like them. This is a huge step forward in the body positive movement.
Let’s hope the lingerie industry never looks back.
Header image via #AerieReal Role Models Campaign Video
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Aliza is a Creative Writing BFA student and former BUST Magazine intern! When she's not writing, reading or scrolling through TikTok for hours on end, you can find her consuming copious amounts of iced coffee or doing something witchy. Follow her on Twitter @alizapelto.