American Eagle Just Destroyed the Biggest Myth About What Shoppers Want

March 9th 2016

Laura Donovan

American Eagle's Aerie is watching sales skyrocket as a result of their body positive message.

The company famously promised to stop Photoshopping models in 2014 through its Aerie Real campaign, and saw a 20 percent sales bump in 2015 and a 26 percent rise in the fourth quarter, according to a recent press release. This is more than double the increase Aerie saw for its second quarter sales in 2014, and it also defies the idea that people will only shop at brands with retouched models and don't want to see curvier models.


A photo posted by aerie (@aerie) on


A photo posted by aerie (@aerie) on

Aerie, which doesn't airbrush bruises, beauty marks, or scars on models, is widely considered a major threat to embattled lingerie competitor Victoria's Secret, which has made headlines for its own Photoshop disasters in the past and drawn the ire of plus-size model Tess Holliday for promoting unrealistic body standards. Aerie also achieved ample success during a difficult time for many other retailers such as Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Gap, which suffered sales decreases during the holiday season, BuzzFeed News reported.


A photo posted by aerie (@aerie) on


A photo posted by aerie (@aerie) on

Aerie's popular models

Aerie recently made headlines for featuring "curve" model Barbie Ferreira in a couple ads. The brand first released a teaser video featuring Ferreira lounging by a pool and explaining why Aerie Real means so much to her.

"What makes me Aerie Real is that I am unapologetically myself, no matter what anyone’s opinion is,” she said in the video. “Not being retouched in the images is something that’s very important to me—people knowing that that’s what I look like without anyone’s perception of what my body needs to look like.”

Also this year, Aerie made model Iskra Lawrence the face of its campaign. Lawrence, who was once fired from a modeling agency for her larger hip size, wrote on Instagram several weeks ago that it felt great to beat the odds and make it as a model despite receiving criticism early on.


A photo posted by 🌙iskra✨ (@iamiskra) on

"[To] all the people who said I would never make it because I was too fat to model, all that rejection was actually the ammunition to prove them wrong," Lawrence wrote on Instagram last month. "I'm proud to be me, healthy and happy because I know I'm more than a size or label. Never let anyone tell you you aren't beautiful. You are beautiful because you are you."


A photo posted by aerie (@aerie) on

Here are some social media reactions to the Aerie Real campaign:

RELATED: The #AerieReal Campaign Just Got Even Bolder