American Eagle Uses Curvy Models For ‘Aerie Real’ Campaign, Sales And Shares Rise

American Eagle is “keeping it real” with their lingerie line, “Aerie Real,” which was debuted in 2014.

Models who are skinny and busty currently dominate the modeling industry. However, American Eagle is trying something new by using curvy models that represent the way women actually look in real life. The industry has long been criticized for promoting unhealthy body images, and for removing imperfections from the model’s body. However, the women in American Eagle’s campaigns aren’t stick thin, and they aren’t airbrushed — they are all natural.

“We left everything. We left beauty marks, we left tattoos, what you see is really what you get with our campaign,” Jenny Altman, the line’s style and fit expert, said during a 2014 interview with ABC News’ Juju Chang. “It’s a selling point because our customers represent this great demographic and they don’t really get to see what girls their age really look like.”

“They are still models, they’re still gorgeous, they just look a little more like the rest of us. We’re hoping to break the mold … we hope by embracing this that real girls everywhere will start to embrace their own beauty.”

Since American Eagle launched their “Aerie Real” lingerie line, their sales and shares have risen. According to Market Watch, “sales at stores open more than a year are expected to have grown 13.5% in the quarter ending Jan. 31, pushing overall American Eagle growth up to 4%.” American Eagle’s stock AEO, +0.85% has also shot up, seven percent just in the last week.

American Eagle CEO Jay Schottenstein spoke in January about their positive holiday sales, according to 24/7 Wall St.

“Despite a very challenging macro-environment, we had a solid holiday season, driven by positive results in both our brands. The online business was particularly strong, and we leveraged our omni-channel tools to deliver an improved customer experience. I am extremely pleased with the steady progress made in 2015, with expected annual EPS growth of roughly 70%.”

So, what’s causing this difference? Aerie President Jennifer Foyle said their curvy, untouched models “speak to young women in a really new way and a really positive way.” She added, “Our customers believe in what we stand for.”

“American Eagle is putting out imagery that says, ‘Our photos are not retouched. You are beautiful the way you are.’ That realness is important, and it feels like a celebration. For women, it feels uplifting,” Jessica Navas, the chief planning officer at Erwin Penland, explained.

The campaign has also sparked a social media movement, with young women sharing photos using the hashtag #aeriereal.

No retouching #AerieREAL Swim Break Road Trip with @straightcurveny

— iskra (@iskralawrence) February 29, 2016

Barbie Ferreira, 19, is one of the many models for American Eagle’s “Aerie Real” campaign. At a young age, Barbie knew she wanted to be a model, but never thought it would happen because of her size. However, when she landed the gig with American Eagle, she quickly realized her dreams were about to come true.

I was so insecure and I had no one to look up to who could make me feel like all my dreams are valid,” Barbie said during a January interview with Time.“I know so many gorgeous women who even inspired me to model to break this boundary, and it makes me feel like girls out there can dream about something without having to think about the things that they can’t change.”

What do you think about American Eagle “breaking the mold” by using curvy models? Leave your comments below.

[Photo by Carolyn Chappo/ Associated Press]