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Aerie via Instagram

A lingerie company stopped retouching ads - and its sales soared

Best of all, its customers keep talking about how much they love the move.

YOU MIGHT ASSUME that photoshopping lingerie ads is good for business – that it makes the products look better, and that it serves as aspirational goals for the customers.

But what one company found when it quit photoshopping its ads was that it encouraged customers to buy their underwear.

The Aerie line  - a lingerie brand from the US company American Eagle - stopped photoshopping its models in January of 2014. The models are still generally quite slim, but their physiques aren’t distorted beyond recognition.

Instead of creating a sense of remove, Aerie has shown a sense of realness that is attractive to its customers. They recognise the women in the ads, and feel a sense of connection to their varying bodies.

“The purpose of ‘Aerie Real’ is to communicate there is no need to retouch beauty, and to give young women of all shapes and sizes the chance to discover amazing styles that work best for them,” Aerie’s brand president, Jennifer Foyle, said in a statement in 2014.

Now Business Insider reports that the brand is giving top lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret a run for its money – at a conference call last year, the brand announced that sales had gone up by 9%.

Aerie’s fans make their thoughts known on its social media pages.

On this photo, one said:

aerie 2 Aerie Aerie

I think it’s great that they didn’t photoshop the crap out of her photo. She looks nice and I think all girls look better with a more natural look because there is just something beautiful about the female form…

Others said:

Ok…this girls is stupidly pretty. I am so glad to see a company use “real” girls in the ads..
Yay equal representation of female bodies :3

This all clashes with the likes of Victoria’s Secret, the chain which ran into trouble over its Perfect Body campaign.


It was criticised for what some felt was a “damaging” campaign after the “perfect body” tagline was included on its website.

It later changed the line to “A body for every body”, but left the same models.

In response, another underwear company, Dear Kates – which makes sizes for all body shapes – created this image:

sidebyside_6ea02948-96ac-4959-816e-a79e8ec6c327-516x500 Dear Kates Dear Kates

Meanwhile, Cosabella, an Italian lingerie brand, decided to stop using the term ‘plus size’ and instead refer to its ‘Extended’ range of sizes.

The takeaway from all of this? In a world where people are beginning to doubt the meaning of ‘perfection’, keeping it real is the key to keeping the money flowing in. If customers feel they are being hoodwinked, they won’t be buying.

- Contains reporting from Business Insider

Read: A household Irish name built from humble beginnings: The Penneys story>

Read: This lingerie brand has done away with the term ‘plus-size’>

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