Aerie is bolstering its #AerieReal Role Model initiative.
Actress Yara Shahidi, gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman and award-winning singer-songwriter Rachel Platten will join curvy model and body activist Iskra Lawrence as ambassadors for the intimate apparel, swim and activewear brand, which is owned by American Eagle Outfitters and targets Millennials.
This announcement comes on the heels of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, which are centering conversations about society’s treatment of women. But Aerie has circled in the women’s empowerment space for a few years now. In 2014, it made the decision to stop retouching images and hired Lawrence to model its swimwear and intimate apparel.
“The time is right,” said Jen Foyle, Aerie’s global brand president. “We looked for representatives that could stand for positivity and women’s strength. I would like to say that Aerie is a big part of this movement and we could not be more excited.”
Raisman is known for being the resolute gymnast and U.S. Olympic team captain, but recently gained attention off the mat when she testified against Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison on sexual assault and abuse charges.
“I’ve always wanted to work with Aerie because I love everything they stand for,” Raisman said. “I wish every single brand didn’t Photoshop. It’s just so nice that they are breaking the stereotypes of what the perfect body image looks like.”
Shahidi, a breakout actress on the ABC series “Black-ish” who now stars in the spinoff show “Grown-ish” — and is attending Harvard — is also known for speaking out against inequality and sexism. Platten’s “Fight Song” became the unofficial soundtrack for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Each role model will appear in the Aerie spring 2018 campaign and participate in Real Talk speaking engagements, which will take place at Aerie stores. They will also design products and 100 percent of sales from those items will go to a charity of their choice.
Foyle said Aerie is also investing in expanding its size range on the smaller and larger ends. Bras now range from 30AA to 36DDD.
In December 2016, Aerie opened a temporary concept store in Manhattan’s SoHo, which has closed, but Foyle said it was a successful format and the brand has since opened a similar concept on Lincoln Road in Miami and at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, N.C.