Aerie intimates line "encourages girls and young women to embrace who they are," says National Eating Disorders Association
American Eagle Outfitters’s undergarment line Aerie just scored a major win for ditching photoshop and celebrating women who don’t fit into the supermodel mold.
Launched in 2014, American Eagle’s Aerie campaign promotes healthy body image by not digitally removing models’ blemishes, tattoos, cellulite or other features that are typically photoshopped on the website or in advertisements.
“We’re thrilled to acknowledge Aerie for leading the charge in encouraging girls and young women to embrace who they are by rejecting the unrealistic, body-perfect ‘ideal’ promoted by retouching images,” NEDA program director Claire Mysko tells PEOPLE.
“Companies have long operated under the toxic assumption that insecurity sells,” she says. “We believe that it’s time for a change in advertising.”
The brand is proud to be a part of NEDA’s push to celebrate natural beauty: “Aerie is committed to challenging supermodel standards to spark a conversation with the fashion industry,” Aerie’s brand president Jen Foyle said in a statement.
As for the inspiration behind the NEDA’s endorsement for companies pioneering change, it was an Aerie model herself, Iskra Lawrence.
The 24-year-old, who was dropped by her agency when she was 15 for being too curvy, wanted to be an Aerie girl ever since she first saw the brand’s unretouched images.
“The number of messages I receive directly from girls who are suffering or recovering from eating disorders, who have been inspired by Aerie and my photos, is incredible,” the model and NEDA ambassador tells PEOPLE.
“It’s given me such a sense of responsibility,” she added.