Starting in the 1960’s with the arrival of London fashion model Twiggy, models and brands have pushed an unrealistic “ideal look” on women and young girls.
But the concept of an “ideal look” is slowly starting to shift- and it’s about time!
Today’s young women are becoming more aware of the magic of Photoshop and the lack of diversity in the fashion world. Outspoken models and brands are taking a stand against Photoshop, traditional beauty “ideals” and the often times overwhelming pressure to be thin.
Here are some brands and models making major waves in fashion.
Aerie by American Eagle:
In 2014 the brand vowed to stop Photoshopping their models in a marketing campaign #AerieREAL and the move has really been paying off. According to Business Insider sales have grown by 32% since making the shift. “We just knew that it would really resonate with this generation,” Aerie’s president told Business Insider, “why would we even be airbrushing these models? They’re beautiful as is.”
The company was founded in 2011 and made a statement that it’s out to “Slay Victoria’s Secret.” Iskra Lawrence, a model who was fired from her first modeling gig for having hips that were “too big” modeled for #AerieREAL and has now joined the Adore Me team. Lawrence has a huge social media following of 3.2 million people and promotes #everyBODYisbeautiful. Adore Me sales went from $1.1 million in 2012 to $16.2 million in 2014 making the company a serious competitor to Victoria’s Secret, a company that’s struggling to let go of their overly sexualized and traditionally thin models.
In 2016, the curvaceous model, body activist, and now entrepreneur launched a “plus-size” swimsuit line in collaboration with swimsuitsforall.com. The website uses #swimsexy to promote, “The Golden Standard: Confident curves. Rock your bikini body at any age or size.” Graham also became the first “plus-size” model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in 2016. Because Sports Illustrated is mostly targeted toward a male audience her cover photo showed men just how sexy curves could be.
Madeline is a strong, empowering and beautiful 20-year old taking on the stereotypes of Down Syndrome. Despite challenges and discrimination growing up Maddy decided she wanted to be a super model- and she did it. In 2015 she was awarded Model of the Year at Melange in San Francisco. This year at New York Fashion Week she launched her own clothing line, 21 Reasons Why by Madeline Stuart. Maddy is credited with changing perceptions about people with Down Syndrome and has given new hope to those effected everywhere.
Winnie was born with the rare skin disease vitiligo, which causes the loss of skin color in blotches. Growing up she faced a lot of bullying and name-calling and admits that she contemplated suicide at several points during her life. Since being discovered on America’s Next Top Model, Winnie has become a successful model and activist, proving that beauty goes deeper than skin color (or colors).
What Can We Learn From These Brands and Models?
There is no single form of beauty. We are all different shapes, colors, and sizes. Loving oneself and embracing what makes us different is the ultimate form of beauty.
The fashion world is changing, slowly. Through embracing diversity and rejecting unrealistic beauty standards we can help create even faster change.