American Eagle is revolutionising the high-street with a fashion campaign that features completely unretouched photos and unconventional models.

The US brand, aimed for teenagers, is taking the current wave of positive body image and diversity into its #AerieReal campaign, which features size 12 model Barbie Ferreira and "too big", "not big enough" Iskra Lawrence.

The empowering campaign launched in 2014, promising not to airbrush models in its swimwear collections, showcasing images of young women of different ages, sizes, colours and body shapes.  Nineteen-year-old Ferreira made headlines when her photos were released as part of the campaign in late January, as she is the first size US size 12/UK size 16 model to be featured. 

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Barbie Ferreira in her American Eagles Outfitters campaign

"I am unapologetically myself, no matter what anyone's opinion is. Not being retouched in the images is something that is very important to me," she says on the video campaign, which opens up with the message "the real you is sexy".

"People knowing that's what I look like without anyone's perception of what my body needs to look like," she told Ravelin last year. 

 

Her photos of campaign had such such positive reaction (and reportedly triggered more sales) that American Eagle signed then US size 16, British-born model Iskra Lawrence, who has just been revealed as the latest face to join. 

“This campaign is set to empower women, inspire women, to make us feel better about ourselves, rather than playing out insecurities to try and sell a certain lifestyle or a product,” says the 25-year-old model and Neda (National Eating Disorder Association) ambassador.

“I never thought I could make it, and Aerie told me I was beautiful because I was me.

“You don’t need to be retouched because the real you is beautiful.”

Lawrence continuously shares the women empowering message with her 1.1m Instagram followers.

 

A photo posted by iskra (@iamiskra) on

This campaign joins the ongoing debates over unrealistic beauty standards and the fashion industry’s wave of featuring "real women". And unlike a number of campaigns and clothing lines out there, it's dropped the "plus-size" label, too. 

"The term plus-size is so inaccurate. I’m not plus size," Ferreira told iD magazine. 

But the campaign is not only about these two unconventional models. It also features a group of young women of a variety of sizes and body shapes, all featured in the unretouched images, including Jessica Morrrow, Julie Beekman and Shivani. 

In an interview with Access Hollywood, Lawrence explains how the message has become a "movement": "It’s not only about unretouched images, is letting girls love themselves for who they are."

Hopefully, #AerieReal could set the tone for future clothing lines to keep it real, and specially serve as inspiration for brands that target a younger audience. 

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