Clothing brand sees spike in sales after refusing photoshopped images

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Chalk one up for authenticity. For years, retailers have been pushing impossibly high beauty standards with photoshopped images, much to the detriment of the body images and self esteem of the general public. But it looks like the public is pushing back, at least the market seems to be heading that way.

Clothing brand Aerie decided to forego photoshop in their promotional images for two years, using unretouched photos of women as they really are.

The result was a major increase in sales.

A financial report from the company showed a 20 percent bump in sales last year, compared to its parent company, American Eagle, which only saw a 7 percent increase.

“In the industry today, it was important for us as a brand to give our girls REAL images to invoke self confidence,” Aerie’s global brand president Jennifer Foyle told Mashable. “#AerieREAL has been a huge success with our customers and we have seen strong engagement on our social channels which inspires us to continue on this path.”

The #AerieREAL campaign launched in spring of 2014 as American Eagle Outfitters vowed to take a more body-positive approach to marketing.

“We have always embraced real, natural beauty and celebrated our customers’ passion and spirited optimism,” Foyle said. “Through our customer engagement and feedback, our girls helped us to see that celebrating the ‘real you’ was exactly what they wanted. We want to help empower young women to be confident in themselves and their bodies.”

The brand has employed models of various sizes and body types, sometimes with visible birthmarks or tattoos, or other features that would typically be airbrushed out.

The campaign has been a success not just in the sales figures, but brand awareness saw a huge spike, as the #AerieREAL hashtag has over 30,000 photos on Instagram.

Aerie launched in 2006 in American Eagle stores, and has since branched out into its own stores. The company targets women in the 15-25 year old demographic with mid-range priced lingerie, dormwear, activewear, and athleisure.