It’s time to start getting real. After years of promoting one standard of beauty—usually a super tall, size negative zero model—the fashion industry is finally beginning to realize that real women come in all different sizes and shapes. Real beauty is beautiful and not just saved for plus-size collections. Sorry, overly airbrushed stick figures. The new rules are equal representation and these brands are leading the way.
Dove launched its Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004. The worldwide effort includes ads, videos and events that focus on building self-love and promoting self-esteem as much as they sell beauty products. One ad, You’re more beautiful than you think, shows how women see ourselves versus how the world sees us. The emotional visual has been acclaimed as one of the most viral ads of all time. The campaign has people talking—it’s been polarizing at times---but overall paid off, with Ad Age naming it the best ad campaign of the 21st century.
2. The Limited
The Limited ditched airbrushed models and instead highlighted over 60 diverse women leaders in education, business, tech and more as part of its 2015 fall campaign. Motivational speaker and life coach Gabrielle Bernstein, angel investing expert Natalia Oberti Noguera and women’s advocate Tiffany Dufu were some of the strong ladies chosen.
It’s hard to imagine a lingerie line that doesn’t touch up its models. Aerie, an offshoot of American Eagle, features no retouching. “Real doesn’t mean flawed. Real means sexy,” says actress Emma Roberts, who's been featured in ads.
4. Neon Moon
Neon Moon prides itself as feminist lingerie for body positive women and members of the LGBTQIA+ communities. The brand saysit, “embraces how unique people are, inside and out” and “will forever be a safe haven for all to feel confident in their own skin.” Ads features models who look like actual women, with scars, stretch marks and underarm hair.
5. Dear Kate
Remember when Victoria’s Secret launched “The Perfect Body,” the epic fail photo shoot of supermodels posing as the ideal? Dear Kate took that slogan and flipped it for a clever campaign of its own with women of all shapes, sizes, age and ethnicity. Even cooler, the models weren’t just pretty faces but included kickass CEOs, editors and performance artists. Now, that’s perfect.