Aly Raisman's Raw Images for Aerie's #REAL Campaign Scream Female Empowerment

Whether it's in magazines or fashion campaigns, retouching has been a hotly debated topic in the last few years. Some brands use the "image quality" argument, saying retouching is necessary and increases the overall caliber of the photos, but others disagree, saying models shouldn't be so scrutinized and manipulated by a computer; their natural beauty should be enough. And that's exactly what makes Aerie a trailblazer. 

Since 2014, when the lingerie and apparel retailer announced it would no longer use digitally retouched models in its campaigns, Aerie has made major moves in the body-positivity arena. And its new spring 2018 campaign, #AerieREAL, is our favorite move yet.

You May Also Like: Here’s How Much Victoria's Secret Models Are Really Photoshopped

Featuring olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, singer Rachel Platten, actress Yara Shadihi and model Iskra Lawrence, the new campaign not only highlights body positivity, but also female empowerment, diversity, natural beauty and sisterhood. By giving us "Role Models" instead of "regular" models, Aerie paves the way for so many women to dream bigger and feel better about themselves. 

Plus, this news comes on the heels of another recent Aerie headline, involving British model Nia Pettitt and her emotional disclosure on social media about her struggle with bacne and stretch marks, as seen in the post below. Since modeling for Aerie, Pettitt says she has finally found confidence.

You May Also Like: 10 Best Celebrity Body-Positive Moments That Change Everything

I remember when I was 7, acne started to show on my face and I used to get bullied in school all the time about it. It didn't go till I was 17 but by that time it had spread onto my back. I used to be so self-conscience. I remember going to a party and wearing this cute dress but I had to find a sweater to put on over it because it showed my back. Then when my lil cakes decided to show, wearing bikinis was never a thing. I would always cover up and feel ashamed of my skin. In changing rooms, I'd always deter from looking too intensely at myself or I'd end up pointing out every single flaw on my skin. I've had family members emphasise it to me at occasions and it took me so long to finally embrace and accept it. Yet, despite all of that I am now about to be all over America with @aerie flaunting my lines of love. If you have them, ROCK them. Look in the mirror the next time you get dressed and tell every stretch mark and every acne scar that it is a part of the magic that makes you, you. Wear that dress without worrying about what people will think. Wear that bikini without hesitation. You got this baby girl. You got this Queen. 🌬💛 #NiaTheLight #AerieReal cc: @alimitton

A post shared by Nià The Light (@niathelight) on

After receiving and outpouring of support from women all over the world, Pettitt posted a follow-up message: “I didn’t [realize] that by speaking my truth, so many of you were now free with yourselves to embrace your bacne and stretch marks. I was so used to spending time on sets with an MUA [makeup artist] or around my friends and saying ‘sorry about my skin.’ What was I sorry for? This is what my hormones were doing at the time. Look at your flaws in the mirror and say ‘My stretch marks or my acne do not define me.’”

To say Aerie is doing great things (and brave things) for women is an understatement. Scroll through to check out some more of our favorite images from Aerie's #RealBeauty campaign. Prepare to be inspired!

No retouching. Always & forever #AerieREAL

A post shared by aerie (@aerie) on

New year, same unretouched #AerieREAL YOU! #regram @sassyredlipstick

A post shared by aerie (@aerie) on

First: you time. Next: party time.

A post shared by aerie (@aerie) on

A post shared by aerie (@aerie) on