The approach appears to be working in a tough retail environment. Aerie has boosted American Eagle's performance in recent months, with the brand opening new stores and reporting healthy growth. Last month, American Eagle's comparable sales rose 2% as those from its Aerie line increased 20%, its 20th straight quarter of double-digit sales growth.
While Aerie has made body positivity and female empowerment a core piece of its messaging strategy, Unilever's Dove was one of the earliest marketers to give a similar platform to celebrating women of all sizes in 2004. Since then, a flurry of other brands have gone this route to honor the beauty in typical women and appeal to consumers looking for positive messaging.