Around April Fools’ Day each year, American Eagle stages an elaborate prank. Once, when the skinny jeans craze was at its peak, the company pretended to sell spray-on denim, and last year, the brand introduced a line of fake clothes for dogs. (But the joke was really on American Eagle, because it ended up putting the line into production.) So it’s a little fishy that just a week before the holiday, the company has come out with #AerieMan, a line of underwear being promoted by untraditional models.
Meet models Kelvin and Devon — they’re real dudes. (Photo: Courtesy)
But this is most certainly not a joke — and there are products on sale, including underwear, classic briefs, and boxers, to prove it. Drawing on the same ethos employed by its wildly successful women’s campaign, Aerie Man cast relatable guys: those with dad bods, beer bellies, and body hair. According to the campaign, #AerieMan is a celebration of real men who love themselves inside and out. Even more, none of the images are retouched.
So relatable: Doug has chest hair, and Matt wears glasses. (Photo: Courtesy)
Four dudes — Devon, Doug, Matt, and Kelvin — stripped down to their undergarments to front the new collection. “I don’t mind that I won’t be retouched,” Matt, the blond man with a bangin’ bod, admitted. “I feel that everyone should be comfortable in their own skin.” Kelvin, a style blogger with an affinity for fedoras, hopes that by sharing his unretouched photos, he’ll inspire other people to feel good about themselves enough to share their own. “Personally, style has made me more confident in life. If you don’t have the confidence in what you wear, it’s going to show.”
But while it’s all good and great that these “normal” men represent #AerieMan, the brand falls short in promoting its ideology through and through. All the products on the website are featured on chiseled male models. Only Matt, who can be identified by the tattoo underneath his left peck, is pictured. Devon, Doug, and Kelvin don’t get the honor of showing off the goods.
Unfortunately, while attempting to shatter stereotypes, double standards, and promote “real men” over models, this one slip-up backfired, and these efforts become overshadowed. Aerie is instead perpetuating these practices it spiritedly attempted to dispel.