Trends: #NoPhotoshop

Iskra-Lawrence 'Share Your Spark' AerieReal campaign (Glamour)

Iskra-Lawrence ‘Share Your Spark’ AerieReal campaign (Glamour)

It used to be that brands only used tall, skinny, (mostly) blonde girl in their advertising. This was thought to be aspirational: You wanted to be the girl in the photo, and how best to be that? Buy their clothes (or perfume, or lingerie, or whatever the brand was selling). But the pursuit of one aspirational body type led those who didn’t possess said body type (either by genetic luck-of-the-draw or by carefully-chosen enhancements) to believe themselves unworthy and maybe inferior.

Thankfully, that trend is on its way out. The current thing (which, I hope, stays) is all about positivity and accepting yourself as you are, because you are enough. For women’s brands, this has translated to, among other things, banning Photoshop.

This month, Glamour released its all-women, no Photoshop issue. The magazine’s staff has gone all-in on banning photo retouching: A quick glance at the “Girls” cast on the cover, and you can see that the cellulite on Lena Dunham’s thigh hasn’t been wiped out. And why should it? It’s just a natural part of life.

In January 2014, American Eagle’s underwear brand Aerie launched its #AerieReal campaign, featuring models of all shapes and sizes and no Photoshopping. The intimates brand is aimed at girls ages 15-22, and the campaign has been used to promote body acceptance, positivity and confidence.

Aerie’s gamble has paid off exponentially: Q2 2014 sales were up 9% from the previous quarter, and continued to grow for the rest of the year. In 2015, sales were up by 20%, with Q4 2015 seeing a 26% increase year-over-year. And sales in Q1 2016 were up 32%.

Body acceptance and positivity has also bled into regular women’s lives, and features prominently on social media. Searching #nophotoshop on Instagram brings up 460K+ posts.It’s clear that this trend isn’t going away anytime soon.

 

 

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Thursday Trends: Same-Sex Couples Reflected in Advertising

Tiffany's first ad featuring a gay couple (Adweek)

Tiffany’s first ad featuring a gay couple (Adweek)

Advertisements are finally getting with the times, and featuring more diversity than your run-of-the-mill straight white couple.

Last month, jewelry giant Tiffany’s debuted a new print ad for their wedding rings. But this ad had one thing different: it prominently featured a gay couple. And apparently the two men are a couple in real life, and were photographed on their own New York stoop.

This was the first time Tiffany’s has used a same-sex couple in their advertising. But it won’t be the last: Just this week, the brand used the same couple in a TV-spot ad. (The ad also features straight and interracial couples.) It signals that the 178-year-old brand recognizes that love comes in many forms, and they want to be all-inclusive. (And it’s a smart business move.)

Other brands in recent years have featured same-sex couples. Preppy retailer J. Crew used a gay couple in their catalog in spring 2011, and Gap used another couple on a billboard the following year. Incidentally, neither sets of couples are professional models: In the case of the J. Crew couple, one of the men was a designer for the brand. (It seems there’s also a side-trend of using real people.)

Lesbian couples are also increasingly represented. In 2012, JC Penney featured a lesbian couple with their children in a catalog pegged to Mother’s Day. Last year, condom brand Durex used two women being playfully affectionate with each other in an ad for a massage gel. This year, Hallmark showed an ad featuring a real-life lesbian couple describing their feelings for each other in the run up to Valentine’s Day.

It’s clear that things are changing. Even “The Onion” got in the action, with a (mock) article claiming that jewelry company Zales created an ad featuring a polyamorous triad. (But the article did rightfully call out that we, as a whole society, aren’t quite there yet.)

Hopefully this follow its natural progression, and  will eventually lead to more ads featuring same-sex couples with families. It’d be great to see future print and online ads and commercials where we see a family with two dads or two moms, NBD.

After all, this would make complete economic sense for these companies: In 2012, “Adweek” reported that the LGBT market is estimated to be worth around $743B+.

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Vintage Lingerie Ad, Date Unknown

Estetica bra advertisement (Hot Pinups Tumblr)

Estetica bra advertisement (Hot Pinups Tumblr)

I found this image on Pinterest, which led to me The Lingerie Addict and Hot Pinups (NSFW) Tumblrs. I don’t have any information on this ad (I’m not entirely positive that Estetica refers to the company), but I love it!

The bra looks similar to Madonna’s cone bra circa her “Blonde Ambition” World Tour in 1990, no? Maybe Madonna saw this ad while coming up with costume concepts.

Thursday Trends: Elderly Fashion Models

Joan Didion's Celine ad (AdWeek)

Joan Didion’s Celine ad (AdWeek)

Ladies of “un certain age” (as the French say) are currently having a moment. High-fashion houses are looking to elderly women to represent their wares to a wider market.

Last week, French fashion house Céline unveiled its newest cover girl: 80-year-old acclaimed essayist Joan Didion. Didion is best known for her collections of essays, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” (published in 1968) and “The White Album” (published in 1979). The writer, who replaced model Daria Werbowy, already has casual experience in modeling: An old photo of Didion lounging in her Corvette Stingray adorns the cover of “The White Album” paperback copy.

Two days later, Saint Laurent revealed their latest model to be 71-year-old singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. And the elderly-woman-as-fashion-model concept went from an outlier to a trend.

These are just the latest in a larger trend of older women becoming more visible within the fashion industry. Céline’s new campaign follows on the heels of Dolce & Gabbana’s spring 2015 promotions, which feature elderly ladies decked out in black dresses, red carnations and gold tiaras.

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2015 Campaign still (Daily Mail UK)

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2015 Campaign still (Daily Mail UK)

The trend has been picking up steam over the past couple of years. In 2013, eyewear designer Karen Walker used models between the ages of 65 and 92 to model her “Forever” collection. (Within that campaign, Walker juxtaposed the elderly ladies with young girls for maximum effect.) Designer Marc Jacobs used 64-year-old actress Jessica Lange for his beauty line in 2014. Sixty-two-year-old Jacky O’Shaughnessy modeled for American Apparel in 2014, and 93-year-old Iris Apfel is modeling this year for jewelry designer Alexis Bittar.

French women seem to have this one lock: Jacobs cast a then-70-year-old Catherine Deneuve in his final campaign for Louis Vuitton in 2013, and 68-year-old French actress Charlotte Rampling modeled for Nars in 2014.

We’ve also been seeing more older women appear in street style photography. Photographer Ari Seth Cohen runs Advanced Style, where he documents the unique ensembles of elderly ladies. He’s parlayed the blog into a book and a recent documentary.

Hopefully, we’re starting to respect, and revere, the elderly population more than we’ve been worshipping at the fountain of youth. There’s certain historical precedent for young women taking sartorial cues from previous generations: Women in 17th- and 18th-century France used to powder their hair and wear white wigs to emulate their esteemed elders.