To photoshop or not to photoshop women in ads has been a major question for clothing brands over the last couple years, and I think we can all agree that it’s a conversation that desperately needed to be started. The lines between real and virtual have become so distorted in our technological age that it’s really messing with people’s heads. Manipulation is something the advertising industry has always relied on, but it’s gone about 500 steps too far.

While a few companies have committed to making changes in how their editorials, social media, and ads come off, this is a conversation that must constantly be continued. Otherwise, the advancements that companies such as the brands below make when it comes to the advertising industry will become just another campaign highlighted and then quickly forgotten rather than part of a movement that created lasting change. So we continue to applaud 3 brands that made waves over a year ago, but have actually stuck to their guns.

3 Brands Promoting Healthy Body Image

1. aerie – American Eagle’s lingerie line aerie made waves in 2014 by launching their #AerieREAL campaign, which they’ve continued ever since. It ended up being a hugely successful business move for them, but we have a hunch they knew it would be. Women, especially young women (their target demo) want to see more truth and less photoshop in their clothing ads. The response has not only led to more awareness on the subject (putting pressure on retailers–if they want to stay in the game, they’ll want to jump on the “real” train for sure), but strengthened their social strategy. Because #AerieREAL encourages customers to get involved, any of aerie’s 402,000 Instagram followers can share photos of their own–and as we know, engagement is the ultimate prize in social media.

2. ModCloth – ModCloth was actually the first retailer to officially sign the Heroes Pledge for Advertisers, which basically states that they won’t alter models’ bodies in post-production, and if they do, they’ll disclose it. Even the disclosure is pretty big news for an industry that hasn’t quite mastered how to sell and disclose. ModCloth has always been pretty conscious of featuring a diverse range of models in their ads and they also offer a good selection of extended sizes. Plus, I have to say, those retro, pin-up style dresses are the perfect silhouette for curvier ladies. Vintage is always in, ya know.

3. Dear Kate – This made pretty big news way back when, but when tech fashion brand Dear Kate debuted their first lookbook featuring actual women that actually work in tech, it was as refreshing as it was effective. Ever since, they’ve done lookbooks + online listings their way, which just so happens to promote a healthy body image, highlights women in tech + science, AND all around gives everyone a little boost of confidence and a big smile. (I mean, when your tagline is smart undies + smart brains = no brainer, we kinda love you). We can’t help but admire a vision that promotes the greatness of technology yet knowing when to keep it real.

Who’s next? Off to do some shopping…

Photo: aerie on Instagram