Anyone who thinks marketing for major fashion brands isn’t a minefield should have a look at the summer video recently posted by Aerie, American Eagle’s lingerie brand for teens and young 20-somethings.
The video (below) is called ‘Pretty Is Everywhere’ and features supermodel Cintia Dicker prancing around cheerfully in what appears to be a dilapidated but colorful group of clapboard cottages in the Dominican Republic.
It all seems like peppy, innocent fun — until you dive into the debate that has sprung up on the comments section on YouTube. The issue? Whether you can see Cintia’s bare breasts in the film and, more generally, whether ‘Pretty’ is inappropriately racy for the youthful mallrats crowd that shops at AE. The most cutting comment: “I expect this from Victoria’s Secret, not Aerie.”
Personally, I’m not at all offended by Pretty Is Everywhere; it’s a lingerie commercial, folks.
I’m more struck by how Aerie’s easily offended young critics ignore what, to my mind, is a more obvious source of discomfort: using a developing country as a backdrop for a U.S. fashion campaign. Sorry, but those rundown cottages remind me of the DR’s poverty, not its youthful free spirit. The Dominican is in fact very pretty, but it also has an average income of $2,500 US.
The only thing that stops me from writing a letter to AE is their predictable (and valid) rebuttal: that staging a photoshoot in the DR contributes to the local economy. Still, barely a year after the earthquake in neighboring Haiti, Aerie might want to check its cultural sensitivity cred. ‘Pretty’ is everywhere, but if that’s all you see around you in places like DR, there’s something wrong.
You can see for yourself, and join the debate if you wish, by checking out the video above. If you’re looking for the questionable bare-boob sequence, it’s around the :54 mark. Fans of bare butts will have to wait till the very end of the film.
We’ve also included a gallery of images below from the brand’s SS2011 collection, not because there’s anything radically new here but because Dicker, the Brazilian beauty and SI Swimsuit Edition star, is such a perfect choice for the campaign. Freckles rule!