Real Talk with Kelsey from Thread International 

Love your world! We’re so excited to partner with Thread™, a company that takes plastic waste from Haiti, Honduras and Taiwan and transforms it into recycled polyester. So far, our Play leggings made with Thread recycled yarns have helped divert 403,960.22 pounds of plastic waste from landfills and oceans (that’s the weight of 6,463,363.5 plastic bottles!) and generated $85,688.55 in revenue ​in the First Mile in Taiwan. We talked with Kelsey, Director of Sales at Thread, and found out a little more about Thread and the impact that just one pair of leggings can have. Read on for more!

Real Talk with Kelsey from Thread International 

Kelsey, Director of Sales at Thread

The Thread yarns in our Play leggings start as plastic waste in Taiwan. How does a plastic bottle become one of the leggings we love?

Great question. In my opinion, recycling is about as close as we get to magic. Your plastic starts out as discarded bottles in Taiwan. There are several thousand individuals around the country who pick up and collect these bottles. They sell this material to entrepreneurs who run “collection centers.” These centers sort and prepare the bottles for recycling facilities where they are washed and ground up into flake. That flake gets melted down into pellet and extruded into filament, which is then finished into yarn. That yarn gets knitted into fabric, and finally cut and sewn into your Play leggings.

The best part about this process, is that in addition to diverting plastic waste from landfill and oceans, our supply chains also support income opportunities and small businesses that support their communities. You can look great, and know that you’re having positive impact in the world when you wear these leggings.

Real Talk with Kelsey from Thread International 

Aerie Play Pocket & Cuff Legging, Made with Thread recycled polyester yarns

You focus on the importance of the “First Mile” of the supply chain. Can you tell us more about this? 

Absolutely. Recycling is still often an unregulated industry in many parts of the world. Especially in countries where there may not be a lot of waste management infrastructure, or municipal recycling. The First Mile refers to the individual people that pick up the plastic bottles that become Thread fabric. Our impact team works with these collectors to ensure that their work is dignified and safe and that they have the opportunity to grow sustainable collection businesses to support them and their families.

First Mile also refers to the traceability of our material. Recycled polyester is not a new material, but Thread is the only material that can tell you what country our recycled plastic was sourced from as well as the network of people picking it up. Knowing where your stuff comes from is important, because without this knowledge, you can’t be sure that your entire supply chain is responsible.

 

What advice do you have for someone trying to be more sustainable with their fashion choices? 

Start paying attention to the brands and material choices you are purchasing. If a brand is transparent and forthcoming with information about their supply chains, that is a good sign. If they make products using recycled polyester, organic cotton, hemp, or other sustainable materials that’s a great place to start. If they don’t use these materials, or you can’t find information about their supply chains, don’t be afraid to reach out to the brand and ask. If brands know sustainability is important to their customers, they will be more likely to make sustainable choices.

Learning how to repair your clothes, thrifting, second hand shopping, and clothing swaps with your friends are also great ways to keep your clothing circulating and useful and out of landfill. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good – there is not such thing as a “perfect” material or fiber. Making more informed choices is a great start.DSC01279

 

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Real Talk with Cassie Wegeng

Cassie is an animal trainer and caretaker turned non-profit world saver focused on leading a healthy lifestyle (and eating all the donuts along the way). She’s also one of our newest #AerieREAL faces! Read on to see what makes her #AerieREAL and how her time at the Aerie bra photoshoot encouraged her to be her best self.

CassieWegangWhat workout makes you feel REAL good?

I have been following the “Tone It Up” program for several years now, and I LOVE it!! Tone It Up is a combination of nutrition education and recipes, workouts and community. I’ve met some incredible, supportive women through the Tone It Up community who are like minded and keep me accountable! The workouts are a planned for you, can be done anywhere, and they’re a mix of anything and everything – HIIT, kickboxing, dance cardio, weights, yoga, even meditation. I cannot recommend it enough, as it literally changed my perspective on health and has been a major part of my life. I’m also a sucker for a good beach run.

Do you have any tips for staying motivated?

GREAT question – as this is different for everyone! Motivation will ebb and flow, and that’s ok! Fitness and nutrition is a life long journey, not a shortcut to quick results. Find something that works for YOU and makes you happy. What helps me stay motivated is the feeling I get after I workout. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and eventually it becomes FUN and your body will crave it. You will never, ever regret working out (even if it’s terribly difficult throughout!), and you’ll feel accomplished no matter what.

How has your active lifestyle impacted how you feel about your body?

Leading a healthy lifestyle has proven to me that my body is capable of so much, mentally and physically! A huge part of an active lifestyle to me is the mental component – finding the strength to push through challenges. Our bodies are so much stronger than our brain sometimes. Turning negative self talk around during a workout is a tool I’ve learned to utilize more in my daily life as well! When we treat ourselves and talk to ourselves with love, our bodies love us back and carry us through life’s ups and downs with strength and confidence.IMG_5675_f_1

Tell us your experience on the shoot!

Photoshoot day was quite literally the BEST day ever (ok, wedding steals first place, but you know what I mean). I never wanted it to end! There was so much love, laughter, music, dancing, amazing clothing, inspiring stories and conversation, and friendships made that will last a lifetime. I am so grateful to Aerie for the opportunity to share our stories, and I will forever cherish the memories made throughout this journey.

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I think being #AerieREAL means just being REAL! Social media these days makes it so easy to get wrapped up in trying to be “perfect”. I am so over society’s definition of perfection. I’m 100% trying to prove that perfection is being you through and through, because no one else on the planet can do that. I’m also a big proponent of living a healthy lifestyle and working hard to reach your goals. That’s when I feel my best, which allows me to be the best for those I love!

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Real Talk with Lilly Cepull

This #AerieREAL artist is all sunshine! Lilly Cepull gave us the scoop about her work and what being #AerieREAL means to her. Read on to see why Lilly was inspired to join our latest #AerieREAL bra photoshoot!

 

We love your designs! What inspires your creativity?

Ah, thank you so much!! I feel as if most of my creativity stems from everyday life around me. I get inspired anywhere, and I mean anywhere! I will be out to eat at a restaurant and love the font of the menus, take a pic, and try and draw the font by hand later (I am a complete lettering nerd, I know!!) Or love the way certain colors on buildings go together. I always try to view the world around me with a creative eye and it makes life even more magical. There really is so much beauty everywhere! That being said, I make sure to have my iPad pro with me at all times so that I can sketch an idea out or create a new color palette on the go.

Real Talk with Lilly Cepull

What’s your favorite media to create with? Why?

So my old self would respond with just the good ole pen and paper combo. But my new high tech self would have to say any digital media. I got my iPad pro this past March and it quickly changed the game for me. Although I still recommend to all letterers, and artists in general, that paper and pen (most people would say pencil but I really have the “just go for it” mentality,) is the best way to start. But eventually lugging around pens, sketchbooks, paints, and all the things to every local coffee shop got old. My iPad really allows me to not strain my arm muscles carrying so many supplies and makes creating digital artwork for clients one thousand times easier. Don’t get me wrong, I still do plenty of work on paper, chalkboards, canvases, jackets, etc. but digital work is my jam at the moment!

What made you want to join this #AerieREAL bra photoshoot?

OMG a million things! I have adored Aerie for as long as I can remember. But the main reason why is because growing up I never really saw petite gals modeling. Or REAL gals for that matter. Pictures were always retouched and made picture perfect. I would look at them and be so upset that I was short or that my skin broke out on the daily. I often felt that I was alone and that no other girls struggled with the problems I did. Well, news flash- we are all in this together!! So being a part of this campaign meant the absolute world to me. I want all girls to realize that you are an absolute babe just the way you are! No retouching necessary.

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I am #AerieREAL because I am not afraid to accept myself exactly the way I am. I realize it is so challenging to be a girl nowadays. Everywhere we look we see retouched photos of societies example of the “perfect woman” and we instantly compare ourselves. The never ending cycle of comparing your body or life to models on billboards, girls on Instagram, or the random gals at the grocery store is exhausting. I have been there and done that. But you have to realize that your “flaws” make you, YOU! They tell your story and represent all you’ve been through and await all that is left to come. All of this being said, it is so important to be yourself and never dare apologize for it. Wear no makeup for the Instagram picture- you’re so dang beautiful without it. Sing and dance as much as you want- life is more fun that way. Wear your sweatpants out to go get tacos- because guess what? Ya look GOOD! So I am #AerieREAL because I am unapologetically myself no matter the time or place. There is only one me and there is only one you. So let’s show the world who we REALLY are by keeping it real.

Want to learn more about our newest #AerieREAL photo shoot? Read about it here!

 

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Real Talk With Grace Ross

Grace is a student, aspiring cosmetic scientist and #AerieREAL! She’s heading back to school at Pace University in NYC after a summer of sharing the #AerieREAL love at our bra photoshoot. Read on to see her tips for shining at school and what #AerieREAL means to her.

Real Talk With Grace Ross

What made you want to join this #AerieREAL bra photoshoot?

Aerie is at the forefront of a great wave of change. This campaign is about being your genuine self and loving every piece of who you are. This campaign is for anyone who ever thought their insecurities made them any less worthy of self love. Aerie is representing every girl and giving them role models that actually look like them. They show case beauty at every angle and every size. I wanted to be a part of this campaign because Aerie actually cares about spreading a positive image that represents everyone. Aerie is genuine and really REAL about portraying people as they are! I feel so honored to be one of these faces and be a part something so inspirational and empowering.Real Talk With Grace Ross

What tips do you have for your other students heading back to school this week?

My advice would be to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things. College is your time to be your most authentic self and explore areas of your own personality independently. Take time to focus on your own mental and physical health and realign yourself to manage stress. Getting through school is all about balance. Balancing responsibilities, work, friends, and family can be a lot to take on. Try to find your own balance and see what works for you. Also, never pay full price for text books! Trust. With enough dedication, you can find a free pdf, a used copy, or a rental for way less.

What is your dream job after graduation?

My dream job is to be an entrepreneur and market my own cosmetic line. I am working on a Chemistry degree and after I graduate I am want to be a cosmetic scientist. Once I kickstart my brand, I will be able to develop unique and fun makeup and skincare. My creative mind, love of science, and passion for discovery will fuel my dream and make it a reality.

Real Talk With Grace RossWhat makes you #AerieREAL?

Being real with myself is what makes me #AerieREAL. Taking a step back and realizing that my reflection has been warped by someone else’s ideas and constructs about beauty. Seeing my feelings and emotions not as weakness, but as the strongest part of who I am. Forming my own definitions and erasing every negative perception I have about myself. Allowing my inner beauty to shine through and sharing that light with everyone. A candle doesn’t lose anything by lighting another candle, it just spreads more light. That’s real, that’s beauty.

 

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#AerieREAL Talks

Our newest #AerieREAL faces came from all across the country (and Canada!) for a bra photoshoot unlike any we’ve ever done. Over 10 days of shooting, 10 groups of women came together to shine and share their stories.

And this is what #AerieREAL is all about.

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Real Talk With Steffi Lynn

#AerieREAL girl Steffi Lynn founded Have A Nice Day, a hand lettering and illustration company. This year, we partnered with Steffi for numerous events and new store openings to help bring color and customization to our Aerie stores. Read on to learn more about Steffi, her business and what makes her #AerieREAL!

Real Talk With Steffi Lynn

How did you first become interested in lettering and design?

I first started in illustrating in high school and started doing lettering once I started attending Pratt in 2012! I’ve always been curious about illustrated typography so it was nice to be able to learn a skill that I could do both in!

What advice do you have for other creatives who are just starting out?

To not be scared to try new styles! I feel like people get stuck wanting to have a certain look to their brand and forget to experiment!

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and what inspired your designs for Aerie’s windows?

I have and am constantly inspired by nature and I think it was a perfect fit to incorporate that into Aerie’s #AerieREAL!

Real Talk With Steffi Lynn

Photo by Meg Farrell

Real Talk With Steffi Lynn

Photo by Meg Farrell

You have worked on several projects for Aerie. What has been your favorite so far?  

Illustrating and designing the store windows is definitely my favorite so far! I love projects that incorporate multiple materials.  All the illustrations/lettering are flat but I got to do layers with acrylic and wood which makes it more dimensional and turns something simple into a more intriguing piece.

 What makes you #AerieREAL?

I’m not afraid to be myself and not scared to take action to achieve my goals! I love what I do and I express myself through all of my creations to try to bring joy to everyone around me!

Real Talk With Steffi Lynn

Want to learn more about our new store design? Read more about them here!

 

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