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 Sarah Herron

Sarah Herron founded SheLift, a non-profit that empowers girls with physical differences to discover confidence through outdoor adventures and body-positive mentorship. Read on to learn more about Sarah and SheLift’s story and what makes her #AerieREAL!

Real Talk With Sarah Herron

What inspired you to start SheLift?

Growing up as an early 2000’s teen, we only had TV and magazines to idolize our favorite entertainers and role models. There was no Instragram, or platforms for connection that removed the barrier of real human condition. Magazine photos were always photoshopped and the models we saw rise to the top were always impossibly skinny and perfect. I never saw a single women in the media who resembled me or my body. I had one arm, I was chubby and as far as I knew I was completely alone. I compared myself to those I saw and developed disordered eating and depression. I was in my twenties before I ever saw a woman with a limb difference in a movie and it was Bethany Hamilton in Soul Surfer. A few years later I set out to find love on ABC’s The Bachelor and quickly discovered that for millions of women across the world, I, too was the first woman they’d seen on TV that they could relate to. I wasn’t sure how to react or mobilize the groundswell of women coping with physical differences in a world that judges them by appearance. So I continued to do my thing – I got active, I got healthy and I shared my successes and my feelings to Instagram. When I discovered that my accomplishments in outdoor recreation and community directly correlated to my improved confidence and mental health, I realized this was my angle to make impact. I started SheLift with a mission to normalize differences by empowering girls with physical differences to improve self-acceptance and confidence through outdoor adventures and body-positive mentorship. SheLift provides once-in-a-lifetime experiences to young women with differences to help them live authentic lives and connect with others.

We just returned from a fundraising retreat in Mexico last month where 20 women – of different age and ability – came together to connect, share and conquer their obstacles. Over the weekend we went on adventures and practiced self-care and discussed the things that make us different but beautiful. You can read more about the trip and ways to join a future retreat here.

Real Talk With Sarah Herron

What advice do you have for someone looking to overcome a challenge in their life?

The best advice I can offer someone trying to overcome a challenge is to seek connection. When we keep our story and our struggle bottled up, we cannot rise from it.  When you share your struggles out loud (with a trusting support group), you’ll be surprised how many other women come forward saying “oh yeah, I feel that way, too!” There’s empowerment in simply knowing you’re not alone.

SheLift provides mentors for girls involved. Who is your role model and why?

My role model is my friend Debbie. I initially met Debbie through her husband Joe, who I worked with. Debbie is a personal trainer and was looking for new clients and Joe knew I’d be up for the challenge. Immediately I loved working out with Debbie because she didn’t approach training like a drill sergeant or with a bootcamp intensity. Instead, she coached that the importance of fitness and training is to become stronger and healthier and that that doesn’t mean exerting energy to the point of exhaustion. More simply put, Debbie didn’t make me fear fitness. As I continued to train, Debbie and I formed a strong friendship – she was coaching my body and my mind. Every week we would discuss the importance of positive self-talk and overcoming self-limiting beliefs. Despite my best effort to dismiss Debbie’s compliments when I was feeling “fat” or “ugly,” she always reminded me that it’s important I practice good mental health as well as physical health. Debbie is only a few years older than me, but she is a mom and an entrepreneur on a mission. She is empowering postpartum mom-bods to love the skin they’re in. She’s turned her passion of instilling “beauty is strength” into an online training program for moms called “Tough Mamas.”

Real Talk With Sarah HerronWhat makes you an Role Model?

I’ve never liked calling myself a role model because the truth is, I’m still human and I am very much imperfect. I never set out with a mission to lead or set an example, I just started living my life as an authentic person and that seemed to catch on! It’s part of my emotional makeup to want to help girls be the best version of themselves and to discover their self worth and strengths. Despite how many inspirational quotes I read or preach, I believe women are wired for personal struggle. So when people ask me what makes me a role model, I guess I’d say it’s because I’m the non-role model, role model. I’m just a person trying to get through each day like the next. I have strong days and healthy days but I also have bad days and fat days – and that’s OK. At the end of the day, I hope that by sharing my story, other women will realize they’re not alone in their journey.

How does the #AerieREAL message align with SheLift’s beliefs?

SheLift is about empowering women to live their most authentic lives. This means encouraging girls to embrace their imperfections and the qualities that make them unique and lovable and to let go of self-comparison. Through social media, I am trying to pull back the curtain on what differences look like. If there’s more visibility to size, shape, disability, etc, we begin to normalize differences and reject beliefs that only skinny is pretty. The #AerieREAL campaign is leading the same mission. It’s so important to be showing impressionable young women that bodies aren’t perfect! Putting photos of un-photoshopped women in media will help other women realise “Oh, her stomach looks like mine!” or “omg, she has stretch marks, too!” and ultimately help reduce eating disorders and depression. We’re both on a mission saying “It’s OK to have imperfections and you’re certainly not alone.”

Real Talk With Sarah Herron

What makes you #AerieREAL? Comment below & tell us! For more Real Talks, see here!

 

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Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

We met Nia last year, and since then she’s been inspiring us with her honesty about natural beauty, insecurities and confidence. Nia’s curls were always huge part of her life—she co-founded the Go With The Fro Tour, a movement to empower women with natural curls—but when she realized that her hair was starting to define her, she knew she had to let it go. We talked to Nia about that process and what she learned from it. Read on for more from this #AerieREAL Role Model!

 

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

You’ve recently changed your look! Tell us why you decided to cut your hair.  

I knew I wanted to let go of my hair when the image of the woman I aspired to be wasn’t who I was. I was bored of looking the same every day just for validation through social media. I felt unhappy and drained but I couldn’t figure out why until I listed all the things I felt were holding me back. I wanted a fresh start and to completely step out of my comfort zone to finally see myself. I feel amazing, I feel so confident and free.

 

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

What did you learn in the process?

That you should never remain in a career, relationship or friendship just because of the comfort. I could’ve remained talking about hair just because it was what I built my brand on but it wasn’t what I was truly passionate about anymore. I also learned that some people will be in your life just because of how you look which is sad but it made me appreciate the people in my life who love me for me. I also learned that I used to spend way too much time doing my hair because I can now sleep for an extra hour!

 

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

#AerieREAL is about standing together and feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin. How do you personally identify with that message?

I have never felt more confident and comfortable in my skin as my comfort used to lie within my hair. I hid all of my insecurities underneath my hair because people always gravitated towards it. At first it was fun being known for my hair but I couldn’t keep up with the image of always having to look the same, I felt obliged to always wear my hair out for the gratification of others and thats when I knew I was no longer living for myself. I now identify with it through acceptance of my natural beauty, my intelligence, my kind soul and my ability to always evolve.

Real Talk With Nia PettittWho is your role model and why?

My role model is the older version of myself. We all have this idea in our head of who we want to be and sometimes we never know how we are going to get there. Whether that is a healthier version, a smarter one, a version that is more stylish or more happy. My version is a woman that doesn’t allow likes to validate her worth, that is free with herself to be herself at all times and never feel like she has to be in a box.

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

What makes you an #AerieREAL Role Model?

I no longer look at my flaws as flaws. I look at my stretch marks as lines of love from girl to woman. I look at my acne scars as reminders to stop stressing over unnecessary things. I look at the hair which grows on my skin as a blanket and my belly button as a cool and unique part of me. I am an #AerieREAL Role Model because I understand that the natural me is the best version of me.

How do you stay true to yourself? Comment below & tell us what makes YOU an #AerieREAL Role Model.

 

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Strong. Beautiful. YOU!

Strong. Beautiful. YOU!

We’re so proud to celebrate our fourth year partnering with NEDA, a non-profit that supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Aerie sponsors all NEDA walks across the country that help raise money for advocacy and educational programs and provide support for local communities.

Strong. Beautiful. YOU!

Along with our sponsorship, #AerieREAL Role Model, Iskra Lawrence, will continue to partner with the non-profit as a NEDA Ambassador and attend walks throughout the year. Iskra is always open about her personal journey of learning to accept her body and love her REAL self, and her brave story helps encourage others to do the same.

Strong. Beautiful. YOU!As always, we’re launching a limited-edition collection so you can shop to support NEDA. This year, not only did we bring back our Limited-Edition NEDA Tee, but we also added three styles of NEDA undies! Shop the tee and boybriefs and we’ll donate 100% of sales to NEDA. Want to show your support instead? This spring and summer, we’ll donate $1 (now up to $25,000!) to NEDA for every unretouched swim photo or video you share with #AerieREAL.

Check out Aerie.com/AerieSupports and MyNEDA.org to learn more about NEDA and for additional resources. Always remember… love yourself just as you are. YOU are #AerieREAL!

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Real Talk With Jordan Jones of Packed Party

We talked to Jordan Jones, founder of the MOST fun Packed Party gifts brand. Find out how she started her business in her apartment and read about her must-haves for your holiday parties this season. Check out our fave Packed Party items at our Spring Street Pop-Up and at Aerie.com now!

 

How did you come up with the idea for Packed Party?

The idea for Packed Party came to me in a dream in 2013. I had moved to San Francisco not knowing anyone, was sort of feeling sorry for myself one evening in my apartment and called my mom who told me I was having a Pity Party for myself and to go to bed. Thank goodness I listened to her because I went to bed and woke up from a dream about sending a physical Pity Party to myself. I scoured the internet for anything like it and there was nothing that existed so I wrote a business plan for Packed Party right there and sent it to my dad the very next day.

 

What advice do you have for girls who want to start their own companies?

If it’s an idea you’re truly passionate about, dive in head-first fearlessly. No one can stop a woman with passion. I loved Packed Party from the night it came to me in my dream, I knew no one could do it better than me at 23 and today at 27 I still believe that. I have a passion for making people’s days and giving great gifts so I’m truly doing what I love. There will always be nay sayers or people who will try and get in the way, but when you know in your heart of hearts you’re the person to do the job and you love it, there’s no stopping you.

 

We love the Packed Party Pom Pom Magnets! What do you love most about the pom trend?

Thank you! Me too!! I am a pom pom fanatic. I have been since I was little weirdly so it makes a lot of sense so many of our fall + holiday items have poms on them! I think details are incredibly important so adding a pom to anything makes it a little bit better and pops it!

Real Talk With Jordan Jones of Packed Party

Packed Party is our go-to for unique gifts! What are your must-haves for the ultimate holiday party?

I love a good holiday party! I love creating a great tablescape story and always look to my friend Darcy Miller for inspiration in this department. As far as the actual place setting I love putting a staple in place people can keep with them like a Disco Drink or some sort of fun gift with someone’s name attached to it. Can never go wrong with a disco ball on the table, right?

 

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I pride myself on keeping it very real with people. Everyone who knows me knows where they stand with me, I have a lot of trouble hiding my emotions, ha. My mom raised me to be really confident in who I am and never sort of “pretend” to be anyone else so I don’t wear much make-up and that’s sort of set the tone in our office – we’re all about keeping it easy, natural, and functional. No one here is trying to be anyone they’re not which I love. Being a Party Girl means being confident in the skin you’re in and owning whatever it is you’re dealing with like a Pity Party, celebrating yourself for that big raise at work with a Yay, You, you-name-it.

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Take Care Of Your Girls! #AerieSUPPORTS Bright Pink

Take Care Of Your Girls! #AerieSUPPORTS Bright PinkWe’re so proud to announce our 8th year partnering with Bright Pink®! Bright Pink is a non-profit dedicated to prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancers in young women. This year, we’re donating 100% of sales of our Limited-Edition Bright Pink Tee and Bright Pink Pins in stores and at Aerie.com to the non-profit. We’re also co-hosting wellness workshops with Bright Pink in stores and at college campuses to show  you how to be proactive about your health.

On 9.28, we’re dedicating the entire day to taking care of your girls! In US Aerie stores and at Aerie.com, we’ll match 5% of ALL sales (up to $50K) that day in donations to Bright Pink.

Take Care Of Your Girls! #AerieSUPPORTS Bright PinkLater that night, we’re bringing Bright Pink Ambassadors to four stores on the east coast. The ambassadors will be there to provide educational resources and answer any questions about Bright Pink, breast health and how you can be smart about your health. You’ll also get a FREE notebook, sips and snacks when you stop in. Events will be held at these stores from 6 to 8pm on 9.28:

Roosevelt Field Mall, NY

King of Prussia Mall, PA

Northshore Mall, Boston

Woodfield Mall, Chicago

To encourage our AEO family to take charge of their health, we’ll also be offering wellness activities at our corporate offices in Pittsburgh and NYC. Follow along on Insta stories on Thursday to see all the ways we’ll be honoring Bright Pink.

To learn more about Bright Pink and how to be proactive about your breast and ovarian health, head to their website for more information or check out our #AerieSupports page to learn more about our partnership!

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