Introducing the 2017-18 Aerie REAL Ambassador Team!

We’re so excited to be working with Aerie this year to spread body positivity on campuses across the country. Throughout the program, our 35 amazing ambassadors will be tasked with the mission of helping girls feel good about their REAL selves; both inside and out. From on-campus events to weekly digital content creation, these girls will be joining the movement and spreading the love on behalf of Aerie. Learn more about what makes these girls #AerieREAL below!

“What makes me #AerieREAL is my motivation to empower women to feel good about themselves no matter what they do or what they look like. A simple compliment or word of encouragement can go a long way.” – Ama Appiah, University of Connecticut [@amaappiah]

“To me being #AerieREAL means being authentic and true to yourself and who you want to be regardless of others. I’d rather be true to myself then pretend to be something or someone that I’m not.” – Ella Vanderbilt-Fried, Ohio State University [@ellahazel328]

“I am #AerieREAL because I embrace my flaws and I am not afraid to be completely (and happily) myself.” – Cassidy Wilshire, Rutgers University [@cassidywiltshire]

“I’m #AerieREAL because I choose to love myself in whatever condition I’m in. I never try to be anything but myself and I’m perfectly happy being just myself.” – Annabelle Schmitt, Pennsylvania State University [@a_nnabae]

“I am #AerieREAL because I love myself and every flaw that comes with that. I really want to use this platform as a way to encourage girls to think more positively about themselves and feel like they are perfect just the way they are!” – Anna Grady Wilson, Clemson University [@annagrady]

“I pride myself in being a feminist that is so down for empowering women. Everyone has a different body type and that should be embraced! I am confident in myself and the power women have.” – Brenna DeSalvo, Boston University [@brennaclairex]

“Sometimes it’s tough to accept your flaws while growing up seeing the idealistic way a woman “should” look everywhere. Being #AerieReal means accepting and loving all my flaws because they truly make me who I am.” – Morgan Baker, University of Wisconsin – Madison [@morgiibaker]

“My journey to find my self-love and getting to the point where I love who I am inside and out with my flaws included is what makes me #AerieREAL.” – Emily Chertow, Pennsylvania State University [@echertow]


“I am #AerieREAL because I make it my mission to promote body positivity in all girls. I am so excited to encourage all types of women on and off campus to accept their “flaws” and flaunt the amazing aspects of who they are as powerful and real individuals!” – Kate McKeaney, University of Pittsburgh [@katemckeaney]

“I am #AerieREAL because I have a fit and healthy body! All bodies are beautiful, so keeping it healthy is what really matters. Strong is beautiful!” – Candice Ho, University of Maryland [@candicaramel]

“I am #AerieREAL because I am excited when girls know and embrace their self-worth! :)” – Alexandra Valanzola, University of Connecticut [@lexivalanzola]

“I think what makes me #AerieREAL is my ability to see through my biggest flaws and handle them with confidence. Especially in our social media-influenced society, I believe in taking every notion to be as real as possible, and attempt to portray myself in this manner at all times.” – Mara Nasui, University of Wisconsin – Madison [@maranasui]

“I am empowered and confident in the skin I have. I know I am beautiful and capable regardless of whatever flaws I have.” – Emily Wells, North Carolina State University [@docia_and_mimosas]

“I’m #AerieREAL because I’ve learned to put myself first. I disregard the images magazines put on their pages because the girls in those photos are not the definition of perfect. Beauty is only skin deep and I have so much to offer to the world!” – Tinah Ogalo, Clemson University [@tinah.ogalo]

“I am #AerieREAL because although I am not perfect, I know that everything about me, good and bad, adds up to something great. My worth is held not in how others view me, but how well I view myself, because those flaws and imperfections make something beautiful and worth getting to know!” – Nikki Paige, North Carolina State University [@nikkipaige1396]

“I am #AerieREAL because I truly believe that every women is beautiful, full of strength, and uniquely inspirational and I wish that every woman could see that in themselves. No matter your size, skin color, sexuality, religion, etc., every woman deserves to feel like a goddess in all aspects of their lives. ” – Meghan O’Neil, University of Connecticut [@moneilll]

“I think what makes me #AerieREAL is my confidence in myself and my dreams. I always try to focus on what I want to do with my life and how to get there rather than allowing others to persuade me otherwise.” – Carson Abernathy, Boston University [@carsonab]

“I have struggled with self-acceptance for a long time. Day-by-day I am becoming stronger and happier, and learning to love myself despite my faults. I am not perfect; I am real.” – Danielle LaPerche, North Carolina State University [@daniellelaperche]

“I’m #AerieREAL because no one else is like me, and that should be celebrated.” – Olivia Dubro, Clemson University [@dubroskiii]

“I’m #AerieREAL because it brings me so much joy to help other girls to be able to love their body the way I love mine.” – Rachael Balent, University of Pittsburgh [@rachaelbalent]

“What makes me #AerieREAL is my ability to not only recognize my imperfections, but more importantly to embrace them.” – Emily Godfrey, Pennsylvania State University [@emmilygodfrey]

“Now that I am in my twenties, what I once thought of as flaws, I now view as attributes that marks me as an individual and this is why I believe I am #AerieREAL.” – Katie Mueller, Ohio State University [@katie_mueller5]

“I am #AerieREAL because I love the body that I have. I throw the haters aside, dress how I want and flaunt the body my momma gave me.” – Michelle Pelowski, University of Wisconsin – Madison [@itsyogurl_ilymily]

“I believe that everyone is beautiful on the outside. What really matters is the beauty on the inside and if you are honest.” – Marissa Paolella, Clemson University [@marissa_paolella]

“What makes me #AerieREAL is the level of comfort I have with myself. I have learned to love my body and my personality, despite the many flaws that come with them.” – Megan Rust, University of Maryland [@megan_rust]

Follow along with the girls by searching #AerieAmbassador on Instagram and Twitter, and join the mission yourself by using #AerieREAL!

Calvin Klein’s Racy Ads Spark Backlash

Calvin Klein 1
Calvin Klein is no stranger to stirring up controversy. With their history of overtly sexual advertisements – mainly during the ’90s, the brand truly takes “sex sells” to heart when it comes to promoting their image. Given their recent surge in popularity, primarily among Millennial consumers, it seems like their controversial tactics may be working.

 

One of the keys to Calvin Klein’s success is directing their advertising efforts towards Millennials through collaborations with pop culture icons such as Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber, and Nick Jonas. However, the brand is currently under fire for their newest ads, that many argue are overly explicit and provocative.

 

Calvin Klein 2In one photo, 23-year-old Danish actress Klara Kristin is seated on a couch, legs open, and the copy reads, “I seduce in #mycalvins.” Probably the most controversial of the campaign is the up-skirt shot of Kristin, accompanied by the copy that reads, “I flash in #mycalvins.” Outraged by these racy advertisements, people are turning to social media to express their concerns: do the ads promote and perpetuate misogyny, peeping toms, pornography, sexual harassment and rape culture? Many would agree that they do.

 

 

However, some argue that the ads express a unique empowerment through the first person point of view. The line, “I ___ in #mycalvins,” conveys a sense of autonomy that gives the subject a voice and the power of decision. Kristin actually defended the photo in an Instagram post with the caption, “I love this photo @harleyweir took of me… all this discussion about it makes me think about how alienated and scared some people are to the female human body. Be and love yourself and your sexuality #girlpower.” Kendall Jenner has also voiced her opinion on the campaign. In behind-the-scenes footage that Calvin Klein posted on their Instagram, Jenner answers how she would define a strong woman: “I think a strong woman is independent, don’t need no man, can like walk into a room by herself and not be bothered and can go anywhere by herself and not need a million people around her–I think that’s a really strong woman.”

 

Calvin Klein 3Amidst the heated debate, people cannot seem to agree on whether these ads are positive or negative. However, I believe that they’re neither one nor the other, but instead more complex in nature. On one hand, they can certainly serve as statements of empowerment and bodily ownership. Calvin Klein may be trying to make the statement that society should not be afraid to openly express sexuality. However, we cannot disregard in our analysis the historical objectification and hypersexualization of women in the media and its effect on society today. There’s the running critique that some women take their objectification upon themselves and mistake it for empowerment. I agree with this opinion to some extent, but I think the key here is balance. Yes, women can certainly feel powerful and confident by expressing their sexuality and celebrating their bodies. However, we should also feel empowered by the many other facets of our identities, because we are more than just sexual beings.

 

Calvin Klein 4

How adidas Leapt from Athletic Style to Street Style

stansmith

As a twenty-something with an interest in fashion and pop culture, I like to think I am always up on the latest trends and “in the know.” Therefore, it was a huge surprise to me when adidas apparel burst back on the scene a couple of years ago, seemingly out of nowhere. And at the forefront of the new adidas fashion wave was the Stan Smith tennis shoes. These white tennis shoes were popping up everywhere, replacing the neon Nike running shoes that (literally) ran the show my freshman and sophomore years of college. I was extremely interested in this adidas takeover and decided to trace this trend back to its roots.

 

The rise of the Stan Smiths can be attributed to the marketing genius of Jon Wexler, adidas Global Director of Entertainment and Influencer marketing. It seems as if the return of these sneakers was a calculated marketing move by the adidas team way back in 2009. They decided to revamp the classic Stan Smith tennis sneaker in a way that would appeal to Millennials. An article by The Guardian discusses this marketing strategy and states that Wexler “pretty much confirmed everything Miranda Priestly says in the legendary cerulean blue Gap jumper monologue in The Devil Wears Prada… He describes the Stan phenomenon as ‘the classic model of a trend continuum actually working.’” Which basically means, for those who haven’t seen The Devil Wears Prada, that the fashion industry leaders start trends by putting their products in the hands of trendsetters. These trendy individuals are being watched by the masses and once they are spotted wearing a new brand, it immediately becomes popular.

 

Wexler chooses who will represent adidas based on if they are authentic and if their actions align with the adidas brand. He stated in an interview with Complex that adidas looks for “people who are creative and groundbreaking, who set trends and forge their own paths and are not afraid of what people are going to say about that. Obviously the people [adidas works with] are iconic, because it is the most iconic brand in the world.” Wexler knew that he had to showcase the revamped Stan Smith sneaker with some of the most influential and iconic personnel in the fashion industry. He decided to entrust this task to Phoebe Philo, the creative director of Celine. He put the sneakers on her more-than-capable feet and the rest was history. When Philo wore Stan Smiths as she came out for the end-of-fashion-show bow during 2010 Paris Fashion Week, a trend was born. Philo was also one of Time’s Most Influential People in 2014 so that just emphasizes how putting the Stan Smiths on her feet was the best move adidas could make.

 

YMC Blog Image 3Since the reveal of the new sneakers in 2010 things have been looking good for the Stan Smiths and adidas as a whole. In 2013, Gisele graced the cover of Paris Vogue wearing nothing but Stan Smiths. In 2014, A$ASP Rocky and Pharrell Williams both made custom Stan Smiths. North West was also spotted wearing a pair of the sneakers, displaying the influence of the Kanye West-adidas partnership. The impact of adidas’ partnering with some of the biggest names in the industry is huge. These individuals have the ability to start a trend with one photo. Wexler discussed this stating, “When Kanye shows up in GQ wearing Pure Boosts or Stan Smiths, I’ve got to assume there is an impact [on sales].”

 

YMC Blog Image 4As for me, I purchased my first pair of Stan Smiths in the spring of 2015. I wore them with dresses, skirts, jeans, overalls…you name it. I was already known as the girl who was always wearing sneakers anyway, I just made the transition from Converse to adidas. Converse used to be my go-to sneaker but I, like most Millennials, have traded in basketball sneakers for tennis sneakers and Chucks for Stans. I was wearing my Stan Smiths over the summer on the New York City subway going to Brooklyn. A guy sitting across from me gave me a little head nod and mumbled, “Cool Smiths.” If a random hipster in Brooklyn compliments your sneakers, you know they’re cool. The innate coolness of the Stan Smiths was widely accepted by 2015 and adidas certainly took the chance to capitalize on this new image of their brand.

 

YMC Blog Image 5

 

 

New York, the (Big) Apple of My Eye – by Ellie Williams

brand reps pose with Jessica Simpson in New York City

Without a doubt in my mind, my trip to New York City as a Jessica Simpson Campus Manager was the coolest experience I’ve ever had. Upon arriving in the concrete jungle, my co-manager and I met up with the other campus reps in the luxurious lobby of our hotel. When it was time to leave for Jessica Simpson’s exclusive 10th Anniversary Collection launch party, I raced into the first cab in sight. Together, all twenty of us marched into the party at the elegant Tavern on the Green, under a canopy of lights like stars in the brightest city in America.

Jessica Simpson and brand rep taking selfieWhile we were certainly some of the youngest attendees there, it was surprisingly easy to talk to people! I met so many genuine and down-to-earth ladies and gentlemen, and exchanged phone numbers with the current Jessica Simpson intern. I danced to the band playing “Don’t Stop Believing” and received fashion tips from one of Jessica’s close friends. But the highlight of the night was when Jessica took the time for a photo-op and to socialize with all of the Campus Managers. By the end of the party, no one wanted to leave. What we didn’t know at the time was that the next day would be just as eventful!

The following day we had lunch with the Jessica Simpson brand team from Sequential Brands Group, where we had the opportunity to pick the brains of successful individuals in the fashion, marketing, and PR industries. After lunch, the Director of PR for Jessica Simpson gave us a tour of the company’s showrooms. My co-manager and I were attached to her hip the entire time, and learned as much as we could.

The showrooms were beautiful; white, sleek, and clean, just as you’d imagine. We visited the apparel room first, which featured samples of all potential future lines. Across the hall, a sales rep was in a buying meeting, showing off the new children’s clothing. Interestingly, I found out that any apparel that doesn’t make it to the selling floor is sent to a fashion vault, where it is used for future inspiration or later seasons. No wasted creativity here! I also learned that by the time the product makes it to the stores, it’s fairly old news to the design team. They work months in advance to prepare the products that we can buy.

Jessica Simpson fashion displayAfter visiting the apparel showroom, we made our way a few blocks down to the accessory showroom where we walked into a handbag design meeting that Tina Simpson was leading. Women I met the night before at the party were gathered around a table bouncing around ideas on how to improve a certain piece. I didn’t realize the extent of planning and detail that goes into every item before it hits the shelves!

After that meeting, we made our way to our final stop, the jewelry room. Let me just say, I am SO excited for the future Jessica Simpson jewelry line to come out! At the end of the tour, the Jessica Simpson team thoughtfully gifted all of the Campus Managers a purse and a necklace from the upcoming collection. I was sad to part ways at the end of the week, but it was such an incredible and unforgettable couple of days.

If I were to write about all the fun things we did on our trip, it would be a 100 page novel. It was truly an incredible experience. I learned so much in such a short amount of time! This experience has inspired me to work in the PR/Marketing industry, move to New York, and embrace any opportunity I can. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to represent Jessica Simpson as a Campus Manager for Youth Marketing Connection.

Jessica Simpson's campus brand manager

Millennial Guide to Fashion: Dress Dynamic

“Normal” isn’t part of the YMC team’s vernacular. As a matter of fact, “normal” is the last word we’d use to describe both ourselves & our network of collegiate influencers, which is why we’re not all that surprised that the “Dress Normal” campaign Gap launched this Fall hasn’t been a sartorial sensation – and that’s putting it nicely.

 

Dress Dynamic - Dress Normal Example

 

In August, Gap released photos of celebrities – like Hollywood powerhouse Angelica Houston and Girls favorite Zosia Mamet – layered in basic, black staples and unassuming outwear. Each snapshot was emblazoned with the brand’s iconic square logo and the head-scratching catchphrase, “Dress Normal.” Other images encourage shoppers to wear “simple clothes for you to complicate,” and opt to “let your actions speak louder than your clothes.”

 

Dress Normal Example 2

 

The truth is, if given the choice between complicated clothes and a complicated life, we’d wear mixed prints and 17 necklaces any day of the week. As millennials, we’d rather our clothes reflect our actions as opposed to muting them.

We’re the 23-year-old, ambitious, and painfully unique women of YMC. We’re here to rise to the occasion and dress for it. Below, learn how the way we dress enhances our dreams, our ­­­agenda, and our determination.

 

YMC suggested ad for Gap to dress for the weekend

alternative Gap ad by YMC says dress seasonally

alternative Gap ad by YMC says dress festive

alternative Gap ad by YMC says dress for adventure

alternative Gap ad by YMC says dress spirited

 

A Few Thoughts for Nine West

This week, Nine West shared a rather interesting/warped/mid-century parallel between women and footwear. The brand believes that the ladies of 2014 require shoes that fit only one of two occasions – husband hunting (because, let’s face it, every hunk loves a chunky kitten heel) or early parenting (yeah, let’s try to balance mommy-hood on a 4-inch spike stiletto).

 

Nine West husband hunting ad

 

Nine West fails to realize that today’s 20-something-year-old gal is racing against the clock – and not just the biological one. We’re also on-the-prowl for a 4.0, prized internships, a dream job, and success – no husband required.

 

tweet to Nine West about husband hunting

 

So, Nine West, enjoy a portal into the real footwear needs of millennial women. Oh, and rest assured, the shoes we need are already in our closets – and we found them on sale.

 

new ad campaign for Nine West with shoes for the real world new ad campaign for Nine West with shoes for interviews new ad campaign for Nine West with shoes for exploring the world new ad campaign for Nine West with shoes for being a champion new ad campaign for Nine West with shoes for making the world your playground