Recently, Jennifer Foyle got a two-page, handwritten letter from an Aerie customer. It was complete with photos, and thanks for what the lingerie and apparel company has done for her body image.
"That's something that happens every day in this brand and that is what makes us so special," Foyle, Aerie's global brand president, told CNBC recently.
Long before the term "body positive" became fashionable, Aerie, which is owned by teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters, has been a forerunner in promoting the visibility of women with a range of shapes and sizes.
While major magazines like Sports Illustrated began featuring plus-size models in 2016, Aerie began its no airbrushing, "Aerie Real" campaign, using regular-looking models in 2014.
Female shoppers can also upload selfies of themselves — and all their flaws — using the hashtag "AerieReal," Foyle said. The campaign represents a stark contrast from other lingerie brands that showcase near-flawless models.
"Now everyone is kind of doing it because it's the trendy thing to do and it's cool to be body-accepting," said Janine Stichter, an equity analyst at Jefferies, who tracks the intimates market.
Whereas Aerie was the first, Stichter said, "it comes off as more authentic."