Aerie’s Hidden Gems Marketplace wasn’t hidden for long. Fans of the intimates brand queued around the block just before its opening at noon on Tuesday.
Brand partners Cara Delevingne, Laura Harrier, Aly Raisman and Ava Phillippe stopped by the Gansevoort Plaza pop-up, which feted the launch of Aerie’s fall collection. The foursome made their way around the marketplace, posing for photos at the DJ booth and in front of a bra-fitting station.
Local businesses across New York City staged stalls at the event: florist Brooklyn Blooms allowed visitors to craft their own bouquets, while Inked By Dani decorated attendees with trendy temporary tattoos.
“Aerie is a hidden gem itself, so we were inspired by the hidden gems of New York City,” said Stacey McCormick, Aerie’s chief marketing officer. “We have over 400 local stores within many, many communities all across the country. So localization is such a big deal for us.”
Kiosks hosted by PopUp Bagels and Schmackary’s Cookies handed out complimentary treats, the former nicknaming their sample “Be schmear” — a play on the brand’s slogan “Be real.”
Since its inception in 2006, Aerie has built a cult following around its cozy staples, as well as its message; American Eagle’s sister label was the first major intimates retailer to feature a diverse range of models, and they don’t photoshop their campaigns.
“I’ve always been really interested in Aerie’s branding, which focuses on empowering women and being authentic and real and true to you,” Phillippe said. “That really resonates with me, so it was just a natural partnership.”
Raisman, who’s worked with the brand for six years, compares Aerie to family. “It’s been such an incredible experience,” she said. “Aerie has really helped me learn more about my own body, and my relationship to my body. The fact they don’t retouch anything helps me [with] the way that I see myself, too.”
The Hidden Gems Marketplace also featured a bra donation bin pegged to Aerie’s charity partner, Free the Girls. The nonprofit empowers survivors of sex trafficking, providing economic opportunity by giving them gently used bras to sell to other local women.
“They’re near and dear to our hearts just because of their mission,” McCormick said. “Knowing that our bras can go to something good is fantastic.”