This year, the creative minds behind the Aerie brand came together for a photoshoot unlike anything we’ve ever done! We threw an exciting PJ party for our associates to celebrate the holiday season in our favorite thing: all comfy everything! We caught up with Summer, our VP of Aerie Creative Design, to hear all about the hard work and preparation that went into creating everything from the concept to the final images.

What was the inspiration for this photoshoot?

First, I should share the “challenge”. In addition to shooting a new arrivals capsule, we were asked to rethink about how PJ pants could show up differently and have a more interruptive moment. Some chit chat about seasonality, Friendsgiving and holiday get-togethers led to a mention ugly sweater parties, which then led to the question, “why do the sweaters need to be ugly?” … Well, they don’t! They can be cool vintage sweaters that are styled back to our PJs for a quirky & fresh update to wear out. BINGO! From there, the hunt for sweaters commenced and inspiration began to accumulate.

My brain (like most) is constantly flooded with inspiration from everywhere for a multitude of simultaneous projects so I like to start with a good ol’ list to help inform the creative photo/video direction, location, props, and cast.

• VINTAGE SWEATERS (sweater stories)

• Reindeer. Snowflakes. Fair isle. (Like the matching sweaters Uncle John & Aunt Barb wore from Thanksgiving to New Years. Quintessential nostalgia.)

• A one-of-a-kind thrift shop find. A hand-knitted treasure, made for you! Worn-in cozy perfection. Less than $20! Nothing compares to something that was made with love and has stood the test of time.

• An ex bf’s AE sweater from the 90s that is somehow still saturated with the scent of high school cologne.

• Velvet. Tinsel. Crystal. Technicolor. Solid Gold. Plaidness (yes, that’s plaid + madness). Memorable movie characters. Planimetric composition. Flash photography. Edgar Leetag (American painter). Barrettes. Berets. Top hat. Sweatbands. Swim. Red lipstick. Holiday party invitations. Real photo albums. Smells & tastes like a good memory. Sounds like…

  • Oogum Boogum Song” Brenton Wood
  • Time (You and 1)” Khruangbin
  • “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” Leo Sayer
  • Estrelar” Marcos Valle
  • I Love Video” New Paradise
  • Dance This Mess Around” B-52’s
  • Every 1’s a Winner” Hot Chocolate
  • Classic” The Knocks f/ Fetty Wap & Powers

Describe the concept to us in a few words!

Oh what fun!
A royal invitation to party in your pjs.

Why did you choose to use associates as models?

Truly, the desire to feature our employees originated from our president, Jen Foyle. She really wanted this shoot to represent people from various departments as well as our family of brands. It was a way to bring people together who may not have otherwise met and celebrate them! We invited them to join us for a PJ party and gave them the royal photoshoot treatment: a little glam, a little glitz, and a whole lot of goofing off.

What was your favorite part?

Editing the photos and making a special lookbook for my coworkers to enjoy.

Can we look forward to more model work by Aerie and AE associates in the future?

100% Yes. Anytime. Call me.
It has also been said that this will be an annual occurrence so ALL ideas are welcomed.

What do you hope is conveyed most through the imagery and concept?

A jolly good time. Party fits for you and your fam.

Merry Mocktails!

1 1/2 cups of chilly apple juice

1 1/4 cups of frozen white grape juice

2 1/4 cups of chilly club soda

2 pretty mint sprigs

Stir up apple juice & grape concentrate until nicely melted together. Pour in club soda. Add mint! Serve frosty and cheers to peace, love & PJ parties!

How are you celebrating your fam in the new year? Let us know your cheers & toasts in the comments!

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