Fashion is a fast paced industry that constantly looks to the future and re-invents itself. So it’s surprising how behind it is in terms of gender, diversity and age. Despite people like me (trend forecasters) highlighting the ever changing landscape, the retail industry in particular seems to be stuck in some kind of time warp where consumers want to buy winter coats in August, long queues at the check out the norm and older people don’t exist.
Baby Boomers have been largely ignored in advertising, fashion and the media in the past – despite driving more sales than millennials. But according to a recent feature on the Business of Fashion,, some companies are changing preconceptions by using older models in their advertising campaigns and a by-product of this is their appeal to the millennial and Gen-Z generations – as they illustrate that life doesn’t end after the age of 50.
“When you show an older woman in a campaign, not only does she have the power to inspire a younger person, but also the power to inspire her generation,” says Ari Seth Cohen, 36-year-old founder of Advanced Style.
Personally I’m not convinced just using older models is enough to change things, as we have been talking about this for the last 9 years on this blog and we are still complaining about the lack of great clothes aimed at our age group, the beauty industries focus on anti ageing and the media’s obsession with millennials – as well as the huge very real issue of ageism in the workplace.
Until ordinary older people are seen as relevant members of society and feature in all areas of modern life, things won’t change. A few very thin, beautiful older women may be aspirational, but they are in the minority and quite frankly using them to attract millennials is questionable and highlights the corporate worlds continuing panic around attracting younger consumers!
There is hope however and two new magazines aimed at older readers have been brought to our attention by our readers.
Goldie magazine is aimed at ‘the baby boomer generation, who have an ageless attitude to living’. Started by four post 50 entrepreneurial business creatives who have combined their talents in the fields of journalism, television, film making and the arts, to produce and independently publish a quarterly magazine, it’s dedicated to the narrative of a zeitgeist movement of flourishing older people.
They think there is a growing market of motivated, aspirational people who see ageing in a positive way and are actively engaged in everything from travelling, relationships/friendships, re-training, studying and starting new businesses.
Goldie aims to address these topics in a stylish, fun and positive way, debunking and questioning any negativity around ageing and writing about a diverse range of topics around later life living.
The magazine is self-published therefore it has no advertising and relies on direct funding from readers to enable them to grow a supportive and inspiring community. It costs £8.00 and you can order it here.
Renaissance is a new fashion magazine for older women that celebrates the revival of mid-life with edgy, inspiring and stylish content.
Profiling extraordinary inspiring older people, the magazine includes essays and photo-journals that cover topics such as the body, relationships, work, travel and fashion – all celebrating the beauty of age and timeless style.
Renaissance is currently published twice a year; June & November and you can order it here.
Personally I prefer the timeless more grown up style of Renaissance over the more eccentric Goldie, but both are worth a look and it’s great to see something new aimed at our age group. Maybe things are changing after all.
I really hope this attitude continues! Thanks for sharing about these magazines.
The fashion industry – where I worked as a designer for many years, until I realized they would not hire me as a designer anymore after 50 – is hopelessly out of touch with the real world. Not only for older consumers to find good clothes, but to find something that is made to fit an older body. I do technical design now and if I go into a store and keep having to go up a size or two because the sleeves are too slim to fit a middle aged body (which has lost its spandex!) I will scream. It is why I give up and make my own clothes. And I am not that big at all – so goodness knows how a woman who is an average size can shop. Older women are so much more interesting and have a lot to offer.
Thank you for this engaging article. After a wonderful career as a clothes designer in industry ( Monsoon, Next per Una) I started my own brand in 2011. Mainly for women who want to travel, do something new, perhaps make a change in their lives. Tunic Dresses and easy fit jersey dresses are essentially my main products.
Fit is indeed so important. Over 50 there is the battle of finding anything to fit. I sell online but also at Fairs around the country and meet 100’s (if not 1000’s) of gorgeous women who come along to find exciting, interesting, well made, well thought out clothing in natural fabrics . They emerge from my make-shift fitting room, more often than not, beaming, clearly overjoyed at looking prettier in clothes that fit .
I have used ” older” models in shoots and frankly I have found using a model who could be any age between 30 to a well kept 45, works best. A sort of Ines de la Fressange. Yes my model, Sharon, happens to be tall and slim. But my customers are intelligent women. What they see when they look at the image, I imagine, is themselves looking great as well, in a wonderful location doing something interesting .
And, isn’t that something we all aspire to?
Gosh the ‘older woman and fashion’ question is certainly a contentious issue and one that I think divides opinion. If you have an OK figure and plenty of money does that make a difference? I wonder if the likes of Helen Mirren et al have sleepless nights wondering where they’ll find an outfit that works for them for the next gig? Or maybe they do? I think Tina’s comment about using models “… who could be any age between 30 to a well kept 45…” is interesting as it suggests maybe a middle road. I believe that the best designers, like the best writers, should design in the hope and anticipation that everyone should be able to access their work. From a pragmatic point of view if you design only for older women doesn’t that limit your client base unless your clothes are very high end?
Thanks so much for mentioning Goldie in your blog. It’s really encouraging to find that your creation is inspiring comment and opening up the enlightenment of age as a positive thing.
FYI I’m evolving the magazine into the type of read that inspires all aspects of ageing in a vibrant inclusive way. Watch this space!
I think it’s brill that there is a mag devoted to the older woman. I will turn 60 soon but I still love fashion or, stylish clothes and pray that I can still make enough cash so that I get a chance to wear some of my favourite labels. Also I recently cropped my hair and highlighted the grey and I am surprised at the ongoing compliments I’ve received from people older and younger than myself. I really look forward in ‘living’ my 60s.
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