If there’s one thing that will change the fashion industry’s obsession with youth, it’s money. I’m not talking bungs and bribes – Cash For Wrinkles, anyone? Or the super-rich. Really, who cares if Daphne Guinness would rather binge on couture than eat? No. It’s officially time for designers and retailers to wake up and smell the grey pound. All Walks Beyond The Catwalk, whose aim is to increase diversity in fashion and prove that ‘real beauty is good for business,’ have just told me about some research by Ben Barry a PhD student at Judge Business School, Cambridge University, that supports their philosophy.
‘In my research, featuring 300 women in Canada, the US and UK, equally segmented between 14-65 years of age, over 90% of women between 40-65 increased purchase intentions when the advertisement featured models reflecting their age and size,’ reports Barry. ‘Women over 40 possess more overall spending power than any other age group, and they spend more on women’s apparel than younger market segments. Moreover research has demonstrated that ageing does not reduce fashion interest among individuals.’
Women over forty want clothes that fit, flatter and look fashionable. And we want to see them on older models. Time for change, don’t you think?
PS Why stop at 65? The fabulous New Yorkers snapped by Ari Seth Cohen for Advanced Style still care about fashion – and Alexis Bittar has been using 67-year-old Lauren Hutton in his ads this year.