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.

All Walks Beyond The Catwalk.

18 thoughts on “Fashion Grows Up

  1. I'd have been more impressed by say, Caroline Charles, has she used age appropriate models at her recent LFW show. Using young models just made her ageing designs look even older and irrelevant when seeing them in context would help her no end.

  2. I've been saying this for years (that we're the ones with money to spend on apparel). It's also been good to see manufacturers acknowledge that not everyone wants to dress like a nineteen year old fashion victim, and offer styles (Sleeves? Hello?) that we can and will want to wear.

  3. I wish retailers would get this…I do respond more to women my age. Talbots has begun to use models of a certain age and it makes a difference on how i see their clothing. We do have purchasing power..if they will just wake up and realize it. Great post…I will tweet it later when I am back in a tweet-friendly zone!!

  4. Couldn't agree more! When I see clothes modelled on 15-year-olds, I can't help thinking – even if I love the clothes – 'but what will that look like on 40+ ME?'. Show me the same clothes looking great on someone over 30 even, and I'm sold.

  5. I totally agree with you. I spend less time shopping now and tend to be repelled by labels that have inappropriate models or marketing campaigns. Who wants to look like “mutton done up as lamb”? At my age, I definitely prefer to pay more for clothes and have a smaller wardrobe.

  6. Completely agree and have been saying this for years – the clothes look better on an age appropriate model , plus we are the ones with the money so why don't people see us for the fabulous women we are

  7. I actually don´t mind the young models, I think that I can still imagine, which clothes and accessories would suit me.
    I rather think that it is a shame, that expensive accessories are pictured around young girls, who no way could really afford to buy those luxury products.
    Once in a while, it is good to see mature woman in the magazines.
    Just to bring ourselves back to reality.
    Lauren Hutton has long been one of my favorite models.

  8. Altho' I'm quite young, I so agree with the need to use age appropriate models.I feel that by constantly using models that look all of about 16, they are "sabotaging" their marketing efforts without perhaps realising.

    p.s that Lauren Hutton photo is wonderful ( LOVE her necklace).

  9. Lauren Hutton looks fantastic, but then, she always did. She'll die with those AMAZING cheekbones! Yes please – more nice fashion for the over nearly 50s who don't want to look like their 80 year old mothers just yet. No offence to 80 year old mothers everywhere.

    Ali x

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