Finally some fashion stores are acknowledging that all ages need to be represented. Marks and Sparks are now using grey-haired models. Nivea and Clarks are using an older woman to advertise their products. They’re small steps and by pretty conservative brands who know they do appeal to an older age group, but they are small steps we should applaud. And it’s great that 82 year old Daphne Self will be gliding along the catwalk at London Fashion Week today.
I listened to an item on yesterday’s BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme when BBC Clothes Show presenter Caryn Franklin talked about when she was told by a colleague that he had heard she was going to be ‘wound down’ from the programme, “because they think you look old”. How dare ‘they’!
Over 40% of the population is over 50, many of us with enough disposable income to rival that of any 20 year old, but we are consistently offered fashion and make-up images of women who are younger, thin and wrinkle-free. No wonder hitting middle age can be depressing for the fairer sex.
Every raddled old male dinosaur on TV - yes I am talking about you Nick Ross, Andrew Neil, David Dimbleby and Jeremy Paxman – gets paid mega-bucks and is lauded for his interviewing and presentation skills. How many women of a similar age do we see? I listened the other day to Anna Ford on the radio. Her warm, engaging voice washed over me. She’s intelligent, bright and beautiful. There is absolutely no reason why she isn’t fronting a programme except she is perceived by programme makers as too old.
Caryn Franklin writes in The Observer,“I want young women to see that beauty ages beautifully and there is no need to feel that getting older is something that has to be medicated, managed with surgery or be obsessed about.”
I completely stand beside her on this. Caryn is co-founder of ‘All Walks Beyond The Catwalk’ which campaigns for diversity of age, size and race in fashion. Let’s lighten up about our wrinkles, enjoy the age we are, support Caryn and lobby for Anna Ford to front ‘Newsnight’.
(I am writing a book about celebrating being older which includes celebrity interviews. Please visit my website at http://www.magnificentageing.com for more of my thoughts about the benefits of being just a bit older.)
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