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We’ve written an opinion piece following Age of No Retirement’s Age Does Not Matter Festival. But our opinion isn’t the only one that matters. So we thought we’d also summarise key points that were discussed on Saturday for those of you who weren’t able to make it.

Some are facts, others are statements. They’ve come from members of the panel and the audience, and we noted those that really caught our attention. Whether you agree or disagree with the comments below, there’s no denying they offer great food for thought. 

We hope you find them thought provoking and inspiring, and would love to hear your thoughts: 

“Style Does Not Retire”

  • Style and Fashion is integral. We perceive each other and ourselves differently just by putting on a different garment. So equal access to the pieces we want is vital.

  • 83% of people aged 20 – 80+ do not feel they fit the stereotype of their age group

  • 83% of people aged 20 – 80+ want to mix with different ages and generations

  • Why aren’t younger people inspired by fabulous older people and their style? If what you have to look forward to looks great then that should enthuse you. 

Visibility 

  • In Fashion “if you’re not young, then the best thing is not to look old” (Alex B.)

  • The term ‘ageless’ should be discouraged –as it means not showing your age (Alex B.)

  • Blogs have done a lot to encourage more visibility, but many brands and retailers still don’t want to portray the older customer – and can rarely give a satisfactory answer as to why

  • Sadly a large reason why we still don’t see diversity is that boardrooms leading the decisions are still typically made up of men. Many fail to see imagery objectively from the woman’s perspective, instead deciding to portray what they find physically appealing and attractive.

Images from the day. Left: Photograph by Anthony Lycett - "Soho George". Right: Photograph by Evelyn Bencicova - "RIPE . Beauty Has No Age"

Viability 

  • We are more likely to buy from models that are our own age, size and ethnicity.

  • We need to be looking at commonalities and not differences across ages. Brands need to embrace an intergenerational approach in order to avoid the inevitability of stereotyping.

  • The Grey Model Agency is for models 35+ and it explores differences within the same age group

  • Fashion’s excuse for focusing on youth is often that it is aspirational. But aspiration is about aspiring to be the best possible version of you today – not to be a certain age.

  • Ultimately clothing needs to be aspirational but also achievable.

Diversity

  • We see 3-5 thousand adverts a week. So if we want to actually promote change and all ages, a token gesture or advert is not enough. We need to see it constantly. Because it’s not imagery per se that influences us, but the frequency of it.

  • When we only see one or two images reflecting what we actually want to see, we demand too much of it. It cannot speak for every narrative, from shape, to size, to price. It’s only when these images become the norm that we can ensure every narrative is addressed.

  • Staff need to be varied as much as imagery. When you walk into a high street shop, the staff shouldn't just be in their 20s and 30s. Perhaps management isn’t thinking about diversity as it itself isn’t diverse?

The Changing Fashion Scene

  • Fashion has become more corporatized over the years, causing individuality to be lost. These days the term ‘Fashion’ is understood as following the trends, whilst ‘style’ is about expressing your personality. This didn’t use to be the case.

  • In order for the high street to sell to the mass market, it has to unify people. If we want to be able to express our own identity and find clothes that really reflect our individuality, we have to accept that garments will be more expensive.

  • We have a responsibility to decide that we want to reject fast fashion and will need to spend money

  • Fashion is not an innovator, it is a supplier and responsive to society. If we want to see change we must lead it. We need to see ourselves as activists.

  • At the same time, we need the next generation of designers to learn to think outside the box. 

Accepting and embracing your age

  • Is there any age or point when we actually feel comfortable with who we are?

  • What are you supposed to look like at your age? You either look good or bad for your age. So what is just looking your age?

  • When you see the beauty in someone, it should have nothing to do with their age.

  • You can get old and remain yourself. For example, if you embraced the punk movement when you were younger and that’s who you are, then you can still be a punk!

  • Eastern societies seem to be much quicker at accepting change in attitudes.

  • “Extended maturity” is the next issue that needs to be addressed – stop telling people what they should wear and look like at their age.

If any of these points have made you think and if you’re inspired to respond – why not become a featured blogger for the-Bias-Cut.com ‘Your Blog’? We’d love to hear and share what you have to say. Because the more voices and opinions, the better. 

Photograph by Emily Stein - "I'm Older"

You can find out more about Age Of No Retirement here. And if you’re keen to join the movement and hear more from some of the leading pioneers of fighting ageism, here is a list of those who were on the panels on Saturday: 

Lead Disruptor: Caryn Franklin 

Alex B, Model of Grey Model Agency and Academic

David Evans – creator of Grey Fox Blog 

Claudette Prosper – Fashion Editor

Dr Carolyn Mair – London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

Jason Jules

Rebecca Valentine – Founder/Owner of Grey Model Agency

Alyson Walsh – founder of the blog That’s Not My Age

Marie Cesbron – Innovation Director, Walgreens Boots Alliance

Ed Watson – Global Communications Editor, N Brown

Melodie Holliday – Editor and Education Developer for Shades of Noir, Lecturer at UAL teaching on the Foundation Course at LCC, Signer Punk Bank Art Trip and The Static Sound

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