Fashion Weeks around the world receive an enormous amount of media attention. The models are tall, slinky and size 2; the designers talented, visionary and bold. The audience is made up of wealthy, young women, who aspire to live in a world where clothes define a lifestyle and show social status.
Watching these glamorous runway shows, you would think that fashion is only for women under 30. The surprising reality, revealed by research by Kantar Worldpanel, is that women over 50 spend £7-billion ($11.6-billion) a year on fashion.
In other words, we still love style and fashion! The research also shows that the personal tastes and lifestyles of older women are more diverse than younger shoppers.
Our choice of clothes reflects lifestyle not age. So a fashion show for older women might not be quite as easy to organize. All the same, my question is:
Why are there no “Fashion Weeks” for older women? Why is the fashion industry in general so oblivious to fashion for older women?
Perhaps part of the answer is that marketing fashion to an older woman requires a unique approach. Mature women are not as likely to follow trends and perhaps they display less brand loyalty. We are less likely to relate to size 2 bodies that act as hangers for fashion lines. The beauty industry only has to focus on a face.
They are beginning to get the message and starting to incorporate older women into their lines. For example, NARS just appointed 68-year-old actress Charlotte Rampling as a model and Marc Jacobs chose 64 year old Jessica Lange as one of their new beauty faces.
I personally think that it would be great if designers and retailers took the time to understand the desires and wants of women over 60. They could design fun, fashionable, creative clothes. Designers and retailers have a challenge and opportunity. Older women like me, and those in the Sixty Me Community, refuse to have their fashion preferences stereotyped.
There are plenty of beautiful models in their 60s; why not let them shine? We know that mothers shop with daughters, so, perhaps a blended show might be fun. Why not create comfortable, sophisticated fashion options that support the lifestyles of today’s vibrant older women?
What do you think about this? Do you feel that designers and retailers could do a better job of creating clothes for older women based on lifestyle not age? Please leave your comments below.