Article by Ceri Wheeldon
As a woman in my 50s I get hugely frustrated by the number of brands who, when trying to win our business, insist on showing us clothes modelled by 17 year olds. Last year I attended the first specific 50plus event at London Fashion Week sponsored by JD Williams- all the models were over 50 – and Daphne Selfe in her 80s took to the catwalk.
Today leading online retailer JD Williams and five older models held a demonstration on the doorstep of London Fashion Week, in protest against the lack of age diversity on the catwalk.
Standing outside Fashion Week’s main venue on The Strand, five women aged 45 and over called for wider use of older models on runway shows. Currently the average age of a model is 17*.
Age discrimination in the Fashion Industry
The five models, aged between 47 and 65, marched outside the official London Fashion Week site on The Strand, to protest against age discrimination in the fashion industry and to challenge why models workload decreases with age, particularly on the runways of the capital’s renowned fashion event.
Models including Jilly Johnson (63) and Janie Felstead (65) challenged the fashion industry on the march with placards featuring slogans including ‘Grow Up LFW’ and ‘Fashion Has No Age Limit’.
Jilly Johnson said: “Women don’t suddenly stop wearing or buying clothes after their twenties, so why isn’t this reflected in the models used in fashion shows? We’ve started to be more inclusive when it comes to ethnicities and disabilities on the runway – which is fantastic – but why not all ages?”
PR Manager for JD Williams, Suzi Burns, said: “Our ongoing consumer research continues to highlight a generation of older women who feel ignored by the high street and underrepresented in TV and magazines.
“As a retailer and an advertiser we believe we owe our customers the honesty of showing them realistic, but aspirational images of themselves. Surely it’s time that the fashion industry celebrates women of all ages?”
JD Williams, who made history during London Fashion Week last year with its ‘Fifty Plus Fashion Week’ using a cast of models with a combined age of 700, continues to champion the older woman and support their positive representation in the media and fashion industry.
Lets hope we see more brands embrace models of all ages in the future. Fashion has no age.