Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Over the past 12 years since founding Fab after Fifty I have frequently highlighted the shortsightedness of brands who ignore the 50plus consumer in favour of chasing the youth market.
This was highlighted in an article in the Telegraph today which stated that women between the ages of 50 and 60 spend four times as much on clothes as women in their twenties, and women over 60 spend three times more! Yet how often do we see mainstream brands design and market with our age group in mind? The over 55s represent a third of the total spend on fashion in the UK ( accounting for £12.2 billion in purchases). But where is the 33% representation in ad campaigns and websites?
A quick look in my wardrobe will show that I buy from brands such as Whistles, Boden, Hush Homewear, Zara, Asos, but if you look at each of their websites it is almost impossible to find any of the clothes modelled on a woman over 50. This season there is no excuse- the trend for floaty dresses can work for most body types – yes, women’s bodies do change with age . When buying more tailored clothes attention needs to be paid to dart placement , waist size and sleeve shape for upper arms, but many of this summers fashions can be worn by all generations without requiring alteration – so no excuse for not have the more mature consumer represented in their visual presentations !
The Fashion Industry Needs a Wake-up Call!
It’s as though the fashion industry needs a wake up call? Perhaps the new incarnation of Sex and the City will help. The original series set trends when the main characters were in their 30s, will they have the same impact as they appear on our screens in their 50s? Lets hope so! Lets also hope that their styles are also as individual in their 50s as they were in their 30s – another aspect the marketeers seem to not appreciate. We are as individual in our 50s as we were in our 30s and each of us likes to have the option of dressing to suit our own lifestyle.
Would this be better understood if the fashion industry employed more women over 50? How many employees of these fashion companies are in fact over 50? In my ongoing campaign to have employers recognise the benefits older workers bring to the workplace, I am constantly emphasising why it makes good business sense to have the people who truly understand the demographic which currently represents such a significant percentage of consumer spending, be involved in all stages of the business cycle, from design to marketing and sales.
As the Telegraph says, the fashion industry is ignoring us at their peril!!