The recent trend of grey hair is one that most people are on board with. Fab, so the industry has already agreed that grey hair is stylish. Now, this may seem a little radical, but why don't brands cast models with naturally grey hair?
For that matter, wouldn't it make a lot more sense if the women advertising anti-ageing creams were actually the demographic who use that product? Wait, what if models were representative of the customer? Ok, ok, sorry for all the sarcasm. You get where I'm going with that train of thought...
The fashion world has seen a rise in the diversity of models used in recent years, with an influx of models breaking through the restrictive standards the industry has. Transgender, 'plus size' and mature models are being included more frequently, with individuals like Hari Nef and Ashley Graham starring in high profile campaigns.
Nevertheless, diversity is a long way off from being the norm, with shows still being dominated by young, thin women. However, this culture of tokenism is showing glimpses of changing. For example, H&M Studio's presentation in March featured mature models such as Pat Cleveland and trans models like Andreja Pejic; diversity is what makes life exciting, and it's a great thing that the fashion industry is finally catching on.
That being said, high fashion editorials and shows have been far more willing to shatter the norms compared to commercial companies. That's why H&M's new commercial campaign is such a breathe of fresh air. Gillean McLeod, a 60-year-old stylist-turned-model was cast and is proving without a doubt that mature models have a place in the industry.
Isn't the ideal of ageing fashionably extremely aspirational- why are older models only now gaining traction? Women like Carmen Del'Orefice have taken the fashion world by storm, and rightly so. Previously anti-ageing creams and products alike were only modelled by celebrities, such as Julianne Moore, or by models who were in their twenties and thirties.
The idea that beauty has a sell-by date beyond 30 is absurd. If the industry are happy to use models that are 14 years old (remember Sofia Mechetner opening Dior in 2015?) then they should also be prepared to use models in their 60s. Mature models are still a rarity, but H&M's new swimwear campaign and shows like that of Yeezy Season 3's inclusion of them is certainly a step in the right direction.
Wrinkles or grey hair don't equate to someone not being able to model. Just as size 0 is slowly but surely being contested as the ultimate ideal so should the notion that models have to be between 16 and 26. Fashion is about art and aspiration, yes, but unless that aspiration is somewhat obtainable- what's the point?
The industry's main goal is to sell clothes, but if runways or campaigns aren't representative of most women then they surely won't be able to survive. That's why those who do champion diversity in modelling, not matter how rare, are extremely important- they're ahead of the tide of change that's coming. Other designers should take note and jump on board.
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