Ageism in Fashion

I was really excited to see this post because…Ohhhh, how true this is!  

I grew up during the reign of ladies like Christy Burlington, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Amber Valetta, Naomi Campbell, Paulina Porizkova, and Shalom Harlow – most of whom are in their mid to later 40s now.  At the time..they were all young and spritely, nary a wrinkle to be found (naturally no editor would have entertained THAT idea!)

moviepilot.com

moviepilot.com

These days, those Fashion icons still look stunning…but they are no longer gracing covers, and haven’t for a long time.  Those who are anything older than teens, for crying out loud, seem to be airbrushed to oblivion – scarcely a realistic picture for the younger generations.  (I say younger because sometimes it isn’t as obvious to them just how much goes INTO creating a flawless image – no, your favorite celebrity did NOT show up to the shoot that way.  Once you have had any stretch of time in Fashion, you know just how MUCH is poured into the final images presented in your glossy.  *It’s A LOT.)

smashcave.com

smashcave.com

As the above article mentions, “It isn’t uncommon for models in their 20s to serve as spokeswomen for anti-aging creams…”  Having taken Marketing as one of my college double majors, I fully recognize the angle cosmetic companies are aiming to take in order to make their products enticing.  But at the end of the day, no topical will have the more dramatic effect a filler or other injectable might.  They might help, absolutely, but the immense fine-tuning that’s often presented (once again, thank you, airbrush) is not likely the outcome of dutiful application twice daily.  

Kristen McMenamy Photographed by David Sims, Vogue, 2010, vogue.com

Kristen McMenamy
Photographed by David Sims, Vogue, 2010, vogue.com

So in my own my…a 20 year-old posing for a wrinkle serum?  Doesn’t make sense.  Should we start our skincare early?  YES!  But is it entirely fair to have these ultra-smooth faces sell us our anti-aging products?  Not so sure…  We are certainly intelligent enough to make educated, adult decisions, but how about being presented with something a bit more REAL?

I’m happy to see that the conversation includes Runway as much as it does other aspects of Fashion as a whole.  Back in the day, touting youthfulness was the thing – I get it.  But it IS 2016.  I feel like society should have – yes, I said “should have” – matured beyond these parameters.  I don’t really proselytize – I don’t feel pushing my opinions onto others is the right thing to do.  I’m not shouting from rooftops that this is “an outrage!”  

But. . .what I AM saying is…it is important to represent the wider array of beauty that exists in the World.  It’s helpful, particularly in a time overrun by social media, enhancement apps (that double as Adobe!), and the “flawless,” Insta-presentation of our “best selves” at all times…that we SEE, and learn to APPRECIATE, aging.  If…let me say…for no other reason than we aren’t broadsided one morning looking in the mirror in our 30’s thinking “wait!  What are these!? This doesn’t happen!  All those ads for these products…those ladies are so young and fresh and line-free!”

I’d kind of like to know I’m not alone, and have beautiful ladies decades other than myself to look up to.  Comparing our older selves to teens – even if subconsciously as we pass the magazine stand – simply isn’t healthy.  Hallelujah that some aren’t afraid to out the topic!

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