Mature Kiwi models on women and aging in the fashion industry

Silver Fox interview

Rewa Harker, Rebecca Swaney, Amanda Bransgrove and Gayleen Hamilton from Silverfox MGMT New Zealand share their thoughts on women and aging in the fashion industry. Image by James Yang.

The cultural conversation about women and aging has never been louder than in this present time as we continue to challenge the long-held idea that youthful beauty equates with a woman’s value. As silver-haired models appear in more brand campaigns and fashion editorials with their casting comes a powerful clap back against the invisibility many older women feel as they age.

Slowly fading are the days when a woman disappeared from view past a certain age (hello, menopause) as more brands understand that mature audiences have the most spending power and want to see themselves reflected in the advertising of today. Globally, it’s seen long since retired models like Lauren Hutton take to the runway for Burberry in her seventies, while Daphne Selfe is currently the world’s oldest working model still booking campaigns at age 92.

Here in New Zealand, Silverfox MGMT New Zealand has over 60 older models on its books who are represented by Managing Director Rebecca Swaney, herself in her fifties. On a sun dappled but chilly Winter day I meet Rebecca and three of Silverfox’s models, Amanda Bransgrove, Rewa Harker and Gayleen Hamilton, for a cup of tea and a discussion about women and aging, and how they feel about being part of the changing face of fashion? While fashion may seem glossy on the surface there’s still an undercurrent of discrimination bubbling underneath and means challenging the status quo isn’t easy but for these women it’s worth it. Their stories are candid, authentic and without a doubt, inspiring.

While there has been a small handful of older women and men modelling for different agencies for a while, Silverfox MGMT New Zealand is currently the only agency in NZ that specialises in mature models and was launched here in August 2017. Co-founders Brigitte Warne and Georgia Branch created Silverfox MGMT Group in April 2016 in Australia, after seeing a gap in the market for a specialist agency for older models and sharing the belief that style is ageless. The agency grew quickly and is currently representing mature models in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The New Zealand agency was a bit of a challenge to handle remotely as the Australian agency became busier which led Brigette and Georgia to list the NZ arm of the business for sale in 2018. Rebecca bought the license for Silverfox MGMT New Zealand in January 2019 and has been the owner/operator ever since. Having recently done an inspirational course, Rebecca was looking for a life change and contacted business brokers Barker’s Brokers explaining her communications skillset and career background (radio promotions, radio host, MC and TV presenting) and that she wanted to try her hand at owning a business.

“Within an hour Mike the broker phoned me and he said, ‘Rebecca, have I got a business for you’ and it was Silverfox,” says Rebecca Swaney. “It took me a few months to decide to buy it as it was quite daunting to see what Georgia and Bridget had done with it in Australia but I’m really delighted to have it now and they are both thrilled with the progress New Zealand is making under my watch. It’s been a huge learning curve and sometimes the curve feels like it’s going back on itself it’s so big but it’s exciting now I’m up and running with it. When I took it over there were 14 models and I am so proud of myself to now have 63 mature models! I’m not a model myself and that’s one of my strengths, that I’m not going in with preconceived ideas of how it should be.”

Silver Fox interview

Rebecca Swaney, Silverfox MGMT New Zealand owner.

While she was initially worried about how the local fashion industry would react to a brand new agent, her fears proved unfounded as the reception to date has mostly been positive. “I’ve been amazed actually as I thought the industry would be not keen to work with me because I was new but it’s definitely the right place and time for a mature aged modelling agency. Everything has been gearing up for it and now everyone knows that we’re here. I’m marketing all the time, making calls and I’ve been surprised how welcoming the fashion industry is.”

One of the models that Rebecca inherited with Silverfox is Amanda Bransgrove, who has been a local fashion industry name since she first began modelling in her late teens. While she left modelling in her late twenties to pursue photography (she holds a Bachelor of Design and an Honour’s Degree in Photography), Amanda returned to it again in recent years as the tide has shifted to be more inclusive of older models. It’s worth noting that Amanda was also told by her agent in her earlier modelling career that 28 was retirement age for models, the pressure of which also prompted her career change.

Back in 2004, Amanda launched Catwalk Studios which offered photography, modelling workshops and production services as well as a training program for secondary schools called Gateway for retail and industry pathways. She later launched Monarch Model Management to nurture and launch new faces into the fashion industry in 2010, selling both businesses in 2014. Her experience and advice has been invaluable to Rebecca as she navigates the industry, as Amanda has observed and experienced a great deal in her time in fashion and remains frank about the industry and its expectations.

“I think this shift has been happening for at least seven years or more, we’ve been witnessing it, but we haven’t really been able to identify with it until recently,” says Amanda. “Being a model when I was younger, I got into that trap of knowing the industry expectations and the cutthroat choices that are dished up in front of you. Being told you’re not good enough because this bit of you is wrong or that bit and so I’ve had this conversation going on in my head for a long time. By building my businesses and training models I saw there was a need for older women because I had become that older woman and so in 2010 I took the first steps of having a 30 plus model management agency called but I didn’t launch it after realising it would be too much for me to take on. So, I kept my focus on the teens through Monarch.”

After selling her businesses in 2014, Amanda took four years off and spent time at the beach with her husband and dog after feeling the need to reconnect with herself. “I just went silent and listened to myself and that was something that I couldn’t do at any other time in my life and it came with age and it came with wanting to let go of the industry because I had lost myself in it. I also felt I hadn’t reached success that was successful enough for me. I felt completely zapped mentally and physically after exiting stage left with no desire to return.”

In 2017, designer Liz Mitchell came calling, asking Amanda to model at New Zealand Fashion Week which given the model’s previous experiences she was reluctant to do. Amanda also felt nervous as she would be putting herself in front of an industry that she had walked away from vowing never to return.  Unfortunately, her reservations were correct, and Amanda was left waiting for her makeup and hair to be finished up until the last minute and felt like everyone was looking passed her.

Silver Fox interview

Model Amanda Bransgrove.

“I remember having this overwhelming feeling that I’d lost my hustle, and all my confidence instantly disappeared, I surprised myself, holding back the tears as two juniors nervously worked on me together, we had less than five minutes to finish my look. I got out on the runway and I walked and my walk was off and I felt ugly and I just felt like everyone was staring at me in the wrong way and I got really sad and it made me feel really old. But then at the end of the show stylist Sammy Salsa came running up to me and he said, ‘Hey, you’re amazing, you should go to Silverfox’. And I said ‘really? I needed to hear that.’ So that’s how it all started, I went to Silverfox and Rebecca treated me like I was amazing and of value.”

Aside from modelling, Amanda uses her experience to help Rebecca run sessions for new models as many of Silverfox’s models haven’t modelled before joining the agency. “When we did the first one I was quite nervous but Amanda has so much passion and makes everyone in the room feel like a million dollars and she really wants them to do their best because it is a hard industry,” says Rebecca. “People think it’s easy, you just stand up there in the outfit and smile but being on set can be quite daunting as an older woman and you’re nervous because there’s professional photographers and stylists etc. Gayleen was new to modelling and Rewa hadn’t modelled in a long time so it is nice when you’ve got someone like Amanda whose got your back and helps you out.”

Rewa Harker came to Silverfox’s first casting under Rebecca’s management in March 2019, having previously modelled as a teenager. Rewa’s iwi is Ngāti Kahungunu and she grew up in the sunny town of Wairoa in the Hawke’s Bay. Being a tomboy growing up she wasn’t naturally inclined towards the dressing up that comes with modelling and while she gave it a go when she was younger, it didn’t turn out to be her cup of tea.

“I did have a brief modelling stint when I was quite young, but I didn’t really enjoy it and felt out of my comfort zone,” says Rewa Harker. “I was quite shy, and it felt quite pretentious and awkward. I just didn’t like it so I didn’t pursue it which in hindsight was probably a wasted opportunity as I got all these amazing opportunities in London when I was there but I turned them down, so it didn’t happen. So that was that and I didn’t think about it again. Then friends of mine phoned me about Silverfox’s casting and they thought I should have a go at it. I was recently divorced which reduced my income quite dramatically losing my partner’s income, so I figured what did I have to lose I may as well have a go. I didn’t really picture myself as a model but then I thought about it and I thought well actually now that I’m older, I quite like the idea of representing older women as I’d noticed the older I was getting the more invisible I was feeling in the world and I didn’t think that was cool. I also think the timing was quite good because it’s a much more inclusive and diverse world now. I can imagine when Amanda started it was a very different kind of environment for older women and it wasn’t looked upon as anything that welcoming.”

Now in her fifties, Rewa has been embracing new opportunities and graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Arts in Māori Development in late 2019, which led to her current role at Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust, an organisation whose goal is to support positive change for whānau, including health, housing, social justice and education. For Rewa, maturing in age has led to a sense of self-assuredness that she’s enjoying and a natural approach to beauty.

“Aging is a privilege and I’m discovering how much I’m enjoying getting older. I’m more confident, I have something to say, I have something to give. I like that it’s offering diversity to fashion and what’s considered beautiful. It speaks to younger women as well, that you don’t have to look like a Kardashian to be considered beautiful. Embrace your wrinkles, embrace who you are. It’s ok, that’s what’s beautiful, it sounds cheesy but it’s true.”

Silver Fox interview

Model Rewa Harker.

Rewa’s casting for Silverfox left quite an impression on Rebecca Swaney who was keen to sign her to the agency. While she may not have considered herself model material, Rewa’s easy grace and optimistic personality make her a great fit for modelling and she’s appeared in a number of local publications including on the cover of Viva and for designers Jason Lingard and Campbell Luke. The latter’s New Zealand Fashion Week 2019 show was Rewa’s first turn on the runway and it was an experience full of definite highs and lows.

“I never imagined modelling because I didn’t see myself as one as I’m quite dorky and didn’t know how to model. However, since becoming a model I now have a deep respect for the craft and have discovered what a skill it is. Your job is to deliver a product and produce the goods, you have to be very professional, and have high energy to channel that visually. It’s been a really wonderful experience and I feel the industry has changed dramatically. Every job I’ve been fortunate enough to be cast for has been super cool and a really positive experience. I did have an experience like Amanda’s too, I was in Campbell Luke’s show at NZFW and when I turned up we had to wait on the couch until it was our turn to get makeup and I was the first there and was just sitting there and the other models turned up and they were these beautiful young girls and the makeup people kept collecting them to take them to get their makeup done. I had been waiting for about an hour and they kept grabbing the other girls and then I realised ‘oh, I think they think I’m someone’s mum or chaperone.’ Understandably too, because they were all young gorgeous models and I was this older woman sitting there looking half asleep waiting for my makeup. Then I said to one of them, ‘I’m actually in the show’ and he apologised and then they made me up. I was really nervous on the runway as it was my first time, but I loved it and the other models were so lovely to me. I have to thank designer Bobby Luke for including me in his show as he showcased so many beautiful kaupapa including diversity, and I received such fantastic feedback after the show.”

Gayleen Hamilton is the oldest of the group in her early sixties and came to Silverfox in 2019 at the insistence of her work colleagues. Having had a life-long interest in fashion, her innate sense of style is obvious and Gayleen has been a manager, visual merchandiser and stylist at popular fashion retail brand Superette since 2004. Much like Rewa, she didn’t feel she was a natural fit for modelling but since signing with Silverfox has appeared in imagery for Lonely Lingerie, Saben and MiciMoola, and walked the runway for celebrated womenswear brand Maggie Marilyn at New Zealand Fashion Week 2019.

“I have been approached over the years, but I always felt that I was too short and not only that I just didn’t believe in myself,” says Gayleen Hamilton. “I really didn’t think that I would be good enough or attractive enough, all of those things that you put in your mind. 16 years ago I started working for Superette when it first launched and I’ve been approached there over the years but still never had the confidence to do it but as my position there changed I met a lot of ladies of all age groups. It became a real passion of mine to see women like myself who thought my hips are too big, my boobs are too small, I’m too short or I’m too fat, to actually get them together and help them feel amazing about themselves and it made me feel amazing about myself. It’s been a beautiful experience and it’s helped me grow as well.”

Gayleen needed a fair amount of persuading to join Silverfox as while she had heard good things, she wasn’t sure if modelling was for her. But when she went into work one week a staff member told Gayleen that she should be modelling, and the idea began to resonate in her head. The following week someone else mentioned it. Upon returning home Gayleen thought to herself if someone else mentioned it the next week she would give it a go. Well as luck would have it, Amanda’s daughter, Yasmin, who works at Superette mentioned it the next week, encouraging Gayleen to give it a go and that was the push she needed to make an appointment. Meeting Rebecca for a glass of wine was the next step and Gayleen signed on as a model.

“Rebecca is so supportive, and Amanda and Rewa, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without these ladies I can tell you now. And it’s about empowering us women, which I love, we’re all out there, we all grow older, it is a privilege, enjoy the process. Stop getting Botox and boobs done when you’re young and accept that you’re beautiful as you are. That’s why I really wanted to do it because to me aging is a beautiful process, I feel so much more comfortable with who I am. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t go out there and wear fashion and be modern and represent a beautiful woman. I see women walking down the street who are in their sixties or seventies and I’m like ‘wow, look at you. You’re amazing, you’re beautiful’ and they’re just out there doing it.”

Silver Fox interview

Model Gayleen Hamilton.

Rebecca adds, “I’m a firm believer in that, I think women see beauty in women all the time. This whole thing that we’re catty to each other is rubbish. Someone might come up to you and say you’re amazing and you may not see it in yourself as we always point out our flaws, it’s our instant go-to, but really, we can do anything.”

Aside from changing attitudes in women themselves, the fashion industry is slowing changing to offer more choice for older women. Whereas, what used to be on offer for women over 40 was what would politely be considered as ‘matronly’, fashion today is shifting towards more directional looks so that older women can not only do anything, they can wear anything too. It’s a change that all four women have observed and reflects that women are now refusing to become invisible as they age, and the fashion industry has noticed. As someone who works in fashion retail day to day, Gayleen in particular is acutely aware of the shift.

“I think there’s so much out there for mature women now,” adds Gayleen. “Beautiful garments that are timeless and sustainable, as everyone is heading more towards sustainability. I personally feel because I’m in the industry that there’s a great selection out there for mature women and just because it’s what looks like a younger shop don’t think that there’s nothing in there for you. Don’t be scared to go in and have a look. Unfortunately, a lot of these stores do employ younger girls because it’s part time work and they’re at uni etc. but don’t let that influence what might be in that store for you. Go in and have a look.”

Rewa concurs, “I think wear what makes you happy. I used to worry that some garments I liked were targeted at younger people and people may think I’m mutton dressed as lamb! Now that I’m older, you tend to not care what anyone thinks, you wear it and shop with an open mind and have fun with it.”

It’s not just fashion that is changing for older women either as while some are embracing new looks and experimenting with trends etc. others are reclaiming their natural beauty and refusing to accept the lipstick and pearls version of older beauty that previous generations aged into. Today’s older women will keep their hair long if they want to, wear ripped jeans or embrace the silver hair that reflects a lifetime of experience and no longer needs to be dyed to try and hold on to a preconceived idea of beauty.

“One of the biggest changes taking place is where women are embracing their natural hair colour,” says Amanda. “After 30+ years of colouring – your natural pigment changes just as your skin tone does with age and when you’re embracing your more natural side you will find it is really liberating. Embracing our silver hair is empowering and so beautiful.”

Their silver hair was certainly one of the factors that made Silverfox’s models stand out at the New Zealand Fashion Week casting last year, with nine models from Rebecca’s books taking to the runway before sixty local designers. The NZFW casting sees each designer assess the different models from each agency, making their picks and short lists before bringing models in for fittings at their work rooms and finalising casting for each of the designer’s shows. Each model only gets a few seconds to make an impression on the assembled room of designers and the stakes are high to say the least. For Rebecca and the Silverfox models the casting was nerve-wracking but also an exciting opportunity to showcase their talent and further their cause of normalising mature models in the fashion industry.

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Models Gayleen Hamilton (left), Amanda Bransgrove (centre) and Rewa Harker (right).

“I was sort of keeping it together as we’d actually had a practice in the morning because Gayleen and Rewa were still new to catwalk, but it was definitely daunting,” says Rebecca. “We had a practice about a month or so before too to get ready. On the morning I was so nervous and then to find out that Amanda was more nervous than I was wasn’t helping (laughs). It is so daunting when you’ve got (NZFW founder and director) Dame Pieter Stewart and sixty-odd designers who you want to impress.”

Amanda adds, “I was nervous because I have been modelling on and off professionally ever since I was 18 and so anyone at Fashion Week who has been around for a while has seen me involved in some capacity somewhere or another, and in my head I was worried I was too familiar and I felt a little bit embarrassed like I should move over and let others have a go. It’s sad how much we judge ourselves after all the hard work we have invested, we continue to strip ourselves down a peg. Then to top it all off, I see the Zambesi A-team sitting at the very end of the runway which was so intimidating, as they’ve never used me for a show so that just made me feel even more intimidated but I thought ‘whatever Amanda, I’m wearing some beautifully fitting Zambesi pants as I walk… this is the show’. (laughs).”

“It is a mind game because it’s a very daunting position at the casting,” agrees Rebecca. “I obviously wasn’t being cast but it’s daunting for the models because you are being assessed and judged by a big group of people all at once. It’s fine because that’s what it’s for and there’s some designers that may never use us and that’s okay, they’re just seeing how you’re going to fit into what they want, sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t.”

Gayleen adds, “I was just glad I managed to walk there and back in my heels and didn’t fall over!”

As intimidating as it was on the day, Rebecca and the Silverfox models felt it was a positive experience and were pleased with how it went overall. For Rebecca it was a bit of an emotional experience to see some of the agency’s models take to the runway just a few months after she had taken over the business and she was thrilled with the positive reception to Silverfox’s representation at the casting from NZFW’s team too. To have Dame Pieter say “You did good” was a massive confidence boost to Rebecca to know she had this.

After the casting came the waiting game as designers figured out who they would cast in their respective shows and Rebecca waited for the phone calls or emails requesting her models for shows. Rewa Harker was cast in Campbell Luke’s show, while Gayleen Hamilton was cast in Maggie Marilyn’s show and Amanda Bransgrove was cast in the Resene show and Sustainability show. Other Silverfox models Saskia and Susan also walked at NZFW for Herriot Clothing and Havilah respectively. Rebecca was thrilled with the result and while there is no New Zealand Fashion Week this year due to the global pandemic, she can’t wait to put more models forward for next year’s NZFW and build on Silverfox’s success. Normalising older women on the runway as well as in advertising campaigns etc. is one of the agency’s goals.

As we’ve seen in the past few years, older women are starting to appear in many different types of campaigns including lingerie, which was once seen as only for young women with idealised bodies. That Victoria’s Secret idea of beauty is being thrown out the window in favour of more realistic bodies that represent all ages, sizes and ways of being a woman. Lonely Lingerie is among the brands leading the way in offering imagery that celebrate the natural beauty of women and Gayleen was recently selected to model for one of Lonely’s collections. Although she was nervous to do it, Gayleen loved the results and the women agree that women of every age, but especially older women, still want to feel and be seen as desirable and sexy.

Silver Fox interview

Model Amanda Bransgrove.

“It’s good body association seeing an older woman in lingerie because then you see the imperfectness of what our bodies really are and that our bodies are all unique but still beautiful and can be sexy at any age,” says Amanda. “I feel sexier now than what I was in my 40s and I’ve never really used that word with myself.”

“I think it’s because we’re more comfortable in our skin now, that’s what it’s about,” adds Rebecca. “We’re so different now from when we were growing up as young girls looking at say even women in their fifties then, we’re a totally different breed now.”

“50 is the new 30,” enthuses Rewa. “When I think about my mother turning 50, you were considered really old then, but I don’t feel like I’m old now, I feel like I’m just starting my life in a lot of ways, it makes you want to stay healthy, enjoy life and make the most of it.”

“I think we’re more open now,” says Gayleen. “I have some really interesting conversations with ladies who come into store. A lot of them do ask me how old I am, and I’m now in my sixties and so we have this conversation about how you got there and what’s your journey and where you’re at? And like Amanda, a lot of us have gone for that time out to regroup and rethink who am I? Because we didn’t know who we were and it’s actually so beautiful that we’re more open and honest about who we are. We’ve been on an honour journey, we’ve all had our ups and downs but it’s okay. It’s okay to think that I’m not perfect and it’s okay to have had that journey of ups and downs because life can be hard. Whereas before it was like no, we don’t talk about that. We’re accepting those stretchmarks and those wrinkles because that is who I am, it shows my life and my story.”

Those stories also reflect the changing role of women in society and whereas once as woman’s place was very much in the home in the last few generations that role has evolved into a multi-faceted life that sees women managing families, work and their own interests and goals in a modern way. In New Zealand, our own Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who recently turned 40, is an inspiring example of how women are balancing motherhood with a demanding role in a refreshing and honest way.

“Women are incredible,” says Amanda. “it’s time for us to take charge and we don’t need to be forceful for change to take place either. I mean look at Jacinda, she’s amazing.”

“She’s so down to earth too,” says Rewa. “She managed to attend my son’s graduation at his school. God knows how she leads the country, deals with a pandemic, massacres and eruptions, be a Mum and can also fit in things like attending a high school graduation, but she does and manages everything with grace, intelligence and kindness. It’s so refreshing, and she must be so busy, how does she fit it all in?”

“Because she’s a woman,” adds Gayleen. “We have so many jobs to do as women, you’re a wife, a mother, you’re working, and you’ve still got to keep it together.”

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Model Rewa Harker.

Rebecca concurs, “We do keep it together and then we have our time. That’s why this age group for women especially is such a changing time and we love it because it’s our time, we want to do things for us, and we’ve got more choices now. That’s why I think for the advertising industry as well it’s a case of leave us out at your peril really, we know our worth.”

Knowing your worth and not being afraid to fight for it is something that definitely comes with age and has also made the older models experience in the industry quite different to what many young models experience starting out.

“As an older model you do get treated quite differently, I feel it can be more respectful,” says Rewa. “They know you’re not going to do certain things but with younger models they can sometimes feel pressured into doing jobs for free and get told it’s for exposure.  Sometimes there are other expectations going on with the younger ones and they’re too nervous to speak up, it’s quite different when you’re young. I remember lacking the courage to speak up as a younger woman at times, whereas now as an older woman, I wouldn’t hesitate to speak up if I felt uncomfortable about something. I feel mamai (hurt) for the younger models in that way. I’ve also learned a lot from them because they’re really good at modelling. The support and guidance I’ve received from my fellow younger models has been fantastic.”

“I guess the good thing is they don’t look at us as competition so they’re actually really nice to us,” adds Gayleen.

When asked what their advice would be for their younger selves or for young people in general the women reiterate how important it is to trust yourself, make time for yourself and go after what you want.

“My advice would be that you’re stronger than you think so back yourself,” says Rebecca. “Actually, Jacinda Ardern said that at Saint Mary’s College a few years ago, back yourself and it resonated with me. Also, choose what voices you listen to and sometimes the voice you shouldn’t always listen to is your own because sometimes you can be your own worst enemy.”

Amanda adds, “I know each of us have got our own life path and it’s important to listen to your inner voice and be kind to yourself and to remind yourself that everything is going to be ok. Looking back what I dreamed of became real, so know that you can do anything in this life, the signs are all there as you journey through, stay present in the now and respond, don’t react.”

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Model Gayleen Hamilton.

“I would want them to follow their passion and have fun while you’re young because I feel like kids these days take life way too seriously because life is so different now,” says Rewa. “When we were young, I think we were very lucky without realising it because it is more serious now, but I like to have fun. I’d encourage them to stay active and do physical activities, because I played sport all through my youth and it’s held me in good stead through my life, it’s just a part of my being and I’ve discovered what a lovely thing that is.”

Gayleen concurs, “I agree with everything these ladies have said and it’s hard to add to them but for me a spiritual base is really important and being able to take yourself away from things and have that time where you can balance yourself. It’s really important and I’ve got two little grandsons that I try and do that with. Also, being active and trying to enjoy every little moment that you have and stop wishing your life away because it goes quickly and then it will be gone.”

While there’s no doubt each of these women have seen a great deal of change in their lifetimes already when it comes to the fashion industry there is definitely more change they’d like to see in regard to older women. The number of older models appearing in campaigns is slowly growing but it’s not quite the norm yet, with the progress to date encouraging but not quite enough.

“We’re not recognised in some places yet and the mindset is still about younger women but I think part of the problem is it’s younger people choosing those younger women and not realising what they’re missing out on,” says Gayleen. “But the designers are aging and with them their demographic and they’re going to have to look at it a lot more closely because people are going to tighten up going forward but we older women do have the income and we’re spending it and we want to spend it and I think we’re going to go from strength to strength. In my heart I feel that this is just the beginning for us.”

Rewa adds, “My hope is that it’s more inclusive and normalised for all ages, races or genders to be part of fashion because we’re all relevant and have something important to contribute to the platform.”

While there’s still challenges ahead with the way fashion industry handles the problems thrown into the mix this year through the pandemic and issues with aging, racism and ethics, these women are feeling positive about the future. They’re not afraid of aging and hope other older women are inspired by seeing women their age in campaigns and on the runway, and that it lets younger women know that you don’t have to become invisible as you age, getting older is something that should be embraced.

Gayleen agrees, “I think our stand goes way beyond just fashion, it’s saying growing old is not only a privilege but it’s great and you can enjoy it.”

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Images by James Yang. Art Direction by Carolyn Ebrey. Makeup by Natalie Dent. Production by Evelyn Ebrey. Shot on location at Symmetry Studio. The models all dressed themselves to reflect their own personal style.

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