The beauty and fashion industry thrives on trends, whether it’s patterns, products, sustainability, or inclusion, advertisers will jump on board. But it feels as though consumers have been demanding real and diverse representation in media for years, and it seems to be working, slowly.
It seems that the fashion industry is finally waking up to the fact that older women have both the desire and the money to spend on themselves.
Hopefully, this is one trend that’s here to stay.
According to a 2017 report from Moody’s, baby boomers in the US drive 42 per cent of spending in the high fashion industry, compared with just 13 per cent for the millennial and gen-Z cohorts. If that is the case, why are they so largely absent from advertising?
“The 50-plus and 60-plus population is clearly playing a large role in consumer spending, and older consumers are going to become more significant as these trends intensify,” says Wayne Best, chief economist of Visa.
Luckily the tables are turning, and fashion and beauty brands have begun hiring older models to promote their products. It’s been dubbed the ‘Greynnaisance’ and, it turns out, the over-60s have serious selling power.
Biologi is leading the charge
Perhaps the most recent campaign to catch the eye of the masses is Biologi’s ‘pro-ageing’ campaign. It features 62-year-old Brisbane model Rachel Waller (@inhersixties) in a series of unretouched photos that ooze natural beauty.
The Aussie skincare company is using this campaign to promote its new anti-ageing serum, and both the product and the ads are making waves in the community. Ms Waller can be seen showing off her fresh skin in all its glory, without any of the post-shoot smoothing of fine lines and wrinkles that has become so typical of beauty shoots in the 21st century.
As the face of Biologi’s ‘pro-ageing’ campaign, Ms Waller praised the brand for their realistic portrayal of beauty:
“Once you pass a certain age, it is very rare to be approached to be the face of a skincare brand. The current ideals seem to focus on younger looking skin, so when Biologi approached me to work with the brand I was seriously thrilled! That excitement only increased when they suggested the idea of launching the images without retouching. I think the photos celebrate beauty, flaws and all, and encourage women to be okay about ageing. I’m in my sixties so, of course, I have lines and wrinkles – this campaign allowed me to celebrate that and be proud of who I am, no matter what age.”
Biologi’s managing director, Lucy Macdougald, went on to explain why this campaign was so important to the brand: “Authenticity is something we pride ourselves on at Biologi and this campaign is exactly that. We are celebrating beauty at any age and encouraging people to enhance what they already have (not change it). For us, beauty is about celebrating the years and being comfortable with who you are, and Rachel seriously epitomises that. She’s a strong and beautiful woman who is confident in her skin and we are so proud to be able to show that through these images.”
I think we’re all a bit sick of seeing so many faces and bodies we can only wish to be like in the beauty community. It’s time for advertising to embrace real people. Self-love and self-care seem to be the buzzwords of 2020 but why shouldn’t they be?
Older, un-photoshopped faces in adverts not only have the power to inspire younger people, but also the power to inspire those of the same generation. This rarely works the other way around.
Arguably the most innovative make-up brand out there, MAC has an incredible 23.5 million followers on Instagram. MAC has always had the credo ‘All Ages, All Races, All Genders’ but solidified it with their 2018 ‘#WhatsYourThing’ campaign. It was a celebration of self-expression and featured a diverse cast from MAC employees to internationally recognised models. It was created to show that modern beauty is as individual as we all are and while it doesn’t specifically focus on age, it certainly doesn’t ignore it either.
Changes in the industry
There are other brands and companies hopping on board. Kering, the luxury group behind Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Balenciaga, among others, announced they would only hire models over 18 to represent adults on its runway shows and photo shoots from 2020 onwards.
And L’Oreal has long been the leader with a consistently diverse age range of ambassadors, including Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, Andie MacDowell and Julianne Moore, not only fronting skincare launches targeting the over 50s, but in displays of diversity for wider brand activities.
Not just age
It’s not just more ageing faces that we want to see represented either, consumers want to see a whole range of diversity and inclusivity – including race, weight, disabilities and gender.
There’s particularly a big desire from customers for fashion brands to use real bodies in advertising but the change is slow getting off the starting line.
US store Target has committed to not using any airbrushing or reshaping of the models in their swimwear collection and its website portrays a great, diverse range of bodies.
It’s so refreshing to see a mass retailer showing women’s bodies as they really are; we are bombarded with images every day and constantly taking in the messages they send about what’s ‘right’ and how people ‘should’ look. So, when those messages are body positive, it can truly make a difference in how we see ourselves, not just in swimwear, but in the world.
The beauty industry may be more diverse than ever and, while that notion is deemed newsworthy, there’s clearly more to be done.
I wonder who will be next?
Would you like to see more diversity in advertising? Does seeing older models in ads influence what you purchase?
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