Right now, it seems like older models are definitely having a moment. But fashion is a fickle place. So, will the over-65 set continue to conquer the fashion industry–or will this trend merely die out?
All the experts we spoke with agreed it’s probably the former. Considering demographic trends–an aging population, longer life expectancy, bigger spending habits–and the greater awareness the internet has brought to senior citizens’ full (and stylish) lives, it seems the fashion industry will continue to embrace seniors.
Only don’t expect fashion to do a complete 180. While it’s true that more and more brands are catering to senior citizens–and it’s even true that some younger people have taken to emulating the elderly (ahem, Tavi)–this is fashion, after all, and youth still reigns supreme. And though older people may have more money to spend, they’re not exactly popping over to Zara or the Gap every two weeks. “The primary difference between younger and older consumers in terms of apparel shopping is a difference in priority of value over volume,” Kondej said. “For older consumers, items are intended to last and not change from season to season. As a result, an ageing consumer base is likely to adversely impact apparel volumes.” However, she added, this attitude presents an opportunity to clothing companies to create higher-quality garments that still cater, to an extent, to trends–and charge a high premium for it.
So it follow that the one place that probably won’t start catering to the senior set is the fast fashion industry. “No-one is expecting the likes of H&M or Gap to suddenly launch an over 60s line,” Kondej said.
However, she was quick to add, “Given the long-term changes to demographics and the eventual influence these will have on the apparel market, it would be short-sighted of major apparel retailers not to at least consider branching out and enhancing their offerings for the older consumer as a possibility for future development.”
I, for one, think these older ladies are awesome–and I’m excited we’re getting to see more of them these days. To aging!