“Why are you here? You don’t belong here. This isn’t for you”.
It was 2014. I was at a public event hosted by one of the world’s most prestigious fashion magazines. I was chatting to a 50-something woman in a queue, discussing our mutual love of fashion, when she relayed those words to me. They had been spoken to her only moments earlier. By a member of staff.
“I came here because I love fashion and style. Now I feel completely irrelevant.”
As shocking as this was, sadly I wasn’t surprised. Despite the event being open to all, it was evident the organisers were only really interested in 20 somethings – and certainly no one 50+.
Why? Because women over 50 don’t care about fashion or style of course! They don’t want to look contemporary and cool. All they want is baggy, dowdy clothes in black or brown…
Now we know this to be complete rubbish. But we also know it’s been the prevalent view in fashion – and society – for years. And it was this very ageist view that I was already on a mission to end…
My journey started when I was studying law at Cambridge University in 2012. One night I began thinking about my mum; we both loved style, and regularly went shopping together. They had always been fun, joyful occasions, but as my mum entered her 50s, I’d started to notice her joy draining away and morphing into something else: frustration. Attentive shop assistants had become dismissive or sneering. And bountiful options of beautiful dresses had turned into that sad black shawl in the back. All because she was getting older and increasingly struggling to find clothes that were both stylish and figure flattering for her naturally changing body shape.
Online shopping was no better. It was an endless drag, scrolling through pages of young, slender, tall models. My mum’s dejected default response had become “it probably won’t suit me.”
Finally that late night in 2012 it hit me: I could no longer ignore the way my mum was being alienated by the fashion industry. Fashion’s influence over cultural and socio-economic attitudes and actions, combined with its ageist ideals and behaviors, makes for a dangerously powerful combination that sways both internal and external negative attitudes. So it was time to disrupt fashion’s perception of age, and pioneer a new, age-inclusive approach to shopping and style – and, ultimately, end ageism.
Goodbye law, hello age-inclusive fashion activism.
After graduation, I embarked on my mission, beginning with conducting thorough market research. Lack of 50+ representation was evident, and brands were either ignoring or failing to connect with today’s diverse and nuanced 50+ market. And their clothing offering either didn’t cater to these customers’ bodies and lifestyles, or they compromised style for comfort and cut.
With that, my idea for The Bias Cut was born: an age-inclusive multi-label shopping platform that champions age inclusivity, whilst simultaneously understands and serves the values, demands and needs of today’s discerning 50+ female style-conscious customer.
In 2015 I launched a blog to grow a following and community, and The Bias Cut launched in March 2016. Today, 7 ½ years later, we have over 20 labels (including 2-in-house labels including my eponymous label Jacynth London), thousands of customers across 20+ countries and celebrity fans. And we’ve earned awards and accolades for our pioneering age-inclusive approach.
Because first and foremost, age-inclusivity is embedded into our DNA:
- Age diverse models – particularly championing 50+ models
- Team spanning 4 decades
- Uniquely curated collections, balancing understanding women’s changing bodies with modern style
- Tailored filters, e.g. shop by body shape, and areas you want to cover or show off, empowering customers to find the best pieces for who they are today
Furthering The Bias Cut’s mission is our sister platform: Ageism Is Never In Style® , our award-winning, leading campaign & movement against ageism, and for age-inclusivity and age-positivity. Community driven, with 135k+ followers, we create major activism campaigns and consult businesses, organizations and charities, aiming to create a more age-inclusive society. E.g. earlier this year we created the viral global campaign #ILookMyAge (43+ million UGC views), and we partnered with a charity to create the first series of free editorial-style stock images of 50+ women to improve representation.
Together, The Bias Cut and Ageism Is Never In Style® is making waves, challenging attitudes and pioneering a new narrative around aging. On a personal level, we’re proud to be helping women rediscover their style confidence, identity and sense of self, and on a wider global scale we are honored to be recognised as a leading, innovative trailblazer against ageism and for age-inclusivity.
Every person deserves to feel seen, heard and valued at every age. And to know we are playing a part in that is to know we’re on the right path.