This month we have the wonderful Jacynth Bassett from The Bias Cut writing our guest blog. Find out what she has to say about style and age here, and while you are at it, have a scroll through her beautifully curated website and get 10% off using her special offer code for Cucumber readers, COOL15.
The Fashion Industry is ageist. This is hardly a profound statement. We all know the industry promotes perennial youth and, whilst we are seeing more older women featured in campaigns and media, they often seem like token gestures.
There are many reasons why Fashion is ageist, with a vast number stemming from inside industry. But in many ways we are equally as guilty of allowing this issue to continue.
So why is this? Well for starters, we don’t always put our money where our mouth is. Unfortunately we are in a culture where cheapness and ease of purchase rules, much more than ethics and values. So whilst we may dislike a brand for its youth based imagery or ageist bias, if it offers a product in a convenient manner and for a cheap price, many of us will still purchase. So why should a brand bother to change?
Another issue is that ageism is inevitably something you only experience as you get older. Very few younger people care about ageism as they aren’t direct victims of it. They don’t experience it on a day to day basis, and there is still a divide amongst generations preventing open, honest and respectful conversation that will help us to understand and empathise each other.
So it’s largely for these two reasons that I decided to tackle ageism in Fashion head on by starting my own online fashion retailer – the-Bias-Cut.com – the first premium fashion boutique dedicated towards celebrating style over 45. I wanted to create my own brand which reflected the values that I believe in and truly find the designers who respect all ages, rather than rely on shopping at places whose ethics I didn’t feel comfortable with.
But, perhaps more importantly, I didn’t want to be one of those people who only care about ageism as I get older. I’m 25, so naturally I don’t experience it first hand. But it was through witnessing women like my mum being treated as irrelevant and invisible by the Fashion Industry, largely because of their age and changing shape, that I felt compelled to take action. In the same way that you don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist, or gay to believe in LGBTQ rights – just because you’re not a victim doesn’t mean you should ignore the issue.
So as soon as I graduated from studying Law at Cambridge, I embarked on my journey to start the first boutique that would cut through ageism in fashion. It wasn’t easy. I knew I had to integrate myself into the 45+ market as I had a responsibility to really understand what today’s woman wanted. And I only relied on my own savings to start everything up. But the-Bias-cut.com finally launched in March 2016, and since then it has gone from strength to strength.
From our very thorough curation process – ensuring everything is in equal parts stylish, flattering and great quality – to our use of ‘real women’ 40+ models of many different shapes and sizes, the 45+ woman inspires the business from start to finish. And it is so rewarding to hear from customers how we have boosted their confidence and how many compliments they’ve received.
But just as importantly, collectively we are sending a message to the Fashion Industry that we aren’t going to sit by and encourage ageism any more. Through our Ageism Is Never In Style Forum, women from around the world are banding together to challenge the Fashion Industry once and for all. Because that’s when the tables will really turn, and the Fashion Industry will have no choice but to listen.
About the Author:
Jacynth Bassett is the founder of the-Bias-cut.com – Shopping With Attitude – Where Ageism Is Never In Style. Swiftly becoming recognised as one of the UK’s leading pioneers of style at every age, Jacynth has written on the topic for The Guaridan online, The Huffington Post and has contributed to an internationally published book. She also regularly speaks on panels and podcasts, is a ViewVo accredited business mentor, and the weekly ‘Style Advisor’ for one for the largest 45+ online forums in the world. In her spare time, she loves to dance, specialising in hip-hop, and to dine out with family and friends.