Encouraging startups to not shy away from the silver market

Through my modelling and influencing, I am passionate about providing representation for mature women by celebrating my silver hair and my age, something I feel is often shied away from by startups, brands, advertisers and consumers.

This is why I have written an open letter, during National Age Without Apology Month (June), to fashion brands and businesses after I personally featured in an iconic central London photoshoot, which saw me chosen to feature in a bold shoot where I posed confidently in leather macs and biker boots from Zara – and statement pieces from designer Zandra Rhodes’ new collection. As a result, I became even more fired up, to continue to use my voice to play my part in calling for brands and businesses to wake up to grey/silver market.

After sharing my dramatic, bold images from London photographer Jutiar Salman on social media, I received an influx of positive responses from those empowered, commenting “Wow - you look fabulous!”, “Amazing Annie - love this!”, “Fabulous powerful shot” and YOU ARE THE COOLEST!"... 

I think the general feeling was that people were amazed at the pictures and the strong positive reaction proved that at 70+ you can look wow in outfits that would normally be associated with much younger women, so if startups, brands and advertisers would sit up and notice they could have some cracking campaigns on their hands!

I felt amazing in these outfits. Were they too ‘young’ for me? No! Who gets to determine that? I’m in my 70’s and I feel creative and full of life. I want to be able to express that.

I want more brands and advertisers to take more notice of the mature market. This is why this month, I was a panellist at The Silver Marketing Summit this month, discussing Ageism in Fashion and I have also joined forces with International charity, Models of Diversity to ask the industry why they are ignoring a generation of energetic, vibrant women.

I loved that my letter, which went viral across social media within it I asked; ‘why do we have to be invisible… Let’s face it, in your in store marketing and window displays ..we hardly get a look in…most of your advertising is aimed at much younger women….but I reckon when you look a the sales stats you know that it’s us – the old birds – who are buying, and then strutting your stuff …..all that fun, edgy out there fashion, that’s us, we love it all… and we look bloody good in it too – but we feel ignored in your representation and we want and deserve to be noticed….’

I have also recently joined the Silver Marketing Association, so I can be part of a trusted network of like-minded companies and individuals with a shared voice and promote best practice marketing to older people.

Not only are today’s over-55s wealthier, they are also healthier and have more time to spend their money.  Over-50s already account for around 47% of all UK consumer spending. But despite their spending power, the industry’s institutional ageism makes this powerful demographic feel invisible. Shocking when you consider that the fashion and beauty industry’s sidelining of older consumers could cost it £11bn over the next 20 years, according to research by the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK). I hope that by taking part in this shoot with these amazing images it serves as a reminder that fashion is ageless and I hope my open letter gets some of the brands who are ignoring us to sit up and listen.