Fashion is an industry that treasures youth, champions beauty, and changes its entire look from season to season. It’s a world that is as hard to stay in as it is to enter. In the infamous words of Heidi Klum, “Either you’re in, or you’re out.”
It’s no wonder, then, that fashion is a notoriously ageist space — for insiders, as well as consumers. And even when a magazine puts an older face on its cover, it’s pulled from a limited pool of people like Helen Mirren and Maye Musk.
3 Generations Talk Fashion
CIRKEL, the intergenerational networking platform launched by Charlotte Japp, sought to put a spin on the fashion industry’s ageist tropes by hosting a panel of three fashion figureheads from three different generations. Moderated by designer Prabal Gurung and hosted in his Bleecker Street shop in NYC, a lively conversation took place between the revolutionary model and activist, Bethann Hardison (boomer), Allure Editor-in-Chief Michelle Lee (Gen Xer), and Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner (millennial).
The dynamic discussion took on pressing issues like the lack of racial diversity on the runways, the hurdles of breaking in without a privileged background, and the 50-plus “recyclable” faces who are included in spreads as token older representation when hundreds of other people over 50 are completely overlooked.
Tickets may have sold out days ahead of the event, but the atmosphere in the room felt intimate, diverse, and safe. Audience members asked provocative questions about the future of fashion. After the CIRKEL networking game over champagne, guests left with new friends and a refreshing, multi-generational perspective on an industry.
After all, fashion — like all creative fields — is constantly referencing the past to reinvent itself in the future. The cherry on top? Anna Wintour came to show support for her Condé Nast mentees, Michelle and Lindsay; a fitting touch for the intergenerational night of fashion.