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Michael Hodin


Fashion, Medicare And Healthy Aging

Posted: 08/27/2013 6:49 am

It's August and New Yorkers know that means two things: First, if you need a shrink you'll find it, as Woody Allen once quipped, in the Hamptons. Second the opening of New York Fashion Week is just around the corner and with it the opening of the global season from Milan and Tel Aviv to London, Paris and, yes, also Johannesburg, South Africa. There are hundreds of these shows globally, week after week, and even one for kids . Yet in our era of the baby boomers exploding into their 7th decade, when, by 2020, there will be a billion of us over 60, where is the fashion for the post 60 demo?

New York's Fashion Week at the Tents at Lincoln Center ought to be one that has features for our global aging population, if only because that's where the money is. Are there such fashions for those who are not as young or as skinny, but never-the-less as interested as the twenty and thirty somethings? Even the prominent, genius and courageous Muccia Prada, herself "older," demurs on this one, "I'm not brave enough to use older models." Miuccia Prada, one of fashion's most powerful figures, won't stand up to ageism.

Last year did see at least one such brave sole, the beautiful and elegant Carmen Dell'Orefice who, at 81, was still modeling. Dell'Orefice correctly noted the self-interest for those actually selling the stuff, "I think America may be growing up and accepting the fact that the bulk of life exists beyond 50. Because demographically... the vast population is over 60."

And she's right that soon, around the globe, there will be more of us over 60 than under 14, a fact which is having as much impact on public policy as markets. This is particularly true in those countries across Europe and developed Asia where ratio of old to young is already disproportionately high. Norway is not untypical where those aged 67+ will roughly double by 2035, to one million seniors -- a huge proportion of Norway's tiny population of roughly 5 million who will need products and services.

Fashion ought to realize this is simply responding to the economic lure of the most rapidly growing demographic across America and globally. If you're not certain, just take a gander at the ages of Fashion's icons themselves: Betsey Johnson- 71, Donatella Versace- 58, Ralph Lauren- 73, Valentino Garavani- 81, Donna Karan- 64, Kenzo Takada- 74, Jean Paul Gautier- 61, Diane Von Furstenberg- 66, Carolina Herrera 74, Giorgio Armani 79, Calvin Klein 70, Tommy Hilfiger 62, Vera Wang 64, Vivienne Westwood 72. The vast majority of whom will be showing at The Tents in a few weeks.

But, my dear aging designers, if you don't want to create for your demographic peers for pure business then do it for your social conscience. Abandon the environment, education, the poor and the homeless for a service to global population aging around which it is increasingly understood that social participation and engagement is as good for our health as it is for economic growth. If people feel good about themselves, which fashion can accommodate, they are more likely to engage socially and economically. And like the travel, healthcare technology and financial services sectors, if you can create products that enable an active aging you will also be advancing a healthy aging. Just consider two areas of travel and dermatology, which are unexpected links to active and healthy aging.

So Donna, Besty, Calvin and Tommy, there are over a billion of us out there whom you will be helping. Keeping us feeling good about ourselves leads to greater activity which keeps us healthy and also then spending money itself spiraling happily to economic growth. Who would've thought that a dress for my mother would be a boon to Medicare?

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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  • Diane Keaton

    The actress told Huff/Post50 that <a href="" target="_hplink">with age has come more clarity and focus</a> -- attributes she said she didn't necessarily have in her 20s and 30s. "I think it gets more difficult as you get older because you're facing the end and endings are ... unbearable. Our lives are basically about facing that tragedy. And I think the sooner we face that we're going to die, the easier it is to appreciate the moments in life... When we realize that our lives will end, we take less for granted. That is what I've learned from loss. The whole thing is a fantastic mystery so all we can do is appreciate each moment."

  • Susan Sarandon

    When it comes to aging and beauty, <a href="" target="_hplink">Sarandon takes an admirable "to-each-their-own" mentality</a>, telling <em>The Independent</em> she would never weigh-in on what people do to make themselves happy. Her best advice? Sarandon<a href="" target="_hplink"> has said:</a> "The only thing I'd say is that learning how to forgive yourself for not being perfect is probably a really positive step."

  • Tina Turner

    The legendary crooner has a straightforward, make-no-apologies take on age. "That number doesn't mean a thing," <a href=",,20198482,00.html" target="_hplink">she told Oprah in 2008.</a> "It just doesn't."

  • Clint Eastwood

    "I think you have to enjoy getting older. That's the most important factor. If you sit around and think, 'Well, at 21, I was doing this,' or 'at 31' -- or what have you ..." Eastwood <a href="" target="_hplink">told CBS news</a> back in 1997. "A lot of people maybe do their best work when they're 40 and then tail off. But I think that's a mental attitude. I've done my best work, I think, now," he said.

  • Helen Mirren

    Modesty and a healthy dose of humor are keys to Mirren aging so gracefully. When a gym recently gave her Body of the Year, she <a href="" target="_hplink">told the women of The View</a> that she just sucked in her stomach. "It was a beautiful thing that these fitness people did, I have to say," she said. "I think it was recognition of the fact that you don't have to be perfect."

  • Sheryl Crow

    The cancer survivor <a href=",,20411904,00.html" target="_hplink">told</a> that she is enjoying the aging process: "I definitely am embracing aging. When you shoot your face with Botox and stuff, you rob yourself of your ability to have youthful expressions, and that's why sometimes people look a lot older."

  • Sting

    In addition to maintaining a healthy love life with his wife Trudie Styler, the musician throws himself into yoga and embraces a positive outlook on life, <a href="" target="_hplink">telling <em>USA Today</em>:</a> "When you reach a certain age, you realize that life is finite. You can be depressed by that, or you can say, 'I'm going to appreciate every minute to its maximum potential.'"

  • Kim Cattrall

    "I consider 50 to be young. People are living so much longer, and besides, I don't think I look 50. I take really great care of myself," the actress told <a href="" target="_hplink"><em>BlackBook</em> magazine.</a> Which is not to say Cattrall's afraid of her wrinkles. According to <a href="" target="_hplink">BlackBook,</a>when the actress was asked if she wanted to have some photos heavily retouched she said, "F*** it. Leave it all in."

  • Iman

    When it comes to aging well, the stunning supermodel embraces kindness in its many forms. "For me, skin care rituals are a form of meditation -- they keep me balanced. I am kind to my skin. I remove my makeup as soon as I get home and I apply moisturizer," <a href="" target="_hplink">she told<em> O, The Oprah Magazine.</em> </a> "But just as important as being kind to my skin is being kind to younger women," <a href="" target="_hplink">she continued.</a> "Kindness is a lovely quality to nurture as you get older. It makes you feel good about yourself."

  • Meryl Streep

    Often known as <em>the</em> great actress, Streep has embraced her age -- and recently being a rom-com leading lady -- with admirable glee. "I'm 60, and I'm playing the romantic lead! Bette Davis is rolling over in her grave!" <a href="" target="_hplink">she joked with <em>Vanity Fair</em> in 2009.</a>

  • Julianne Moore

    <a href="" target="_hplink">Julianne Moore is a natural beauty</a>, and plans to remain one. When asked about Botox, Moore <a href="" target="_hplink">told <em>Allure</em> magazine</a> that she, herself, is not a fan. "I hate to condemn people for doing it, but I don't believe it makes people look better. I think it just makes them look like they had something done to their face," she told the magazine. "When you look at somebody who's had their face altered in some way, it just looks weird."

  • Denzel Washington

    The actor has been refreshingly candid about both his accomplishments and his struggles as he ages. <a href="" target="_hplink">When <em>Reader's Digest</em> asked</a> him what one thing he'd change about himself, he answered: "My weight! Mind, body and spirit. It's a discipline, and the body has been lagging. Mind's really good right now. Spirit is strong, but body's been lagging. And the body helps the mind. I feel better today having worked out."

  • Michelle Pfeiffer

    Pfeiffer is measured, but honest about how growing older makes her feel. "Honestly, there's certainly a mourning that takes place," <a href="" target="_hplink">told the<em> Los Angeles Times</em> in 2009.</a> "I mourn the young girl, but I think that what replaces that is a kind of a liberation, sort of letting go of having to hold on to that. Everyone knows you're 50. So you don't have to worry about not trying to look 50."

  • Angelica Huston

    "This great fear of laugh lines and wrinkles and getting old is really unnatural. It happens to the best of us -- what are we going to do? It's a matter of whether you want to go to war with that and have surgery,"<a href="" target="_hplink"> the actress told iVillage UK. </a> "Ultimately it's a slippery slope. I think you wind up looking like a thing rather than a younger version of yourself. I think you have to make peace with what you have and keep it all in order," <a href="" target="_hplink">she continued.</a>

  • Pierce Brosnan

    After being dropped as James Bond because, according to some reports, he was "too old" for the role, the actor had a positive take on things -- embracing the unknown with gusto. "Oh, it turned out very lucky," he told <a href="" target="_hplink"><em>Parade</em>.</a> "Within the space of the punch and the pain of being passed over or rejected or the bottom of your world falling out, within that same breath came this liberation of, 'I'm free. I can do anything I want.' It's up to me to have the guts to make the next stage of my career as interesting and as exciting and unexpected as possible."

  • Sigourney Weaver

    "Actors' faces have to move," <a href="http:// " target="_hplink">Weaver once told ABC,</a> weighing in on cosmetic surgery. "It's a personal choice. It depends on what you want. Yes, we probably want to see perfect people, too, but we also want to see people who look like us. It's just about skin care to me and maybe exercise." And her laugh lines? "I've earned them," Weaver said.

  • Bruce Springsteen

    <a href="" target="_hplink"><em>AARP</em> magazine put The Boss</a> on its cover when he turned 60 a few years back, because the editors believed he exemplified aging well. "He's one of these crop of 50-plus and 60-plus celebrities who are busier than ever in their older years and doing some of their best work," editor Nancy Perry Graham <a href="" target="_hplink">told <em>The New York Times.</em> </a>"The message with Bruce Springsteen is that 60 rocks."

  • Lauren Hutton

    <a href="" target="_hplink">According to <em>The Telegraph</em>,</a> the beauty loves her changing beauty, believing it reflects a rich life. "Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life," <a href="" target="_hplink">she said.</a> "They are what we have been through and who we want to be."

  • Emma Thompson

    The British actress has said that she, personally, is all about aging naturally. "I'm not fiddling about with myself,"<a href="" target="_hplink"> she told <em>The Telegraph.</em></a> "We're in this awful youth-driven thing now where everybody needs to look 30 at 60."

  • Jamie Lee Curtis

    The actress has been open about embracing her age-related changes, famously posing for a magazine shoot sans clothes and sans Photoshop. But she's equally candid about how building self-confidence is a gradual process -- one that's gotten easier as she has aged. "I feel much more authentic," <a href="" target="_hplink">she once told <em>More</em> magazine.</a> "I'm not saying I'm a spiritually perfect person. I'm flawed and contradictory and fraught in many areas. But I'm better. I'm growing, and that's all I really want.

  • Isabella Rossellini

    "In interviews, the first question I get in America is always: 'What do you do to stay young?'" <a href="" target="_hplink">Rossellini told <em>O, The Oprah Magazine.</em></a> "I do nothing. I don't think aging is a problem ... I'm so surprised that the emphasis on aging here is on physical decay, when aging brings such incredible freedom. Now what I want most is laughs. I don't want to hurt anybody by laughing -- there is no meanness to it. I just want to laugh."

  • Diane Lane

    Lane <a href="" target="_hplink">told <em>Glamour</em> magazine</a> that aging has given her welcome perspective. "I wouldn't go back to being 20. Because here's the thing ... there is something wonderful about coming to terms with time -- that it is finite," <a href="" target="_hplink">she said.</a> "You want to have as much joy in your life as possible, and you take responsibility for your own joy."

  • Antonio Banderas

    "I do yoga every morning, then I run for half an hour and take a sauna," <a href="" target="_hplink">the actor told AARP magazine of his healthy-aging routine.</a> "And I eat properly. I drink a lot of white tea -- it's a very powerful antioxidant.

  • Betty White

    Though people look to her as one of the top models of aging well, the actress said she's never given it much thought. "I never thought about age much," <a href="" target="_hplink">Betty told <em>AARP</em> magazine. </a>"I learned that at my mother's knee. Age was not important. It was where your head was."

  • Annette Bening

    The writer-director of <em>The Kids Are All Right</em> said she cast Bening in part because she wanted someone who was real and who would not shy away from showing her age on screen. "We never had a wrinkle conversation," <a href="" target="_hplink">she told <em>The Wrap.</em></a> "I just said, 'I want the make-up to be super-modest,' and that was the end of it."