Over 25 million people in the UK – that’s just shy of 40% of the population – are aged over 50. But despite their numbers, many of them feel they are represented poorly in society, especially when it comes to sectors such as fashion, sports and business.
SunLife, a financial services company serving the over 50s market, says ageism is a problem that needs to be tackled by product and service providers alike. Its Retiring Ageism report says companies risk neglecting an important and potentially lucrative demographic.
Fashion is seen as the worst offender, with 56% of those surveyed saying they felt that the fashion industry as a whole does not represent their age bracket well.
It was followed by sports (52%), business (43%) and cosmetics (35%) while 36% of the 2,000 people surveyed for the report said they felt brands in general do not advertise or market to people in their age bracket.
If you can’t beat ’em…
Jill White, 59, experienced retail ageism when she was applying for new roles after an unexpected redundancy, and she just couldn’t find the right outfit: “The kind of clothes I wanted didn’t exist. So I decided to take a leap of faith and turn my hand to fashion and create a solution that catered for women like me.”
Accordingly, she launched Distinctively Me: “My original retirement plan was to travel and volunteer. But being made redundant encouraged me to take a risk and start something new.
“I feel lucky it has paid off and that we’re able to offer made-to-measure clothes that inspire style and elegance for women, regardless of their age, shape or size.”
‘It’s time to tackle ageism’
Ian Atkinson at SunLife said: “We want to shine a spotlight on the issue of ageism – specifically, on the misrepresentation of the over 50s in society and the media.
“Our report shows this is particularly prevalent in the fashion industry, which is why it is great to see people like Jill creating a fashion brand catering to what over 50s actually want as opposed to what society thinks they want.
“By raising the profile of this problem, we want to continue our ambition of retiring ageism once and for all and encourage other brands to follow Jill’s example, and cater to this age bracket who deserve to be recognised.”